The Decade That Changed Childhood

By Deirdre Wilson

Perhaps more than anyone, parents are keenly aware of the changes the last 10 years have brought to our culture – and to our kids. Nowhere is this more evident than in the high-tech world of media. One day, we’re trying to understand MySpace; the next, we’re scratching our heads over Facebook, Twitter and cell phone texts.

As 2009 comes to a close, the family media-resource organization Common Sense Media, has released a new report, “The Digital Decade,” which offers two lists of the things that “rocked our kids’ world in the last 10 years – for better or worse.”

The common denominator here is that all of them have given kids the power to connect with each other instantly and creatively. And while this phenomenon offers incredible opportunities, it has also left parents dealing with unprecedented challenges: kids are sexting (sending sexual messages or photos over their cell phones), cheating on exams via text messages, and cyberbullying by sending humiliating photos and rumors about their peers to others in mere seconds.

Here are the two lists Common Sense Media has put together. Check out "The Digital Decade" report for more about the reasoning behind each item.

10 Things that Forever Changed Childhood …

1.   Google
2.   Harry Potter (the books – a reading phenomenon)
3.   Facebook
4.   Nintendo Wii
5.   YouTube
6.   American Idol
7.   Wikipedia
8.   Cell phones
9.   TiVo
10. iTunes

… And 10 Things We Could Have Lived Without

1.   Grand Theft Auto (the video game)
2.   Digital cheating
3.   Erectile dysfunction ads
4.   The Bathroom Wall Facebook app
5.   Gossip Girl books
6.   Superbad (the film)
7.   World of Warcraft (the video game)
8.   The Celebutantes (Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan)
9.   Webkinz