It’s the year 2060. Parents and children live silent lives on small pixels and built-in screens. Parents focus on their jobs, giving the best of their energy to their ambitions. Robots and gadgets are becoming “the parent” for children. No physical contact, no physical conversations. Everything is bleak and monotonous.
This question pertains to be answered. Let’s modify the question. Is this the world we want our children to live in?
Parenting our children is something that doesn’t come with a guidebook and an instruction panel, that had dropped from heaven. It is like being given a job without zero qualifications and skillset, expectant to deal with a situation beforehand. That’s not how parenting works right? Mostly, it requires nurturing the child, for future circumstances.
Millennials Vs GenZ
In this regard, there is a differentiation between a millennial parent and a Gen Z parent. How so? Let’s try and understand Gen Z first. They are the emerging generation who are tech-savvy, digitized, and can be described as the most sensitive generation. The children of this generation are placed in this twisted irony: they are emotional and sensitive beings, yet they are hooked onto the materialistic obsessions called the internet!
To fit in with their capacities, millennials are asked to understand their way of thinking. If we look closely, it’s millennials who are Gen Z parents. They believe in protecting their child from the big, scary world. There is a dilemma in this evolution too. There is a clash in each of their belief systems. Gen Z kids believe they have to do things by themselves to get a hand or a taste of the real world, while their parents straddle and stop them, worried that they will get hurt.
Eventually, Gen Z parents come to believe instead of nurturing their kids, unbeknownst to them are restricting their children from exploration. Children, these days, aren’t looking for a parent to scold and reprimand them for their wrongdoings. They want to be accepted regardless and are looking for a friend to guide them along the way, with a free and positive mindset.
Parents look to be more positive and accepting of failures, guide their children in identifying themself and provide them with a supportive environment. Millennials look to be the nurturing root of Gen Z’s upbringing and the fruit bearer of fulfilling their needs.
In the year 2060…
What’s Our Fate?
The fate of our future generation and its trends are quite alarming. We don’t know what’s coming for us yet. It can be robots completely displacing human civilization. It can be anything. Scientists can even invent the existence of a new creature in place of us.
Let’s return to the context we were talking about. Parenting too has new trends emerging. That is too complex.
In this generation, family isn’t a concept that is simple and based on a construct. In the earlier days, a family was defined based on its nuclear structure: a father, a mother, and their children. However, with the coming of new generational ideas, children these days, are quite sensitized to the topic of sexuality and the idea of family.
Their question stuck with the deepest chords of society: Why does a family need to have a mother and a father, why can’t it be a mother and a mother? Or a father and a father?
The ideals imposed on us these days, tell us that, we can start a family with whoever we want, regardless of gender. Although society is rigid in its way, the opinions of this generation are much more fluid-laced and open-minded to numerous possibilities waiting.
The acceptance of same-sex relationships was not widely popular or heard of in India. However, it is much more popular, and the practice of adoption is prevalent in countries like the USA.
Let’s get back to the main purpose of this policy. Adoption is a popularized concept, especially for the LGBTQ+ community. According to the Indian Review of Advanced Legal Research, recent research has shown that having LGBTQ+ parents do not affect the child’s psyche of having “real parents” as opposed to the image constructed of same-sex relationships by society. Children having same-sex parents are believed to be more emotionally and academically balanced.
Open-mindedness to such possibilities is what can shape the future of our children. Gone are the days, when you could force them to adhere to “norms” and “rules” that conform them to a particular system or structure. These days, children yearn to be more independent.
It might not be so surprising when adoption becomes popularized and the most preferred option. They are more ambition-driven and competitive. They might not have a typical “nuclear” family and even wear clothes that describe their culture. So, it might not be as surprising when we come to know, they might not want a family.
After all, this is the generation that “self-prioritizes themselves, puts their needs and wants on the pedestal, and are tech-savvy brimming with new ideas and possibilities”.
This generation is a generation of possibilities and outcomes. Ten years ago, millennials or the previous generation might have scoffed when such a “what-if” situation is presented to them. Now, let’s present a “what-if” situation: What if, artificial intelligence can be taught the skills of parenting?
This is a hypothetical thought. It’s the year 2060, and parents are focused on their drive to excellence, the existence of their children means little to them, and ambition for work occupies their minds. Imagine, if they appoint AI robots to act as a guide to their kids. The AI machine becomes an integral part of their lives. It nurtures and attends to them like a real parent. Is our future going to look like this? Dominated by technology, software, and robots?
AI-powered parenting can be effective if used in the right way. There are various apps like Muse, which help parents to develop traits like emotional stability, affection, and attentiveness to relate with their child on an intimate level. This might ensure human contact and physical conversations that won’t die down or fade away when the years pass. Keeping in mind, the changes in mindset that this generation had gone through, let’s look at another possibility.
Robots can be a part of our future lives. The possible future we are looking at however seems to be bleak and monotonous. Imagine robots taking over our lives and the functions that we are expected to do as normal human beings. Then what’s the point of our existence? To avoid that, we keep robots in our lives….but at a distance.
According to Forbes, BenQ is a robotic software that serves as a companion for children and supports them. This way, parents of the future generation can accomplish their desires and ambitions on the sidelines. It is important to note that this software does not necessarily replace the parent, but instead serves as a companion to give the parents some leeway to fulfil their goals.
Population Control Policies.
The future generation might have another change that might be jarring and unbelievable for the present. As we know, China has brought in a “One-Child policy” to move from a developing country to a developed stable economy. Looking into the future, there is a possibility that our country might move in the same direction.
Painless methods of conceiving a child can be brought into effect. Pregnancy is viewed to be painful and GenZ parents might prefer such painless methods like adoption, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), Surrogacy, and Intrauterine insemination (IUI). These methods, however, come into use after the other options are exhausted. With the coming generation, another possibility can bloom, that these methods can be more popularized than a normal pregnancy.
As we know, adoption is popularized among Gen Z individuals, therefore, it might not be surprising if they choose to live their life, putting their needs and wants before anything else, even not wanting a baby, and their choice or their readiness to become a parent. If so, population control policies may be brought into effect.
Truthfully, parenting is not an easy job. We don’t actually “know” straight off the bat, what is best for our children, we learn what’s best for them. Especially, with a change in the generation that is coming, we do not know what the forthcoming future changes that we need to adapt to.
With the coming of technology and its rampant influence, it is difficult for us to judge what might be coming for our children. Maybe, we should let them learn, let them explore, and let them get hurt. As parents, our responsibility lies in the spaces of technology and physical contact and to not let the former overpower the latter.
Parents must be involved in the life of their children, whatever their generational gap. Parenting methodologies will change powered by upcoming trends, but the tenderness of physical contact and care remains the same.