The many reasons I'm relieved to have been a child of the 90s

Children need a laptop or tablet for homeschool.

We need to help youngsters to learn the importance of thinking twice before they act, type or write in the modern age - Credit: Sonya Duncan

There are many reasons why I’m glad to have been a teenager way back in the 1990s - rather than growing up in society today.

These include the ones that instantly make me sound like a boring old man, such as the music being better (true) and following football being more fun because the winners and losers were less likely to be determined by whom had the deepest pockets (also true).
Then there are the reasons that evoke a certain element of sadness, such as how different university life must be because of the staggering fees teens face, how much more vulnerable to mental health problems youngsters appear to be or the thought of how coronavirus must have ruined what should be the most stress free time of their lives.

And finally, there are the reasons that lead to a pledge that I must make sure my own children are given the knowledge and awareness of the long-lasting impact their actions as youngsters could have on the rest of their lives.

File photo dated 27/12/10 of the logo of social networking website Twitter seen displayed on the scr

Should schools do more to teach youngsters the potential damage of social media? - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Hopefully I wasn't what you'd class as a 'wrong un' when growing up, but equally I can think of occasions from my youth when I'm pretty glad social media, Twitter, Facebook and video technology we're not as prevalent as they are now. I'll save the specific reasons for my memoir, just to keep you hanging on.

Don't get me wrong, I wasn't out and about commiting crimes or carrying out wrong-doings as such, but those of us who faced childhood pre the internet, didn't have to worry about the misdemeanours of youth still hanging around your neck many years on.

And this is one of the many things I shall be trying to teach my children as they grow up.

I don't believe many were completely perfect during their teenage years. Those that say they were are probably lying. Many possibly drank too much, acted up and made the sort of mistakes that come with still being in your formative years and not having the benefit of decades of life learning to look back on.

But make an error of judgement or slip up now, and the internet or social media could ensure that it comes back to haunt you many years later.

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And we've seen that come to fruition this week with the suspension of England cricketer Ollie Robinson for a series of racist tweets made when he was 18 and 19.

Robinson, now 27, has been dropped for England's next test, leading to much debate as to whether his suspension has been too heavy-handed, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson even criticising the decision.

Boris Johnson doesn't seem interested in spending the same amount on education per pupil as other countries do says Ruth

Prime Minister Boris Johnson - Credit: PA

For what it's worth, I think it's right that Robinson is suspended and I think the player himself has this week handled it the right way, by apologising and pledging to learn from what he said. I've no idea whether he still holds those views, but if he does someone needs to sit down and show him the error of his ways.

However, I do also believe we as a society should learn from the case and make sure there is an effective way to give youngsters today a full understanding that things they do when 16, 17, 18 or even younger, can still come back to haunt them many years on.

And also that views they hold when such an age, may not be the ones they hold many years on, so it might be best to think very carefully before posting them in such a way.

While I know our schools often feel they are unfairly handed numerous responsibilities that go beyond the academic, I do believe this awareness and education needs to start within the classroom.

Just as schools should be trying to equip youngsters with the knowledge and skills to better manage their mental and physical health so they can take it through to their adulthood, so too should they be helping to teach them this important lesson in life.