An intellectual solution to the ever growing problem of technology addiction in younger generations.
My father once told me that, in Hindu Buddhism, part of reaching enlightenment is being able to detach yourself from your environment. The majority of individuals shape their lives and personalities around their current circumstances. Think about fans of Star Wars or metal music or anything else that was invented in the last hundred years. Had those fans been born one hundred years ago, they would likely never have known or experienced these things, and so their personality would be completely different. Another example is, to an extent, language. Language is a social construct and an important tool we use to interact with others and our environment. However, the language that we speak, as well as our ability to use that language, is not always related to our true selves. It is just a reflection of the circumstances we experience. A key piece of reaching enlightenment is the ability to discern what parts of you are a reflection of your life experiences and circumstances and which ones stand alone from outside influences.
Today, people are shaped by their environment more than ever before. Despite having more free time and comfort than any humans ever have in the past, people still fill their lives with media so they can distract themselves and get a quick dopamine release. Now more than ever, personalities are being molded by experiences and world views. The impact that this has on mental health is clear: rates of depression and anxiety go up every year. By using social media, television, and music as a distraction, the next generation will never live their lives without having mental simulation at all times. Being completely stimulated will hinder their ability to reflect inward and find their true selves.
Generation Alpha has already lost to the machines of Tik Tok and Roblox, but it is not too late for Generation Beta. If we can raise this new generation without the influence of the internet or media, we can raise a generation of independent thinkers and innovators who could potentially steer the course of history away from a mind-rotting, Tik Tokking fate. Instead, they could usher in a renaissance where people could once again think freely with an appreciation of their true selves and the world which surrounds them. My idea would fix the issues we have seen with today’s youth.
The idea is a similar approach to the ancient Spartans took with their boys. At the age of seven, every Spartan child would begin training to be a warrior. They would have to survive alone in the wilderness for a week, during which they would either live or die. Of course, we can’t take a live or die approach with an entire generation of Americans, but we can take some inspiration.
The state of Wyoming has the lowest population of any state in the US, meaning that there are more people crammed into Rhode Island than spread across the entirety of Wyoming. This makes it the perfect starting location to set my plan into motion. With such a low population we could relocate its residents elsewhere, and utilize the whole state for educational purposes. We could then use the entire state to hand-raise the entirety of Generation Beta. All children past infancy will be sent to Wyoming to be raised until the ripe age of 14. This way, their exposure to things like video games and Tik Tok can be limited and controlled. Instead of rotting their brain, future members of society learn real skills like forestry and survival tactics.
Some people may argue that, without exposure to the internet as a child, Generation Beta could not learn technology sufficiently. To that point, the children will still be capable of interacting with technology, but only after they leave Wyoming and start high school. The skills kids learn in the wilderness are applicable to all walks of life. Surviving freezing cold temperatures and windy winters without the assistance of Google Maps or Instagram reels will teach children how to survive in tough situations without a ton of metal stimuli. During the warm and beautiful Wyoming summers, the children can play outside in the sunshine. Surviving the contrast between the vicious winters and the blazing summers will teach children that life goes through ups and downs. This way, as adults, they won’t turn to video games or social media for short term happiness.
If children are not raised around technology, they will be much less likely to gain a dependence on it. Our future right now seems very bleak, but if we put my plan into action without delay, perhaps we can reverse the decay of the brains of our youth. The least populated state in our nation seems like a small price to pay for the prosperity and mental well being of the many generations of the future.