This moving video claims gadgets are separating kids from nature

Technically Incorrect: An ad from General Mills examines the different things that kids do now, compared to what their parents and grandparents did. It just might make you weep. Or perhaps not.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

And what do the kids love doing for fun? Why, video games. Nature Valley Canada/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Those who grew up when TV screens were as big as an iPad's -- but there were only three channels -- might shed a tear at this.

Even though it's an ad.

Here are different generations of families talking about what they did (or do) as kids. For fun, that is.

While the older adults talk about communing with nature, the youngest talk about their passion for video games and tablets.

You must decide whether this is a setup or if there might be some truth to it. My suspicion is that there's some truth, but only some. Certainly, the more we live through screens, the less we have the energy and interest in seeing what's outside of them.

After all, real life seems to be on the screens. Everyone is there. Everything is there.

When you see a little girl say that she plays on her tablet three or four hours a day, you see the future and wonder how much fun it'll be. When you hear about a man's encounter with a bear while he was fishing, that does sound like more fun.

This ad is for General Mills' Nature Valley brand in Canada. Food company General Mills is itself discovering a sudden attachment to nature. It recently announced that it's going to remove "all artificial colors and flavors" from its breakfast cereals.

It's easy to fall into a nostalgia about how the past was always somehow more pleasant than our current cruel, connected world.

But weren't kids in the older days massively, cataclysmically bored? Didn't they sit around brooding and wishing there was more to do and more to see? Have gadgets merely stepped into that void and helped parents breathe a little while their hyperactive offspring bury themselves in Digiworld? Or are they capturing kids entirely?

Still, when you see (and feel) how attached we've become to inanimate objects that fool us into believing they're full of life, it makes you wonder when was the last time you smelled freshly mowed grass.

I think I'll go outside now.