THIS CONTAINS SWEARS - Oh and apologies for the warbling in places. my blogobrain has kicked in!
It's annoying living in a town, yes it's more convenient in some respects with shops nearby and many places accessible for theJess but something in me misses the country life. I no doubt would cope miserably being there but still. Meh. How about the kids though, compare now to the 90's and for children these days it's a different world altogether.
For instance at age 7/8 I was going out to play around Kensworth, Whipsnade and Studam under supervision of my sister, no cellphones (we'd break it) and we'd have to walk sometimes 5-6 miles just to get placed we wanted to go and back. As long as we were home by dark all was good, and if not run home and tell our parents where we are and can they pick us up later and if things change we'll call from a friends house or the nearby farm.
We'd have free reign of the places we'd visit as long as we respected things and when we did play up the whole village knew before we'd even set off home, we usually discovered this by one of our parents driving out to find us and lobbing us all in the car to be torn a new one when we get back, say sorry and be let out again if we could get away with asking.
One of the Places we used to play in is a place known as Studham Dell, although strictly it's located on the merge point of Kensworth and Studham it was our little place we could do anything. Even light fires as we were trusted, if things were to go wrong we told people and got help.
Best part of the dell was how a huge group of us could play there for 12 hours straight have a right laugh and still come home and tell our parents what we did but more importantly we knew it would start all again tomorrow. Safe in the knowledge that everyone knew we were ok and knew what to do in trouble. Yes we were little shitbags at times but what children aren't!
We were classed by the posher people of studham (this place was literally moments away from a rich hamlet who hated kids having fun, so much so that they would chase us away from the footpath) as trouble makers. Our weapon of choice was to listen to music, yeah fair do's it was a mix of drum and bass and things like this but we were always respectful of others around us while making merry. Even the police left us alone!
Roll on to 2014 and we've got a generation of kids who are constantly seen as troublemakers thanks to the hoodie culture. Yes a fucking garment means you're judged guilty by association, similarly teenage kids today are trying to find their footing in a digital world where things change around you by the second, where the trend is not what you wear but what privacy leaking instant messaging Platform you're using and the swag you have! (Why swag yolo bollocks, why??????)
It really is a sad place to be in where the welfare of children is still uncertain thanks to the progression of technology and the amazing gift of being able to interact with anyone around the world. Yes the internet is amazing but how it's used now will no doubt change the way it's used in the future. With the creation of some of these services I won't lie it worries me that today's youth may be blissfully unaware of what dangers that may be lurking around them without realising it. The internet is changing at a breakneck pace and the boundaries that were pushed by the pioneers are now abused by some developers who see the youth as money and a wealth of free personal information to sell on!
And then there's the ever growing pressures on teens to be something special to their peers. As set by our lovely media, government and the schools. The schools are not completely to blame here but some of the things children are taught is set by how much money the government will give them based on the performance of the schools exam grades, one school has even cut study leave here to make sure they get the grades that'll ensure the get the best grades. Best not to worry about the stresses of the kids, despite three in every classroom having a diagnosed mental health issue. The kids are the reason you get the money. They should in my opinion be given more support to flourish in their exams to try and reduce the stress!
Then we have the getting out and doing things, for many their idea of going out is chatting on snapchat or playing games on Steam, which is really sad but at the same time reflects the way young people are tarred with the same brushes these days, don a hoodie and you're a thug. Try and help someone and they think you're up to no good they cannot win. Yes I understand there are some absolute little shitbags out there but the justification of placing all teens on one shelf annoys the hell out of me. Nobody did this to me and my friends when we were younger and we were in some cases down right nasty just like everyone can be at times I suppose.
Those who do go out as I mentioned are tarred so it's sad to see, hence many prefer to stay in groups or stay inside. Meaning many are not as active or imaginative as they could be, that is really sad to me.
I'm if we look deeper into it, the world will see it as a generation thing. But that is a double edged sword now. As the kids are ready to defend themselves and are taught to stand up for their rights while at the same time the judgement of the same kids happens when they try and defend their rights. In many cases by those who are scared of change and the good or bad it may bring. Any changes should not be at the expense of our youth. Kids today need more support in my eyes, the fact is many hidden talents are ignored due to the fact they are judged by appearance and what the mainstream media thinks of them. Hence if one pulls out the stops to show they can stand up and be counted it's a trivial news story! Ignoring the dozens of others who do good.
I wonder what we can do to change this as right now I'm unsure, in part due to concerns kids are not getting the ability to do things they can do or feel proud of. There are some projects willing to help kids and teens do things like the RockCorps where in exchange for free gig tickets they help out and see the effect on the community it has, depending on where they are held.
Then there are projects like the Houghton Regis Adventure Playground built upon the foundations of previous playground projects where the kids take charge and work together to get a place to be proud of and at the same time they will respect as they help develop it. Meaning they have somewhere safe away from prejudicial judging for being young. I'm sure this emphasis on communities working together was seen in a long closed project in Marsh farm, Luton (I have contacted the relevant people about this for confirmations)
Actually why can't we as a community look at creating a similar community based group as Marsh Farm have? It's relevant as it would help the community as a whole and no doubt would change the perception of many in the town, or even combine it as a group effort between Dunstable and Houghton Regis bring two communities together and collaborate with other community minded people and get into it.
Right that's it, I've got to drop some emails.
If you have any input or ideas on how to help support youth in the area please say so in the comments below and I'll include them if relevant.