Given that we are a gaming family, it was inevitable that our youngest would be exposed to gadgets and gaming. She has developed a keen interest in games in most formats, This current generation has had their world flooded with video games, on many platforms. It’s not uncommon to see children with a tablet, DS or other device playing away, worshipping the little backlit screen. The rest of the world fades into the distance as their attention is on pixels and yet society bemoans that children aren’t active enough, are overweight (according to media reports, that is) and generally aren’t involved in real world activities any more. I suppose they are right to a point, but if children are provided with these items plus have them all around them then it is hardly surprising that they feel this is the natural thing to do.
We are as guilty as charged, and whilst we don’t have a house full of the latest expensive games consoles, we are heavily reliant on technology in general. Social media, tv viewing and even genuine research is mostly done online now, homework is set via a website, and even our interaction with others is mainly through a screen. We are bombarded with offers, lower prices, better quality graphics, and every possible angle is used to get us to buy one more device.
We do make an effort to encourage alternative activities, and use of gadgets is limited for our daughter. She has many other things she can do to entertain herself, and is happy to do so if told she cannot have her tablet, but it is a sad truth that it is often the first thing she would reach for given the opportunity. We allow her to use it appropriately, and do restrict it to sensible usage, but she’s drawn to it just like most kids of her generation.
I do wonder where we are going, and if we will really end up with gadgets hardwired into our body, as many sci-fi films and tv shows suggest? Or will the novelty eventually wear off and we will remember what it was like to really get out there and spend most days not attached to a power socket or wifi source?
We as a family do fight the trend as much as we can, we have bicycles which we take to a local cycle track, we make regular trips to wildlife parks and in the summer try and spend a good amount of time at beaches and parks. My husband and daughter attend regular Jujitsu classes along with my son who no longer resides here but is another avid gamer. We aren’t quite slaves to technology, but it is a constant battle when it permeates most aspects of modern society.
Don’t get me wrong, video games are a joy and welcome escape for many, including us, but it is important to remind ourselves to not get so engrossed in the world on the little screen that we forget the bigger world around us. Providing we don’t lose the ability to put down the phone or the tablet or the laptop, and find entertainment elsewhere, then we haven’t yet lost the will to think for ourselves.