Miscommunication between generations exacerbated by media


Take a moment and think about the stories told by your grandparents. Most likely, the things they did, how they behaved and the way they thought is different from you. Now think about the stories told by your parents. The way they talk about their childhood probably varies a little from that of your grandparents, but most likely encompasses some of the same morals they held. But now think about your stories — what you have experienced, seen and thought. These thoughts are probably not close at all with that of your grandparents and your parents.

How is it that so much changes in just two generations of family, or even one? Generation gaps seem to exponentially increase with the constant use of technology and messages viewed in the media, which have significantly influenced how children grow up and the type of ethical code they develop.

A more important question: How are parents supposed to effectively communicate with children in a world they didn't grow up in themselves?

Some ordinary things today such as online dating, using profanity in casual conversation or discussing taboo subjects are topics that have been seen differently in families over the years. Using profanity, for example, was not even something people thought about before, because it was looked down upon and suggested that someone did not have very good manners.

Television has definitely changed our views on that. Profanity is now constantly heard, whether on shows, music, movies, you name it. This is why the majority of us have to watch our language or tone when around our grandmothers or grandfathers, because we do not want to seem rude or offensive.

Our generation has to suppress our speech patterns to effectively communicate with our elders.

Online dating was something not even discussed back in the day, because technology was not very well-developed back then. Dating was simply asking a girl out and not having all the variables of texting and social media sites. Now even some parents questions intentions when they know that a girl or boy you met was through Facebook and not in a casual encounter at school.

How could a father advise his son on the ways of dating when the circumstances have changed so much?

Then there is respect. The amount of respect once held by younger people towards their elders was immense and it actually dictated a lot of what someone used to do or say. Children would do things simply because their parents or grandparents told them to do so. The same holds with what to say or not say; opinions or feelings would often be withheld simply because an elder told them it was not appropriate to say so.

Media has definitely swayed peopled into losing levels of respect for others because we are told that we have to defend ourselves constantly, or that others do not have our best intentions at heart so we must treat them with disrespect. Phrases like “sorry, not sorry” or “I do me” are commonly used and speak volumes about how things are done for ourselves without listening to what parents or elders have to say about the matter. This is good to some extent, but not when it washes away the line of respect for others.

Media has opened up so many options for people about how they should behave and act, that morals or ideals carried down among families have become blurred or even disappeared. Standards about marriage, children, and work have all taken different perspectives from what they used to be during the times of our grandparents with the use of media.

At the same time however, expressing oneself has become a lot easier and people have found comfort in not conforming to society ideals and becoming who they want to be. Generations are now taking on their own traditions and becoming new families, whatever they may be.

Reach the columnist at tnunez1@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @TayNunz

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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