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Is it really progress?

Angry Birdgs game photo from advante.org

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?

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Categories: Family, Home, Life, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Rants, Technology, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “Is it really progress?

  1. Computers are changing the way everybody does day to day life, interacting with kids of IM etc may one day be the norm, but it shouldn’t fully substitute the way we talk personally.

    Computers are an amazing invention, and they are here to stay, but everyone should make an effort to keep communication with people they care about personal, rather than electronically.

    🙂

    • Bioshox I agree … but I have to admit to despising texting and encouraging my kids to develop face to face personal interaction skills. Thanks for stopping in & your comments! MJ

  2. I totally agree. When I was growing up, we only had one TV and that was in the family room (Dad controlled). We did not have a computer, we played board games, and made family videos. If I was bored? Ha! I do not think “bored” entered my vocabulary when I was growing up.

    I was too busy building forts in the woods, going to the local parks, riding my bicycle, playing with friends, and would only whine once everyday (because I obeyed my Mom) when she called me in for supper, because I did not want to go inside.

    I do say, that even though my age is that of “Generation X” and is the “spoiled genteration,” I really do not act like it.

    I will admit, I have some games systems and do play them. I also tend to get bored, when I do, because they do not keep my attention like a nice jog, or conversation or book, or chasing my dog in the back yard.

    I agree, technology has its benefits, but just like food, only take it in small portions.

    Thanks for making me feel old! 🙂

    • Sorry I made you feel old; if it’s any consolation, I felt a bit like a “codger” ranting about it but those survey results were a little too alarming not to comment on it! Like you, we were busy playing, most of the time outside … but with supervision & plenty of imagination. Thanks for stopping in ! ~MJ

  3. I would just have to agree with you. The bird part really hits home. I heard a little girl say once, What’s a cardinal? I know not everyone teaches their child the kinds of birds but it still made me sad.

    • Oh .. imagine .. to not know the beauty and vibrancy of a cardinal’s red wing? Heartbreaking ! Thank you, Lissa, for your comment .. we agree, MJ

  4. Great post! Yes, technology has taken over life. Like you, I love it and use it. But I SO agree that children need real play time, real interaction, real love. I know that tv was the automated babysitter when my kids were young, and it was a challenge to monitor and control how much time they spent in front of the tube. My son played a lot more video games as a teenager than I liked. But now with the addition of so much more electronic media, it must be even more challenging for parents to monitor themselves and the kids for over-use. Thanks for your thoughtful piece!

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