The younger the generation, the older they look


Erinn Gardner and Getty Images

In the present era, any young girl will most certainly acquire or possess items, like crop tops and non-traditional piercings, which society primarily correlates with teenagers. This contentious issue manifests itself in a variety of ways for a number of causes, media trends taking the role as one of them. Known to carry impressionable minds, these children strive to imitate those on social media, as well as older influential figures in their lives. At the end of the day, the ownership of these objects strips away children’s ability to properly enjoy their youth.

Erinn Gardner, Social Media editor

Noticeably, girls in the newest generation (Generation Alpha), from ages 10 and under, tend to act and dress older than their true age. In this day and age, any given child will likely either own crop tops, a phone, acrylic nails, unusual piercings, or any other element that society typically associates with teenagers. This controversial topic displays itself in a number of different ways for a countless number of varying reasons ranging from the generation of parents to trends in the media. The bottom line, allowing kids to possess those items takes away their ability to indulge in their childhood.

Today, society lightly uses the word “maturity” to justify these grown-up behaviors. While the environment and media play a substantial role, the generation of the parents does as well. The parents of Generation Alpha mainly identify with the Millennial generation, known as a “less traditional”, hip group of individuals in their late twenties through their early forties. These individuals tend to use popular social media apps such as TikTok, Twitter and Instagram, which results in them taking part in numerous trends.

Subsequently, their children present themselves in articles of clothing that teenagers in prior generations hid from their parents when leaving the house. These elements include crop tops, tube tops, false eyelashes, permanently dyed hair,  heavy makeup, long hair extensions, long acrylic nails and facial piercings. Additionally, this increases the likelihood of sexualization of young girls, which promotes a toxic environment for them. 

“I think a lot of influence comes from them looking at people on social media and older social media and older influential figures in their lives wanting to mimic them. Also, a lot of children are insecure and if they see people wearing crop tops, makeup and piercings are getting called pretty and receiving attention, they will want to do the same.  I wasn’t allowed to wear crop tops or makeup like my friends were, which made me feel a little left out. I think the awkward stage can be beneficial in a child’s social and psychological development of how they view themselves, but it can also be a good thing to skip in some cases”, magnet junior Alexis Christian said. 

Society used to consider stores such as Justice and Claires the backbone of a young girl’s closet due to their joyous, magical nature of them. They sold every girl’s dream items, including backpacks with matching lunch boxes, flamboyant bathing suits, jewelry, fake nails, accessories, pajamas and vibrant sequined clothing. While parents should encourage their children to express themselves, a fine line does exist between girls exhibiting their authentic selves and growing out of their childhood too quickly. 

“I think kids are growing up extremely fast mainly because of the media and industry, so I can’t entirely blame them for wanting to look older honestly. The millennial parents want their kids to like the people they see on Instagram or their Gen Z younger siblings. I don’t think they take the time to really understand the issue or have any desire to. My favorite place to shop was most definitely Justice because the jumpsuits with sequins made me the coolest in the game, I don’t think that I would have it any other way. I feel like having childhood experiences like that is where you find yourself and grow and love who you are,” senior Malaia Brown said.  

Even though it may seem nice for one to look at pictures of themselves in 7th grade and withhold a positive opinion on it, these adolescents must experience “awkward” stages and participate in childhood activities. Whether that entails American girl doll shopping or going to Claire’s for the perfect press on nails, a child must experience the joy of their youth.