Destroying A Generation:

How Pandemic Rules Can Ruin Our Kids

October 1st, 2020 | RR

Wear a mask, stand six feet apart, stay home, don't touch each other and avoid all physical contact when possible. Those are the rules we've been told to live by in order to save the 1% of our population that can't survive a bad cold. In the meantime, 100% of our youngest children are growing up to believe that this behaviour is normal, necessary and healthy. It might be a while until we see the long term and generational consequences of these new rules, but we shouldn't expect them to be positive. If you thought smartphones and social media have isolated our children and turned them into anti-social misfits, just wait for the “new normal” to take full root in an entire generation.

This is a photo of children at school being forced to wear masks and confine themselves in social distancing circles:

There are very few people who can look at that photo and feel good about it. There is nothing normal about it, especially after we've seen the generational consequences of excessive social media and smartphone addiction. Since the advent of social media and smartphones, suicide rates among adolescents has risen 56% in a decade. An entire generation has been raised on the dopamine hits that come from likes and shares on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. When they don't get those hits, they become depressed, withdrawn and isolated. Physical contact was radically limited because everything became easier online, like dating, applying for work and conversing with others. When factored in with online bullying and shaming, the consequences of this new reality are more extreme.

We normalized the behaviour and encouraged the addiction. As a result, depression and suicide have killed more teens and children than Coronavirus ever will. This next era of social isolation could be worse.

Not Seeing Faces

Children learn from facial expressions. Seeing smiles, watching mouths move and taking visual cues is an important part of growing up and developing. This isn't some random, made up fact to make you believe the harm caused by masks—it's an actual, scientific fact.

Studies have shown that infants need to see faces. In one particular study, newborn infants were observed to follow faces and be more stimulated by true facial patterns than by scrambled faces and other patterns. The study also found that faces are the first thing newborns naturally recognize.

Further studies have shown how facial expressions are universal across cultures and are essential in human connection and growth. By reading facial expressions, we learn and understand the people we are connecting with. Children use facial expressions and learn facial communication from their parents and other kids. Masks have now limited that equation in the process of childhood development.

A study conducted by Japanese and American doctors concluded:

Previous developmental studies show consistently that motion information plays an important role in infant visual perception. Studies of the importance of motion for infant perceptual development have been influenced strongly by J. J. Gibson’s proposal that temporal transformations of the optic array can provide far richer information about the visual world than the projection of a single static image onto the retina. This observation is at the core of proposals in the developmental literature that motion may play a key role in young infants’ ability to detect invariant patterns of stimulation through temporal changes.

The study specifically mentions the importance of facial movement and an infant's ability to learn, recognize and remember certain patterns by their movement. The human face is key in all of this.

Other studies have also shown the importance of connecting voices to faces. For newborns to familiarize with their mothers and other people, they must match the sound of their voices to the faces they are seeing. One particular study states:

The conclusion drawn is that a prior experience with both the mother's voice and face is necessary for the development of face recognition, and that intermodal perception is evident at birth. The neonates' ability to recognize the face of the mother is most likely to be rooted in prenatal learning of the mother's voice.

Most parents won't wear masks at home, but in school, at daycare and when out in public, infants and children are no longer able to connect voices to the motions of people's mouths and faces. In the outside world, they are no longer seeing faces at all—just a blurred cluster of faceless, soulless shadows. They can no longer connect with strangers in the same way we could. Until scientific studies begin to look at the long term effects of this “new normal”, we won't know the real impact this is having on our children's development and their understanding of the world around them.

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At first, masks seem like a simple and harmless way to avoid the spread of a virus. On a deeper level, children are now experiencing a different world than we did. The rest of us went to school and saw faces, learned to read expressions and made friends by connecting on a personal level. Much of that has now been eliminated from the lives of our own kids. Socially and developmentally, masks could be having an impact on who are children will become.

Spending Less Time Outside And In The Real World

Cinemas, indoor parks and pools, daycares and many other services and recreations have been shut down and severely restricted for months. A famous laser tag venue in Saskatchewan has shut down permanently, while other businesses have struggled to stay open. Soon, many of them might close down for good. Many of the things normal children have been enjoying for generations are being washed out of the social fabric.

Even when things re-open, nothing will ever be the same.

