Japanese kids weigh in on the difficulties of the past

By Preston Phro

“Well, when I was a kid…” is often one of the worst things to hear someone begin a sentence with at a family gathering, isn’t it? Inevitably what follows is half-remembered, half-exaggerated grouching about how easy kids have it these days with their Cell Boys and Game Phones.

But either way, it’s been long-established that kids these days have it far too easy–so easy in fact that they can’t help feeling bad for their counterparts of days gone by. Curious as to what the current crop of children thought must have been worst about being a kid a long time ago, someone decided to conduct a survey. We’re sure it’s probably not scientifically accurate, but the results were almost as entertaining as the response on Twitter.

Let’s start at beginning. First, here’s the survey: What makes you think “Kids long ago had it bad?”

1) They had class even on Saturdays. 118 children 2) There was no Internet. 88 children 3) There weren’t any fun video game systems. 71 children 4) There weren’t any cell phones. 68 children 5) There were no air conditioners. 59 children 6) TVs were small and black and white. 53 children 7) There weren’t any convenience stores. 51 children 8) School lunches weren’t very tasty. 45 children 9) They had to help around the house. 42 children 10) There was only one television set in the house. 41 children

This survey was conducted with 200 children ranging from elementary fifth graders to junior high school third graders. It was conducted in the middle of August.

Hmmm…well, we guess none of that really sounds too bad, but we imagine that they’re things that kids find pretty important. Though we were confused about number eight–school lunches aren’t all that great now.

But how did Japanese Twitter users react when this survey popped up on the Internet? With a combination of annoyance and amusement, of course.

The strongest reaction seemed to come from people who couldn’t help laughing at the foolishness of “kids these days.”

-- Hey! Kids! Not one of these things is at all sad! -- Looking back, it’s strange, but I can only think that all of these things were great! Though our TV wasn’t black and white… -- I agree! You kids now are the ones who we should feel sorry for! -- I totally agree! Saturday classes were the most fun. And it was just a half-day of school! -- None of these were bad! And now I realize just how old I’ve gotten…

In a reversal of roles, a lot of Twitter users also couldn’t help feeling bad for the kids these days.

-- Certainly none of these things were at all saddening. Rather, aren’t today’s kids who feel they need the Internet, cell phones, video games, and convenience stores the ones we should feel sorry for? -- Actually, it’s the opposite–today’s kids are the ones who we should feel bad for. How strange their answers are! -- I just feel bad for kids these days. It’s kind of weird. -- Uh, yeah, this isn’t sad at all. It’s those who feel these things are necessary that we should feel sorry for. Their lack of imagination is kind of scary.

The other major reaction to this survey was from people wondering just what the hell they were thinking!

-- But this survey ‘What makes you think “Kids long ago had it bad?”‘ is implying that kids long ago necessarily had it bad. It’s just looking for whatever thing was the worst, so kids are just looking for appropriate answers. Doesn’t mean they think life sucked back then. I don’t know who made the survey, but LOL! -- The survey is asking them what things they thought were tough for kids long ago, but it doesn’t mean that kids nowadays actually think life sucked then. They were just answering the survey, weren’t they? Getting angry with the kids instead of the jerks who came up with the questions is just the beginning of “problems caused by the elderly.” -- Kids long ago had it hard, and kids these days have it hard. They’re quite similar. But it’s none of the business of the people who made this survey.

So, the responses to the survey were pretty mixed. Though it is interesting to see almost no one agreeing with the kids these days. I don’t know about you guys, but the thought of living without my cell phone sends shivers down my spine, whether that’s “sad” or not.

Finally, in case you’re wondering, yes, Japan did have school six days a week until 2002, when public schools decided that their students were being worked too hard, and to give them a two-day weekend. While I certainly agree with the schools’ choice to give kids more free time, only 17.9% of parents and guardians supported the decision.

You know what, I think the survey was right–the worst thing about being a kid back in the day was definitely going to school on Saturday. And not having a cell phone. Or any video games. And having to help around the house… You lucky kids have it so easy now.

Source: Naver Matome

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I'm not so sure that Saturday classes have actually stopped. In fact, I see kids going to school on Saturdays on a regular basis (although some tell me that it's only twice a month). Parents are also sending their kids to cram schools on Sundays to make up for 'lost' time. Children are so reliant on the internet now and are so absorbed in hand held computer games and so busy with their extra activities that it is I who feel sorry for them as they are missing out on making friends in the real world.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There is nothing good about going without an air conditioner in brutally hot summers, no matter how much older people say it was not a problem.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The only one that's not laughable is "There were no air conditioners"

I remember the night of August 10 this past summer, even at night it didn't go below 34 degrees...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Everyone bears a burden of equal weight. Kids have no real concept of what it was like in the "days without cell phones and internet", so they can't really feel bad for us old timers. And we shouldn't feel bad for them. They have an equal amount of addiction to technology, and opportunity because of it! I can feel bad for people who are addicted to their cell phones, but when my car breaks down halfway across town, I'd feel sorry for someone who didn't as I call for help. I sure can't walk home from where I work if my truck breaks down there! That's two days of walking with no sleep! Computers are helping to create more shut ins, but they also allow for amazing advances in science and medicine! You can't run an MRI machine without computers. You can't really run a modern car without the small computer chips in the control units. That may not seem as bad for those who live in cities where you can just walk and get around, but in Houston TX, you have to drive to get most places. There's no zoning, so few things are built in logical proximity to other places. Kids deal with the same social problems we all faced growing up. Bullies (only now it's some great national crisis! rolls eyes). Social awkwardness. Identity Crisis. Bringing home your first F! Saying things were better or worse than they were in the past is a dillusion created by the passage of what we perceive to be large amounts of time.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

9) They had to help around the house. 42 children

Really? They don't do that anymore? Not in my household.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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