A generation apart. What world is this?

Posted: May 23, 2017 in Uncategorized

Back when I was a kid, yes, I can still recall those days albeit a good while back, kid’s TV consisted of an hour or so every tea-time and the highlight for many was probably Blue Peter. The magazine format and style of presenting of the world’s longest running kid’s TV show was very popular and the presenters, and the pets, became an extension of the viewer’s family.

Families without pets could relate to Petra, Shep, Goldie as their pets, the presenters were their friends. I vividly recall the sombre nature of the edition that was broadcast in 1983, when the Blue Peter garden had been destroyed by vandals. As kids, this wasn’t just a remote garden on a TV show, this was “our” garden, and we’d all been affected.

Skip forward a generation and 24 hours a day digital TV brings kid’s TV streaming into our living rooms whenever kids want. Like so many parents of young children and teenagers today, over the past decade this has invariably meant that characters such as Carly, Drake and Josh, Tori (Victorious) and Sam & Cat have become a part of the family of a new generation. Although it’s the kids choosing and watching the shows, as parents you can’t avoid becoming familiar with the cast members. For the amount of hours of viewing in this house (and I suspect that of many others), actresses such as Ariana Grande have become a well-known living room “fixture” for parents as well as kids.

Which is where I tie the two threads of this story together.

Back in 1983, the Blue Peter garden vandalism was an atrocity. True, there were much worse things happening in the world, but as kids, through a combination of innocence and youthful ignorance we were thankfully isolated from a lot of it. Yet this week, thousands of kids attending a concert by Grande at Manchester Arena have had to deal with a horrifically real atrocity. Some of them didn’t come home. Others will take years, if ever, to get over what they saw and what they experienced. What should have been the highlight of their year, a concert by someone who they see on TV screens in their homes, day in, day out, has been turned into one of the most horrific events in the modern history of this country.

That innocence and ignorance gone in an instant. I struggle to think how the younger ones will even begin to cope. The emotional scars will last much longer than they can anticipate at this moment in time, the healing process will be long and slow, and yet they are the lucky ones. Families have been ripped apart and lives taken by what appears to be the most cowardly act of terrorism we have seen. An explosive device in an arena filled with families and children.

I have no answers to the questions these children will ask, I suspect no-one does. What kind of world is this for our children?

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