It's likely that many of these social distancing measures will stick around long after the Coronavirus. There will be limited capacity, long lines, less patience and fewer ways for children to come together and to interact in person. Over a few years, this behaviour will be imprinted on our social psyche and be considered normal. Eventually, our children won't know any better—and that's the scariest part of it. It is even possible that our kids will cringe at the idea of packed stadiums, crowded bars and close-contact human activity. They'll scowl at our nostalgic reflections about how things used to be.

Given a long enough timeline, all of this will become the new normal.

Packing into crowded pools on a hot summer day will no longer be remembered as fun. Our children won't even know what it was like. Connecting, rough housing with neighbourhood kids, throwing massive teenage shakers while the parents are out of town—all of it, extinct. 

Wilfully limiting ourselves to having virtual parties, liking posts on whatever the new platform is in 20 years and minimizing physical human contact sounds like something Aldous Huxley would have written about. Shaking hands when you meet someone will be frowned upon, hugging people you just met will be unheard of and having too many friends packed into a small space will be condemned as risky. This will be the brave new world we designed for our children, without them even knowing it.

By normalizing it now, we are making it the next generation's future reality. Virtual reality could become their only  reality—because of us.

Smartphones, the internet and social media have limited physical human interaction in ways never before seen in human history. The results have been devastating. Our kids are growing up socially awkward, unable to maintain relationships, unable to connect and unable to find common ground with strangers. Our world has grown apart and we have riots, burning buildings and violence to show for it.

Now, we're pulling ourselves further apart still.

Effects Of Isolation And Social Distancing

Studies have shown that isolation and loneliness not only cause depression, but make individuals more susceptible to being controlled and influenced by external forces. Intelligence agencies have successfully used isolation, confinement and alienation to reprogram the brains of recruits, captives and hostages. It has been proven that we become more feeble, desperate and suggestible when we are lonely, depressed and cut off from human contact.

Ask anyone who has been locked in solitary confinement. The effects of isolation on the human mind are frightening. Although these are extreme cases, studies have shown the damaging effects that even moderate and minor levels of social isolation can have on the human brain.

"Depression and suicide have killed more teens and children than Coronavirus ever will."

Again, we've seen the isolating and alienating effects of smartphones and social media. The damage it has caused to an entire generation is on display right now. The new normal could have even more profound and devastating effects on our children.

The loneliness of this new world follows us everywhere we go. When we go out, we must stand apart, minimize contact and treat each other like radioactive mutants. We can't shake hands, stand too close or see each other's faces. Our ability to connect, as discussed earlier, has been dramatically minimized and the social consequences will prove to be more harmful than the virus itself.

It turns out, youth are more easily radicalized when they are isolated and feel alienated. Whether we are talking about Islamic radicalization, left-wing radicalization, or right-wing radicalization, youth have become more susceptible to being radicalized by certain religions and ideologies. It can be the Antifa riots, the Charlottesville murder, the theatre massacre in Aurora, or any mass murder or act of terrorism. Most recent incidents have usually involved individuals who have been radicalized.

The one thread that ties these cases together involves loneliness, isolation and alienation.

We haven't yet seen the affects of the new normal, but we've seen where current trends have taken us. White nationalism, Islamic radicalism and other kinds of indoctrination and radicalization have been most successful on teens and adolescents who are lonely and isolated. Many Antifa members are teenagers who still live at home—isolated, lonely and jobless in their parent's basements.

The New Normal

The new normal has the potential to breed an even worse future. We are no longer able to connect in the ways we used to. Social media, the internet and smartphones have disconnected us in ways that have never been observed by history. All we can do now is learn from our mistakes.

We've spent more than ten years allowing an entire generation to become dependent on social media and the internet. We've allowed ourselves to become more divided and disconnected than ever before. The results of our parent's choices are unfolding in front of our eyes as you read this. We can either choose to learn from their mistakes, or we can choose to repeat them. If we allow our children to be subjected to this “new normal”, it will ruin an entire generation.

If we continue to cover our faces, to distance ourselves and to isolate our children—the results will be worse than any pandemic could produce. An entire generation is depending on us to make the right choices. If we don't, we could be setting our children, and our society, up for failure.

© 2020 Poletical