(Published in www.bkhush.com as Bow your head and numb your fingers! )
Recently I heard someone saying that though we have progressed so much, we bow our head even today like slaves-slaves to electronics. And that person was talking about ‘texting’ forever, heads down, eyes staring into the screen as fingers dance in tune!!
All kinds of screens have become the ‘in’ thing now, or as Gen Y kids would say ‘fad’! All Apple products, all kinds of Tablets, smart phones, Kindle, all have the same effect on kids all over the world. I know that as the generation is growing and the technology is progressing, people from our generation have a need to understand and support the new generation. But easier said than done!
It becomes quite irritating at times, when kids are forever stuck to these screens. Especially when these screens join us at the dining table too, making weird noises of the arrival of SMS! I’m surprised how the fingers of kids have not gone numb by now by the frequency with which they are used to type messages back and forth!
I always wonder what is it that has pulled the kids away from the playgrounds, from the theatres or the books. I wonder when the playgrounds gave way to the laptops, the theatres to the tablets and the books to the Kindles! I believed that getting the reason out of the horse’s mouth would be the best thing and so I talked to some kids of friends and family.
Apeksha, 14 yrs old girl says “We prefer screen time because I think that a lot of the things that we do outside or at a friend’s house, we can now do on iPads, and cell phones, and main source of entertainment is now TV. The TV shows that are on TV now, are so much more real and relatable that, I think, that we kids feel that we don’t need to go outside and experience it we just want to watch it on the screen.”
I’m sure a lot of parents would have encountered this problem in the summer that passed us by-TV! Yes, TV becomes an integral part of vacation, wherever they are, be it home or holidaying in a hotel! They watch and watch and watch; repeats after repeat, making the parents scream in their heads but admonish the teenagers gently! I remember those days when India had just got TVs and the timings of telecast were fixed and so we had time to do other things too. All we had is one channel unlike the numerous ones that are available to our kids now, which obviously allows them to watch more. I don’t actually want to think what we would have done as kids if we had so many channels too. Maybe we too would have…
When I talked to another kid, Ria, 12 years old, she said
“I think that kids/teens of today prefer screen time over playing outside because social networking sites such as Facebook, Google+. Twitter, Gmail.. (the list goes on and on.) allows us to talk to friends at any time, on the other hand, if someone was to play outside, your choice of playmates/friends would be limited. Also, social networking makes it easier to communicate and share thoughts and ideas. Websites like these allow kids/teens to say what’s on their mind without over thinking about what others will think of you (it gives them a form of confidence) because you are “talking” to a screen not a person.”
Well, well, kids do surprise me a lot these days. It might seem like a joke but, I have seen kids’ texting to each other in the same house too with just a wall to separate their bedrooms. I, as a parent, fail to understand how communication skills are used these days on these social networking sites and why kids need screens to boost their confidence levels. Human contact and human voices has become a rarity, at least for the majority of kids, or so say a lot of parents.
My daughter said, “Most of our teachers ask us to do our homework online and so we need laptops. No homework done means no grades. We are to type out our assignments and make PowerPoint for projects, how else do we do that if not on the computers? So, laptops and computers are a must for us.”
Now, there goes another teenager at my house, telling me that the laptop screen is a must to get grades. Now, do I have a say in that, if grades are important for us too. My memory of note books for homework, and pens and pencils for writing are slowly slipping out of my system, giving way to my kid’s way of writing and communicating! However much we as parents think of taking away all these ‘screens’ from the kids, it is not possible. It is like sending the kids into the stone-age when it is the requirement of the society to adapt to the changing technology.
We all know from experience how kids want the very thing that we don’t want them to have.Instead of trying to scream at them , snatch their iPhones or pull our own hair with helplessness, it is essential that we learn the importance of these electronics and then explain it to the kids the limitation of their usage.Maybe we need to have an eye on them while they use these electronics usefully, and set a schedule to use these ‘texting’ devices and ‘gaming’ equipment.And last but not the least, tell them the importance of meeting friends in person, taking part in sports or other extra curricular activities outside their bedrooms!!
Well, come to think of it,can we blame the kids enough if we are reading this on a blog or e-magazine, on the laptop or phones, and not in a physical book? What say guys?! 🙂