Children as young as three, four and five years of age today know how to download games on smartphones and tablets. Many of these games offer in-app purchases and all of these games are highly addictive, as we all know. As young children, even we were fascinated by video games and computer games. It is the most natural thing to be attracted to these things; but there is no doubt that it is definitely a concern that our children, our very young children, are caught in the lure of these games.
It isn’t their fault, of course. The times, the circumstances around them, parental attitude towards their upbringing, everything plays a part in how much exposure children are allowed to gadgets and online games. But I feel, in our hurry to get our work done and in our constant quest for a better life for our children, somewhere we are losing track of the children themselves and what is good for them.
Why can’t we strike up a conversation with them while we wait for the school bus in the morning instead of checking our emails right then? Why don’t we play a simple game of spot the red car or count the bikes with our child while travelling by road instead of putting on some mindless music that makes our children sit quietly next to us and helps us plan things in our head? Why don’t we play the simple game of snakes and ladders on a rainy day anymore instead of letting our children watch TV so we can work on our laptop instead?
Oh, I forget! We don’t have the time! We get five minutes, and we have a call, or this need to check our email or check who has posted what on WhatsApp or Facebook! Of course, there are also responsible parents on the other end of the spectrum, who do not do this but take the time out to clean the house, do their laundry and clean up their home. But the point remains, that every time we get a few minutes of respite, we give that time to our phone and our work. While all this time, the child sits with a tablet or on the laptop and is free to do whatever pleases his mind.
We all always blame the TV for spoiling our children but we ignore the bigger danger lurking in our homes that is small enough and smart enough to fit in those tiny hands and change their worlds forever! From a very young age, our children are exposed to games and apps on our smartphones and if
we, as parents are not careful, it is only an invitation to disaster. Mindless games that are fraught with objectionable images and unnecessary violence are rampant on the internet. Even the supposedly innocuous ones are highly addictive and mind numbing at most. It is important to check what children download, what games they play and who they befriend online.
Of course, our children are not growing up in the environment that we grew up in. They do not have friends in the apartment like we did. It isn’t even safe to send children out to play nowadays as it was in our times; and we clearly do not have the time to play with our children. Moreover, in today’s day and age of technology, no one wants to have their child be an alien to the world of technology. All children play games on smartphones and tablets today and no parent wants their child to feel left out. So what do we do? We download games for them.
But if it is that essential to introduce our children to the world of apps and gaming, why don’t we invest a little time understanding what we are letting them download? Why don’t we get them games that will help them, teach them something new? Why not get a game that challenges their intellect or teaches them something really important? It is important for us parents to choose their games wisely. To try and find them age appropriate games and informative apps. Children are like a sponge, ready to absorb all the knowledge that they can. So why not use the games and apps to bring this knowledge to them in a format that they will enjoy?
It involves making time on our part, yes, but it is important to make that effort, take those five minutes. So the next time we give our phone to our children to play while we work, we know that they too are investing their time in an activity that stimulates their mind, making them work and learn in the process. After all, our children are going to be this young only once. It is up to us to give them the chance of remembering their childhood as fondly as we remember ours.
Rashmi is a spirited mum and an avid reader. She started out a lawyer, surrendering to motherhood along the way, taking up blogging to maintain her sanity until she found nirvana in creative writing. Rashmi loves to write on parenting, books, relationships, fiction, and humour; and is a regular contributor to several lifestyle, parenting, book related and e-learning websites. Rashmi has been part of Kellogg’s India’s prestigious Khuljaye Bachpan Campaign that won a Bronze Medal at the 2016 Abby Awards, India and part of the anthology that was published at the end of the campaign. Her parenting posts have twice been as Top Parenting Articles twice by MyCity4kids.com, India’s largest parenting portal. Rashmi also writes short stories and blogs in Hindi and Marathi. You can find her rambling away about life on her blog Rashmi’s Ramblings and gushing about books on FindMyRead.