Contemporary Issues in “The Veldt” Story
The Veldt is a story by Ray Bradbury which has tackled related matters that are very relevant in today’s world. Though the short story was published in 1950, it is disturbing that the same issues that affected society then still affect us today. Initially, this brief story was published as “The World the Children Made” as a film in 1950. Later, the title changed to “The Veldt,” which is still used today. The author wrote as one way of illustrating the vices that technology had perpetuated in society during that time. More so, Bradbury intended to show the appeal that these devices had on people who understood the negativity impacted them, but they still craved to have them. Technology is very appealing since it is one way of making work easier and faster. In fact, technology plays a fundamental role in the lives of both children and parents today. This is evident considering that a 10-year-old child today owns an iPad, a cell phone, a laptop, or a computer. These gadgets are their source of entertainment, which they can quickly navigate or operate. On the other hand, the parents may not know their importance or how they work. Parents have become too preoccupied with managing the family finances while forgetting their parenting duty. The justification of this paper is to provide a persuasive discussion that will navigate today’s technology and the evolving contemporary issues affecting both children and parents in social and cultural circles.
Technology has consistently managed to break old family ties and relationships. A family is made of two or more people who share a common origin and ideas that bring them together. However, the current generation lacks some of the values that their parents originally impacted. Evidently, Rowan, in his article, stated that “Technology’s impact on the 21st-century family is fracturing its very foundation and causing a disintegration of core values that long ago were the fabric that held families together” (Rowan 60). Parents are always working, and some even juggle two jobs at the same time. In fact, those from wealthier families can afford to use technology in raising their children. For instance, considering the description from the story, “They stood on the thatched floor of the nursery, which was forty feet across by forty feet long and thirty feet high. The cost was half as much as the rest of the house” (Bradbury 9). This kind of change is evident in Bradbury’s story, where parents are using funds to install devices that are not only spoiling children but also acting as an affection replacement for their fathers.
Sadly, the overreliances on these gadgets make the children more acquitted, and they often feel alone and detached when they cannot access them. Consequently, children have turned to social media, which has become their refuge and friend. In fact, technology has worked as a conduit through which popular culture is eventually getting inserted into the modern child’s life (Taylor 1). Moreover, it is with concern that most parents do not draw a limit to what their children should reach while accessing the media. It is critical that most of the content found on social media is not filtered, and children can access whatever they want without considering their age. Though it seems like technology is being persecuted for influencing negatively the modern generation, the social impacts have illustrated clarity to the problems, and it is encouraging the lives of young individuals. On the contrary, technology has become a menace and a horrifying calamity that needs to be checked. If this is the case, the world might be filled with vagabonds who lack the essential elements of virtuous citizens.
Technology has made children and parents overly dependent, lazy, and individualistic. In the case of the Georges’, it is evident that their children can barely bathe, brush their teeth, comb their hair, or tie their shoelaces (Bradbury 15). Some of these duties are supposed to be impacted children at very early ages before they can start depending on technology. These children can barely survive in the real world when they are alone. Their parents have made life too simple and comfortable for them. It is evident that children today are characterized by undertaking fewer or no responsibilities. In addition, their parents believe they should play more and work less, even in the school setup. Surprisingly, parents advocate cultivating and growing as a family more than indulging in public life, enhancing consumption more than they can produce (Montgomery 1).
Still, once these young adults are refused those favors, they cause mayhem at home, and some even contemplate killing their parents. On the other hand, parents undertake very few tasks at home since they have technology devices that can facilitate their chores. While a parent is supposed to assist their children in learning some of the basic living necessities, they fail considerably by relying on these devices. Nevertheless, parents often justify their behavior by indicating that whatever they give to their children cannot be harmful. They emphasize that they have their best interest at heart or only show their love by giving them the best. However, there is a need to teach children how to survive in all conditions, more so they need to learn how to live with others in society and learn how to undertake the most fundamental duties in their lives. Parents need to understand the difference between loving and spoiling their children. Indeed, they not only need to be good examples to them, but also they should lay down disciplinary actions even at home.
