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There is an insatiable appetite of the child to learn and pick up new things. It is inevitable in each one of us as we have become children once in our lives. Can you still remember things you loved doing when you were a child? Does it involve an old-fashioned game with your family or contemporary entertainment? There is a huge difference between the pastimes of children before the advent of the technological era and at this time that in some ways may affect their personal growth and relationships in life. There have been reports that children of this age have the predisposition to becoming inactive or in other words engage in less active pastimes (“Child Obesity”). Due to a lot of television time and the production of popular gadgets made for individual use and diversion, leaving the house for a quiet stroll in the park or a visit to a friend is not an option anymore. Obesity, which is a springboard for more serious diseases, begins to become a problem in kids today due to this sedentary lifestyle.
The internet has become extremely accessible these days and gives information on an extensive array of disciplines. There is no more need to stand up, walk towards a bookshelf and browse through the pages to find answers for your assignment. The computer gives access to almost everything that even saying hello to an old friend next door can be done through instant messaging. If a kid has a personal cellular phone, it instantly becomes a gadget through the installation of games compatible with the mobile device. The film industry also provides a diversion for children as it brings characters, heroes, and icons based on comic books and other literary materials into life. But the most popular pastime of all from my observation is the popularity of role play games with the likes of the PlayStation, Nintendo, and online games. Where else could children obtain instantaneous creativity, unrelenting power, boundless attention span, and absolute fun? All of these are provided for by a simple nudge on a joystick and a button-press.
Conveniences in these pastimes forfeit the chances of today’s children to improve and grow in ways much more constructive and beneficial to them in the future. Before the invention of these modern gadgets, children of yesterday idle away the hours by reading books, writing literature, or simply converse with people around them and get the same satisfaction. Since there is no television to allow lazing around, there is abundant time for playing around, taking a stroll, or doing homework and household chores. Commercially made plastic toys were not available until the 1940s (“Tin Soldiers”) so toy guns can be home-made from spare wooden planks and other playthings from other stuff.
Through the years, children’s pastimes encouraged and influenced the evolution of these modern games and gadgets. Vice versa, these new things to play with influence the children’s physical and emotional growth. Imagination is sacrificed when reading books is preferred over a counter-terrorist role-play game. The convenience and homey appeal of the modern devices create a sedentary lifestyle for kids who should be playing around outside. Violence demonstrated in virtual role-play games gives children the notion that being aggressive is all right in the real world.
If there is such an unfavorable difference between the earlier generations of children compared to the children nowadays due to the dissimilarity of amusement activities, what then should children be encouraged to do? It is impractical to keep them glued to the past if it seems like the better choice but what is sure is to maintain the balance of these influences in their lives.
- “Child Obesity”. 2007.
- “Tin Soldiers”. History of Toys. 2006.