Engaging Culture

In The Digital Age, Childhood Has Changed

Three generations answer the question: What were your favorite things as a kid?

Nature Valley asked three generations what they most enjoyed doing as children.  Nature Valley is the granola bar company, and although it’s a commercial, it’s a powerful message about how technology has impacted childhood.  Expand it out, watch the spot, and let me know what you think:



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  1. As a new father, this has been on my mind lately… this video brings home the message in a simple, straightforward but powerful way.

    Also, I can’t help but think how telling a story about kids picking blueberries and improvising toboggans is more compelling than some sedentary kid slogging through video games. What are we going to draw from in the future?

    1. Great question Jon. And I’m not anti-technology, but I agree with you that we need to be considering how the digital world is impacting our lives – both in good AND bad ways…

  2. That is a shocking but sad and very true reality for so many of today’s young people. When growing up I was taken backpacking by my father, I rode my bike everyday after school and got on the dirt trails behind my house. It was great! So sad that kids are missing this today… I love tech and I use computers for my work as a digital artist. My kids love video games and so did I as a kid, but I make sure they have balance in their lives. The kids are not the problem today. They need parents to bring them into a balanced experience… to introduce them to those old and traditional legacies. It’s up to us as the parents to make sure those traditions are passed on. Many parents I know are afraid to make their kids upset, so they won’t do this. Get your kids off of the computer and take them camping or something you used to do as a kid. Stop passing off your iPhone to them just because they are complaining about boredom. Make them read a book if they are bored. After these kids get through the initial shock of technology withdrawal, and experience the larger world they will begin to appreciate it.

  3. Great spot and I commend the brand for creating it. I grew up playing in the Woods and always feel a great peace in the outdoors. I also experienced the Video Game Revolution. And, while I can admit and attest to the great good and value that can come from new forms of technology (for diversion, story telling, facilitating relationships, and creating new economies), I am very concerned about the dehumanizing impact of technology. Of course, I understand that technology has always been present and changing our experience, but the recent jumps in technology are unparalleled, and will continue to move rapidly for the foreseeable future. I hope we can learn equally quickly and keep all these good things in proper balance, which is what I endeavor to do for myself and for my children.

  4. I think this reflects the focus of materialism in today’s society.
    Our “throw away when you’re done” mentality has affected our relationships and how we choose spend time.

    I think there are billions world wide who will never experience love and relationships. Partly because we don’t know what love really looks like and partly because we’re trained to “love” our things.

    As someone who believes in the power of Christ and His purpose for relationship (since we are MADE for relationship,) as a Christian I have to fight every single day to believe the time and effort to keep up with everyone, to really be there for people, to pursue true friendships, is worth it because often times affection is one sided.

    Also, I think America has the mentality that rest is evil. If you’re not doing something you’re wasting time. If you’re talking with people, shut up and get to work. I think this enforces the idea of playing outside and socializing will ruin your success for the future but future success is the most empty thing on the planet when no one is around.

  5. Super powerful video. And I say this as someone who’s been working in the video games and media industries since the 1990s.

    As much as I can see friends giving their kids tablets and computers to keep them quiet and “prepare them for life in the 21st century” – I have grown up without computers up until I was ten years old. Then I started with Atari, Commodore 64 and the like while still playing outside with my friends.

    It takes an effort to raise children, to tell and read them stories and have them experience a mix of nature and technology. But I am working with tech everyday and am more versed in it than many of my younger friends – so it’s definitely not that I have been missing out not tapping on a tablet as a pre-schooler. And I am wildly determined to raise my future kids without a TV in their room and all that jazz.

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