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Don’t believe the hype

Don’t believe the hype

An article in The National leaves Kipp feeling nostalgic for the old days, and frankly, a little worried about the generations ahead. But how much does media sensationalism have to do with it?

May 1, 2012 4:28 by

When this Kipper was growing up in Abu Dhabi in the 80’s, there wasn’t so much as a mall, or a movie theatre to go to, or even cable TV. A two-hour road trip to Dubai was as exciting as it got: it had malls! An ice rink! Granted, they were pretty archaic, especially in comparison to the array of entertainment we have today, but they did the trick.

Put simply, the UAE used to be a pretty tame place. Our outings consisted of family boat trips out to the beach, play dates at friends’ houses, and biking or skateboarding around our houses. There were, of course, moments of unbearable boredom (one summer spent watching reruns of Beverly Hills 90210 ad nauseum comes to mind), but on the whole, it was a pretty great childhood, even if it wasn’t filled with malls, parties, amusement parks, coffee shops, etc.

Today’s article in The National entitled “Keeping Dubai teenagers safe in the face of boredom” leads with the tragic story of a 15-year old schoolboy who fell to his death from an apartment block last month after a night of partying with his friends. Media reports once again went on to make assumptions about teenagers’ lives, and how an excess of activities, or a lack thereof, or even how teenagers not working throughout summer months could lead to boredom and depression. Except this was all speculation, and no one will ever really know what happened to Harry Harling – and we fear this speculation may harm his family, rather than comfort them.

Kipp agrees, to a certain extent, that this generation is spoilt for choice, and that this can lead to a certain apathy towards life. The same can be said of having a lack of choice, which is what this Kipper lived through as a youngster. But there we no warnings or media speculation about how this boredom could affect us at the time, and it felt like we didn’t have the chance to bask in those kinds of excuses. We are not denying the dangers of the modern world, even through all of its bounty, but  Kipp wonders: how much of this media speculation becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy?

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