I believe it is a severe tragedy that children’s pastimes have changed drastically today from what they were years ago: from riding bikes, playing house, and having imaginary friends to texting, playing video games, and listening to mp3 players.
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When I was young, children learned to use imagination, self-entertain, and willingly respect their elders. I remember going across the street to play with the other neighborhood kids. I would impatiently wait for them to come out on Saturday morning, anticipating all the excitement we were going to have that day. I spent the whole day (until suppertime) outside playing ball, riding bikes, making mud pies, or conquering other planets that were actually just huge piles of dirt. Children today are lazier, more disrespectful, and more unsociable. My kids prefer to spend the day watching cartoons, playing video games, surfing the web, or listening to music. I try to encourage them to spend time outdoors and immediately the boredom whine begins or else they’re too hot/cold. “There’s nothing to do” is a common phrase that I hear when I say, “Go outside and play”.
Many parents fear that their children are turning into geeks because of their preoccupation with gadgets, gizmos, and anything with a battery in it. They lament that children now lack social skills and that the real fun has been taken out of playtime as they spend hours glued to the computer (Selvarani, 2011).
The increase in violence may play a role in parents keeping their children indoors these days. Rape, murder, kidnaps, and pedophiles are concerns that parents face every day. Danger seems to be lurking around every corner; as a result, we’re terrified to let our children out of our sight.
By keeping kids confined to a small enclosed area, are we really protecting them and keeping them safe or are we doing more harm to them? Child obesity has become a problem today because of the lack of movement by children. “8- to 18-year olds’ daily exposure to televisual media reaches 8 hours a day. As television viewing time has increased, time spent in other activities such as playing, reading, and family interaction has correspondingly decreased” (“Children”, 2008). Although experts seem to agree that “the shift to an indoor childhood has accelerated” (Cauchon, 2005), there is a vast difference in the explanation as to why this change has occurred. Whether it’s the change in the parent’s attitude, the increasing violence, or some other unknown phenomenon the change is still undeniable. It is true that pastimes today are geared to entertain just as they always have, but shouldn’t they also educate? If we turn off all the technology and take kids for a trip back in time, then perhaps we can manage to turn pint-sized zombies into active, well-rounded adults.
Cauchon, D. (2005, July 12).Childhood pastimes are increasingly moving indoors. USA Today. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2005-07-11-pastimes-childhood_x.htm Children, Impact of Television on. (2008). In Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace, and Conflict. Retrieved from http://www.credoreference.com.ezp-01.lirn.net/entry.do?id=8445608 Selvarani, P.; Choe, T. C. (2011, August 21). Those cool games of yesteryear. New Straits Times. P. Main Section