Notably, technology has its share of beneficial impacts on the lives of most families today. Technology has made life easier because of its low running cost. In “The Veldt”, George and his family have cut the cost of employing human labor to run their house. The machines available at their home usually play the role of the mother, wife, and nursemaid (Bradbury 13). In this aspect, the family has significantly reduced the cost of skilled labor in running household errands. The digital platforms available have served as excellent opportunities for individuals to express who they are without much scrutiny. With technology, it is easier to pass messages across the world, and parents can know where their children are by making a call or just texting.
In addition, they can use audio calls, video conferencing platforms, and emails if they want to talk to someone on the other end. An individual can also visit another part of the world by just visiting the internet site they would love to watch. A clear example is how Lydia and Peter can watch things happening in Africa from their play house without actually visiting the particular place. Despite this accessibility, technology has often received criticism because it exposes young children to unnecessary materials and cyberbullying. Concisely, some authors state that children “Frequently do not have the technical abilities or time needed to keep pace with their children in the ever-changing Internet landscape” (O’Keeffe and Pearson 2). However, it is always advisable to filter and restrict the content that the children are accessing. In this approach, technology will assist children in becoming more informed and responsible young adults. Technological changes cannot be stopped; therefore, each parent must undertake strident measures to protect their children from negative influence.
New technology has enlightened individuals from different cultures and their cultures and practices. Culture is the way of living of particular people, and each belongs to a certain culture. In fact, every society has different ways of raising children. The western culture does not punish their children, especially by inflicting physical pain. George and his wife have barely beaten their children, and they almost regret giving them all they wanted. Clearly, it is not only the children who are spoiled but their parents as well. The statement by George Clarifies this problem by stating that if the children are spoiled, the parents are also spoiled (Bradbury 14). In fact, their children have embraced secrecy and disobedience since they have neglected the culture of disciplining them. These cultural practices cannot be refuted as low considering that technology has also played a vital role in ensuring that parents and children can barely live cohesively, understanding and embracing what is expected of either. It is often expected that for a child’s healthy growth, the parents should choose whatever they deem right and comfortable for their development.
Each culture has a different way of treating a child. Some cultures tolerate and become more lenient, while others often beat up their children due to indiscipline. Still, other cultures believe their children are in contact with the spiritual world. Therefore, care must be given to ensure they do not return to their latter world. However, in most cultures, responsibility and competence are inculcated from infancy, and children are expected to prepare for their adult life (Montgomery 1). Though it may seem a little awkward how each culture views children, modern upbringing has made a little effort to instill a positive culture in their children. Most parents have solely left the caregivers or social media to teach children how to live cohesively and peacefully in society. They have become too lenient with indiscipline and irresponsibility to the extent that the digital platform knows the children’s personalities more than their parents. Notably, parents have neglected or forgotten their duty of being inspirational teachers to their children. The children have lost their sense of direction and are becoming selfish and undisciplined citizens in society.
Technology today has significantly changed, influencing parents and children in their social and cultural circles. Life has not only become easier and better but also less costly. However, society is reaping the bitter fruits of individualism, laziness, and dependence on technology. Significantly, the digital platform has played the role of breaking family ties and, thus, bearing the vices that are associated with the same. In addition, through technology, parents have neglected their cultural responsibility towards their children. Considering that technology will keep evolving, it is imperative that society starts cultivating and laying a better foundation for the future generation. It is only possible if parents today participate in their children’s day-to-day activities, make an effort to understand the digital platform activities, filter the online content and limit their children on what is best for their healthy upbringing.
Bradbury, Ray. The Illustrated Man. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2011.
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Montgomery, Heather, Dr. Different cultures, different childhoods. OpenLearn, 26 Mar 2013.
O’Keeffe, Gwenn Schurgin, and Kathleen Clarke-Pearson. “The impact of social media on
children, adolescents, and families.” Pediatrics 127.4 (2011): 800-804.
Rowan, Cris. “Unplug—Don’t Drug: A Critical Look at the Influence of Technology on Child
Behavior With an Alternative Way of Responding Other Than Evaluation and Drugging.” Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry 12.1 (2010): 60-68. http://www.sensomotorische-integratie.nl/CrisRowan.pdf
Taylor, Jim, Dr. Raising Generation Tech. Dr. Jim taylor inspire, inform, transform, perform. 2
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