During the holidays, my youngest brother’s claims of boredom got me thinking about my childhood and the things that used to keep me occupied. There were times when I would be bored but at the age of eleven, I am pretty sure this was a rarity. Of course, my brother was only bored because he had been taken off the Play Station and so could think of nothing else to do. This is a problem that faces anyone who has young children or siblings and it is exacerbated by the fact that we live in the city. Yesterday, my English teacher was talking about how it is fun to grow up in the countryside as the activities that are possible are limitless rather than merely playing video games.
I think with the increase in technology, children let games do the thinking for them so their imagination is not allowed free rein to develop. I remember spending hours playing with my toy cars, imagining the wildest scenarios which at that moment in time, felt so real and exciting. To me, it was a whole different world that I could control. However, there were times when I wanted to do something different. I was lucky in that every weekend up to the age of eight, my grandparent’s house was the place that kept me entertained but even then, the role of video games began to increase in my life through the games installed on the computer. The difference between back then and children ten years later, is that for me video games were amazing, new, exciting and yes addictive but if I was not able to play them, I wouldn’t feel like a beached whale with no hope of escape. Another thing that is important is that children read. I would lose myself for hours in books after visits to the library. Just as friends in a room are all silently staring at their phones, my brothers and I would have our heads in novels, those peaceful moments must have been pure joy for my mum. Not only were we quiet and entertained, we were also educating ourselves in a way that only reading can.
Toys were important. Don’t ask my dad though as he would always complain about the great amount of toys that my mum or aunty would buy. They were important in that they offered an alternative to the television and computer. How can you expect children not to be addicted to them when there is nothing else for them to do? You have to give them a starting point, whether it is Lego, K’NEX, cars or even paper and some crayons. Something has to stimulate them and it requires an active effort. My mum would sit that with us and encourage us to do things which made us think and explore rather than sit gawking at a cartoon as our brains turn to mush. It is absurd to complain about children only playing video games when you do not play a role in providing another source of entertainment especially in this day and age when games are made to seem even more enticing and gripping.
I thought that I would write about how children today are lazy compared to children ten years ago but it is clear that they cannot be blamed for it all. Next time you tell a child to get off the Play Station, you better have something else waiting for them to do. Only then will they realise that there is more to life and then you can sit back content as you watch them develop into intelligent and experienced human beings.