Too young to be old?

Too young to be old?

It’s a common lament among all parents: “My kids are growing up too fast.” Five-year-olds know how to search for videos on Youtube, 12-year-olds have a Facebook account, and in most cases, infants have an active online presence even before they have learned the word ‘Internet’.


Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Sun 21 Oct 2012, 9:15 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 3:08 PM

Khaleej Times caught up with a few youngsters asking them if they noticed a trend in ‘speedy growth’ amongst themselves. Most of them said that easy access to technology, prevalence of nuclear families, and a multi-cultural society are the main reasons for such a phenomenon. But the students also noted that just because they take on adult responsibilities, it does not necessarily mean that they are matured individuals.

Siblings Yaara (16) and Dalia Docrat (15) are both students of the Dubai American Academy. Born to Canadian-South African parents, the sisters suggest that kids today are ‘appearing to be growing up too soon’ and easy access to technology and lenient parenting are the two main reasons for the so-called fast growth. The case is more so with the youth in cities as compared to other areas.

However, the girls also said that just because they are doing things that normally adults would do, it does not necessarily mean that they take mature decisions.

“Kids today are exposed to a lot of things. But as compared to our counterparts in other parts of the world, those in this part of the world have better access to technology. The environment here also appears to be much safer,” said Yaara.

The younger Docrat, Dalia added: “Parents are a lot more lenient. You have cases of under-age drinking and it’s the parents who provide them with the alcohol. They procure a driver’s license and take up adult responsibilities at a younger age.

But it does not necessarily mean that their decisions are mature. In fact, kids in this part of the world appear to be pretty immature.”

Nineteen-year-old Iranian national Nima Mirnateghi also suggested that technology is the main reason for the so-called early growth. “With respect to this region, political control and Western influence play a huge role. Apart from the average ‘rebellious teenager’, you also have a responsible set, ones who take on responsibilities because circumstances force them to do so,” said Nima.

Another Iranian national Hamed Mehrabi (19) said: “You have more nuclear families today. There is a trend of youngsters moving out of their parent’s homes to stand on their own feet. It wasn’t prevalent in this culture before.” He also stated that it could be a good thing because you are exposed to a lot more as compared to living with your parents. “I would also like to add that money plays an important role.

Dubai is an expensive city and those with the money can afford good things, but it’s not necessary that their decisions will be responsible, as well,” said Mehrabi. Ali Etemadian (24), a student at the University of Wollongong Dubai said: “The youth here have access to a much better education and technological facilities. It’s only natural that they ‘grow’ faster.” Egyptian national Mohamed Mokhtar (22) said: “Most of the people here are expatriates and the society is a multi-cultural one. The youth will try harder to ‘fit in’ with the rest of the crowd.

When you are in your home country, there are certain things you will take for granted. But when you are on your own, you will automatically step up the pace and try and fit in with the crowd.”

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