Childhood is a time for swings and see-saws and dirty dresses…but…our children’s childhood is neatly packed inside smart screens. Oh, in the era of technology, is it even possible to raise our kids without the influence of YouTube, Facebook, iPad or the TV?
I have seen children holed up in front of videos and endless rhymes, plugging their computer on and surfing through the web all on their own or sitting in front of cartoon shows with a bag of chips. And sometimes it feels like they are so lost in it, lost in this world full of evil, worthless things when they can spend it much more usefully. They don’t play sports, they don’t read books, they don’t talk and laugh on jokes, they don’t run around and make a mess. Not so much. Not anymore.
They play, of course, only Call of Duty. They don’t ride bicycles, unless they are manoeuvring it with buttons on their phone. They don’t want to run and race, unless they are playing Subway Surfers. They don’t make a mess of paint on the floor, because their iPad has a colouring app. They have a virtual Barbie doll that they play with in their free time.
It makes me feel sad that they are shackled by technology, that they are losing the real taste of childhood hiding behind their smartphones! There’s no time for them to dirty their feet on dust coated roads, no time for playing with the sand they heap on the roadside, no time for cooking with sand and grass and stones in their make believe kitchen.
Are they too classy, too grown up these days to do such silly, childish things!?
‘Isn’t it so awesome that my little girl can search and find videos on YouTube all by herself?’, I have heard parents proudly announcing such to me. Oh yes. But not as awesome as that said li’l girl playing with dolls wearing pink frocks, braiding their hair. They only have one childhood. They will have enough time with their screens later on, when they grow up…
With technology our children are drowning too fast in the world which is not only full of good, but also filled with dirty, evil things. Of course, technology has its uses, but I don’t see the need to buy a two year old kid his own iPad. I don’t see the need for a five year old to open YouTube and find rhymes on her own. Because…there are not just rhymes there. There are crude, unwanted and potentially dangerous things in there, which can corrupt our kids’ minds.
You sit and watch a drama where a man talks of harassing a woman with your little boy…and he gets the idea that it is okay to harass girls, because it is shown on TV. You are, unknowingly, becoming the reason for the first bad thought in his innocent mind. They are still too young to distinguish right from wrong. So young, that unwanted things can easily get imprinted on their brain.
Gosh. What are we doing? Pushing our children towards that kind of environment, pushing them towards something that can destroy their innocence at such an early age! “What do you know? He will not eat unless given the remote control for the television! She will not do her homework unless promised an hour on her iPad.” Yes. Yes. I have heard these complaints quite a few times…
Wasn’t it you who first pushed her in front of the television and asked her to watch Power Rangers without noise when you were cooking and she was getting in the way, clanging the utensils, disrupting your peace?
Wasn’t it you who first pushed the iPad in his little hands when you were trying to feed him, and he was sitting there, lips pursed tight, shaking his head from side to side and damn it, you have more than enough on your plate already?
Wasn’t it you who downloaded a colouring book in your phone, because she made too much of a mess with her watercolours and you just could not clean it anymore?
Yup. It is US, who first thrust them towards the screen, and now we are complaining: Oh my! She spends too much time with the laptop. It is okay for half an hour of story time through videos, with you by her side. It is okay to be on the iPad, with the two of you bent together, playing and chatting. But 24×7, them being alone and unattended in front of screens, not so okay!
No, of course, motherhood is not easy. But we must not think of taking an easy route with technology, so early in their growth. It will hinder their progress, break their mind. It may even destroy their innocence too early in the game. Let them fly, find new skies. Let them run and get new wounds. Let them paint, including their faces. Let them get dirty and wet. Let them be children, without any shackles of TV, iPad etc…
Because childhood is too precious to lose in front of screens!
Fathima Says – A writer, a wannabe author. A dreamer who dreams with eyes open. I believe in the magic of words, and so I am a part-time magician. A new mommy to this wonderful boy, who slurps all her time. When he finds his dreams in sleep, I spend time with books, and my blog – The Bookworm’s Harbor.