I recently turned 40 and boy do I sometimes feel old. The world certainly has changed since my childhood till now. I don’t know how others perceive it to be but for me it’s as if each year is going by quicker and quicker. I remember as a 6 and 7 year old how long school days used to last and it took forever for holidays, birthdays and the like to come around.
Some days i find myself reminiscing about my childhood and thinking about how different today’s children grow up compared to when I was a child. I don’t think most kids would recognise the world 30 or so years ago and whenever I find myself telling kids about my younger days you can see that they don’t know whether you are joking or telling the truth.
Without doubt the biggest change from my childhood in comparison to today’s children has to be the rapid advancement of technology. It has completely changed how children see the world nowadays. The birth of the internet has probably had the biggest impact. Mobile phones, computers, gaming consoles, televisions, etc are just a few more examples.
I grew up in a small town in South Africa back in the 1980’s and trust me,South Africa back than was a total different country to what it is now. I don’t just mean politically. Even though television came into the country around the time I was born I can still remember the days before my parent’s owned one.
To be honest though,I, like most kids didn’t spend a great deal of time indoors. Unless I was sick you would find me with all the neighborhood’s kids playing outside. I suppose times were safer but parents didn’t worry about kids getting kidnapped and almost everyone knew who their neighbours were. Riding bicycles , climbing trees, playing intense games of soccer or cricket in the backyard was just some of the activities that we as kids would do.
On rainy days you would find me,either at the library or at home,getting lost in the magical world of books or visiting friends and playing some or other board game. Writing letters to friends and family that stayed far away was also something I remember enjoying.
Fast forward to the present day and things couldn’t be anymore different. Walk through neighbourhoods and you won’t see large gatherings of children playing in the parks or riding bicycles or being loud and active outdoors. Libraries hardly exist anymore and kids, in general,never visit them.
I know the world is a much more dangerous place so kids are rarely found outdoors nowadays. They either spend hours and hours glued in front of a TV set or on their Xboxes and PlayStations and laptops but even if you come across them all you see is heads bowed down with them all on mobile phones blissfully unaware or uninterested in their surroundings. Ironic,isn’t it,that the one thing that was designed to make socialising easier has in fact had the opposite effect.
So call me old fashioned but for all the good that technology brings with it i also think that there’s a definite downside which has the twin affect of both stifling creativity and imagination in children as well a making them less social.
I guess the question to be asking is whether we prefer kids to be like this or not. After all the kids of today will be the adults of tomorrow.
Shouldn’t we be encouraging kids to read more books instead of surfing the internet? Shouldn’t we let them be outside being active instead of spending hours on a couch in front of the TV?Shouldn’t they be making friends instead of spending most of the day one a mobile phone being anti social? I know what my answer is.
So drop me a comment. Should we encourage kids to be tech savvy at a young age or should we delay it?What is your take on the matter?
Till the next time. Ciao