Childhood is a time of new learning and discoveries – of getting yourself dirty from head to toe but definitely having the time of your life. Kids love getting their hands dirty by touching almost everything they come across with. Parents may get upset seeing their gross and disheveled appearance but this is actually both a learning and developmental process for them – a crucial part of their growth. Kids learn the most when they get to hold things and feel its texture and save it in their mind for future use. Childhood is perhaps the time when kids never sat still and roamed around nonstop. It may look exhausting in the eyes of an adult but with the endless energy packed in their tiny bodies, it is the perfect fuel to energize their always hungry minds that always want to learn more.
As the years went by, we see fewer children running around the streets, happily passing the time with friends and just simply being silly. Nowadays, there are fewer kids roaming around because they are busy with something else. Blame it perhaps on stricter laws and more dangerous times but the kids deserve to explore the world for their own sake. They can no longer relive these moments of childhood once they grow old. Instead, the young ones are hooked to technology for hours on end. They rarely go out anymore because there is a long list of games and apps they can play with throughout the day aside from getting hooked on the equally exciting life on social media.
Nine out of 10 adults believe technology and hand-held devices are making children today less active than when they were young, a new survey to mark this weekend’s Aldi Community Games August National Festival has revealed.
The research also found that six out of 10 adults (62%) feel that children’s diets are less healthy than 50 years ago, with 73% stating children today are less physically active. This is despite almost seven out of ten (68%) people believing there is more opportunity for children to get involved in sports in the community today then there was 50 years ago, with the figure increasing to 76% for the over 50s surveyed.
Commissioned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Community Games this year, the survey examined views on health, exercise and community participation, with an emphasis placed on the opinions of adults aged 50 years and older.
Well, you can’t entirely blame the kids for their newfound preoccupation (or rather, obsession?). It’s their parents who hand them out these modern gadgets and give them access to use WiFi too, so they can busy themselves and pass the time as their often busy and stressed out parents juggle multiple tasks just to make both ends meet. As a result, kids become hooked to these devices and miss out on the best things childhood offers, to be able to think about nothing else but play all day and make lasting memories to last them a lifetime.
Is it that bad? And if so, exactly how has this happened? Kids are not actually born with a smartphone in their hand, and if they have one by the time they are 13, someone has bought it for them. And someone has to be cooking their meals while they are in their rooms destroying themselves. Maybe those someones are the generation we should be looking at.
Can’t be any truer. Kids may ask for a smartphone from their parents because they see other kids have them too but it is still the parent’s discretion whether to give into their child’s whims or not. Kids can’t decide for themselves yet and parents should be there to steer their children to the right direction. We all know the cons of too much technology use even to adults. Why allow kids non-stop gadget use knowing it does them more harm than good.
But Twenge is talking about young people, those who have grown up (or perhaps have failed to grow up) in the era of the iPhone. Born between 1995 and 2012, the oldest members of “iGen” were young adolescents when the iPhone was launched in 2007. Three years later came the iPad.
With these devices social media exploded, causing “an earthquake of a magnitude we’ve not seen in a very long time, if ever,” says Twenge, an expert on generational change.
Around 2012 she “noticed abrupt shifts in teen behaviours and emotional states” reflected in national data she was studying, which includes Monitoring the Future, an annual survey funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. What she saw, in broad strokes, was kids who are homebodies, but disengaged from parents and even friends, unless through incessant social media activity. They are physically safer, but lonelier and in poorer mental health than the generation before them at the same age.
As guardians and role models of these young minds, we must not only teach them what’s right and wrong but show them how things are done right. Can you remember the happy times of your youth that you badly want to go back to? Let children just be children. Allow them to frolic under the sun and the rain and let them get dirty for all they care. Not only does this gradual desensitization to germs boost their immune system, it also allows them to simply be happy doing things that basically do not make sense but makes them happy for days on end. The answer does not solely lie in technology but in the simple, active, and stress-free life exclusively for kids.