Growing up in the third millennium

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Cansu is the name my family gave me. As my auntie loved the name, she wanted me to have it. I think the meaning of the name is water of life, or something similar to that. I first opened my eyes in Antalya, which is the most beautiful city in Turkey. For me, the meaning of paradise is Antalya. The first thing I saw was the world in blue; the sky and the Mediterranean Sea. I guess that's the reason why my favourite colour is blue. The sound, the smell, the taste, the people of summer, everything was marvellous. I really can't find any words that can describe such a place. Maybe that's how I saw it through the eyes of a child. I lived in the paradise of Antalya until I was eleven years old. I finished primary school, and then I came to live in London in 2004. I came with my mother and brother, who is younger than me. My father came as an immigrant three years before we did. It was really hard for me to get along with that massive change. I have been back to Antalya two times since 2004. It was never the same as before. I will never know if it's all because I have grown and changed, or that I knew my life was never going to be the same again. Nevertheless, I started and finished secondary school in here and currently studying IT in college.

Before we came to London, I was really afraid. Not just of the people, the different language or the place itself, but the massive change in lifestyle really frightened me.

It took me a while to get used to the lifestyle and letting go of childhood itself. As I was of an age that I should have started growing up into an adult, as my father said to me. He was strict for sure, but he just let me be. They didn't mind what I was doing as long as they knew what it was. Certainly there are things that they don't want me to do, but we never talk about them since everybody knows where they stand and whatever they should or shouldn't do. There is a huge difference when it comes to compare my culture and the culture here. In my culture we tend to be more connected as a family whereas here that does not really apply. To give you an example, we always have the dinner together as a family everyday.

I can say the culture you will see in Turkey is million miles away from anything you would see in here.

According to a report published by Unicef, UK children have the lowest levels of well-being in the developed world. It measured themes like material well-being, peer and family relationships and health and safety. I think the well- being of a child is mainly connected to their family. The reason the UK had the lowest levels is because the term 'family' does not really exist in some houses. People don't really think about their cultures and think family is just the people you share the same house with.

The other major point that influences children and young people to be demonised is stereotyping or society's expectations and conditioning. Most of the time I hear misconceptions from adults; they are scared of young people, especially boys wearing dark hoodies. Another thing that I think demonises young people is in London most of the young people are in between two cultures, which is not an easy thing for them to cope with. The reason I think that because, I mentioned earlier about me being frightened to come and live in London, I experienced things relating to this issue.

I was a lucky child; always independent and free. My parents gave me their trust and showed me that they believed in me. Therefore I have never wanted to let them down nor disappoint them. That made me more honest and a reliable person. My family thinks our generation is lucky, because the life is easier than before. In their time, it was much harder, as they needed to start work from a very early age. They think there are more opportunities for young people; some of them don't really know what to do with those opportunities, they just use them in a bad way.

I didn't really know what the phase 'cotton wool kid' really meant until I came to live in London. The reason I say that is because where I came from, I've never seen a family that was so protective over their child. In Turkey, all the children in my neighbourhood were playing outside. I have to admit though; there were families in Turkey, who were trying to control the actions their teenagers take, especially for girls. But from what I've seen, it wasn't as bad as it is here. I had a friend and she was a cotton wool kid. Her mum just did everything for her and checked what she was doing every five minutes, and when I say that I mean it. Everything. This reminds me of the reality series that I saw a couple of weeks ago on TV, called 'Young, Dumb and Living off Mum'. I think the name just explains it all; parents influence their children to be the way they are by their actions.

However, all the facts I have found have made me think. In reality it is not hard to understand the parents, as the crime and violence levels are increasing rapidly in the world that we live in. I even witnessed many crime situations myself. About two weeks ago, the street my friend lived in was closed, apparently due to someone being stabbed to death. Under these circumstances, it is hard not to worry, and the only thing parents can do is to protect their child. At the end nobody wants their child to have a bad life.

I personally think that you have the right to protect your child. I even worry and try to protect my younger brother. Nevertheless, you should also let them take risks, let them face the real life that you have been hiding them from. They should be able to make their own decisions. You are not going to be there forever, eventually you will have to let go. Therefore, the best way is to start letting go of them gradually, so as they reach a certain age, they would be able to stand on their own two feet.

The technologies we have in these days are not just for the integral needs of people, but also for social and personal use. Many young people prefer to stay at home and talk to their friends online, instead of just going out to the park two streets down. This might be that the reason why we have an increasing problem of obesity; because of technology. People are not active! Our lives are so easy; we don't have to work hard to achieve our goals. I am personally jealous of the older generations, as they lived their life to the fullest without technology, which makes us lazier and lazier.

To give you an example on this, to do my school/course works I tend to use internet much more than I use books, whereas the older generation had to go and research to explore. For me I think that makes them more experienced.

I, myself once used technology to talk to my sibling downstairs, instead of just using the stairs and actually move! I would reveal my secret here, the reason why I am studying computers is because I want to know what is going on in the brain of a computer. I want to stop robots taking over the world in the future. No, seriously, the technology is taking people. It is time to wake up!

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