I enjoy computing and find the vast array of information available to me via the internet amazing (and sometimes a little overwhelming). I’m also an adult.
So I was alarmed to read the following statistics from Internet Security Company AVG:
Small children today are more likely to navigate with a mouse, play a computer game and increasingly – operate a Smartphone – than swim, tie their shoelaces or make their own breakfast. This is according to a new ‘Digital Diaries’ study from Internet Security Company AVG (www.avg.com). AVG Digital Diaries is a series of studies looking at how children’s interaction with technology has changed. For more on the study visit: http://http://www.avg.com/us-en/press-releases-news.ndi-672
Kids are smart. We know that. But here’s what this article makes me wonder: are today’s parents afraid to hear the words, “I’m bored?”
If my siblings and I dared utter the dreaded “I’m bored” we were told one of two things: 1) Really? Ok you can help with ____ (we lived on a farm, fill in the blanks with: bring the clothes in from the clothesline, clean the basement, weed the garden, pick the eggs, clean the stalls in barn, mow the lawn, water the flowers, you name it.) The second alternative was 2) Find something to do or I’ll find it for you (see #1). And we did. We rode bikes, climbed trees, stole raspberries out of the garden, collected rocks, and built forts, castles and stages. We went on hikes, produced talent shows and pitched tents. All of those activities were far desired over spending any time doing chores.
What’s happened to singing, dancing, reading and “playing school?” What’s happened to puppet shows, make-believe, dress-up days and creating forts out of old sheets? What’s happened to catching bugs, going up the slide the wrong way and hopscotch, kick-the-can, and freeze tag?
Please tell me that most parents are not too busy building imaginary Farms on Facebook to actually interact with their kids. (“Baby drowns while Mom on Facebook: http://www.kdvr.com/news/kdvr-baby-drowns-while-mom-is-on-fa-01132011,0,2404118.story) )
So what is it? Have we become so paralyzed by fear that we no longer let our kids go outside to play?
My parents insisted that “children learn more by what we do than what we say.” So if your kids see you playing on an iPhone or iPad it makes sense that they will want to also. And that’s ok .. to a point. I’m just hoping that little ones are also being exposed to educational “apps” because I’m concerned about a generation that can order take-out but not cook, can “race” for NASCAR but not change a tire and can master “Angry Birds” but not identify a real one looking at them from outside.
Technology? Love it. But it shouldn’t be a substitute for the real thing: play time.
What are your thoughts on this?