This picture depicts one of my strongest concerns on how children spend their free time today. Electronic games are widespread in the lives of 21st-century children. Shouldn’t we set boundaries in their use?
During my childhood years in a small town in northwestern Peloponnesus (Greece), I was playing for hours with my dearest friends in our neighbourhood. Most of them were also my schoolmates and that was awesome because we had the same interests to share and we had developed our “code” words. We were using all of our fantasy to create new games; it was so productive! A ball and our own bicycles were our only play equipment and believe me they were considerable to create all that enthusiasm and happiness. It was such an enjoyable and fascinating experience and it was safe as well. I really miss those days!
How things have changed over time? Obviously, as any parent knows, when kids arrive on the scene, leisure time seems to disappear! Add a full time job and and you figure you are measuring total free time in minutes. In the past, when I was working in the maritime industry for more than 12 hours per day, including some hours during weekend, I was hardly trying to find the best way to organise my rest hours. I wanted to do so many things but I didn’t have the energy or even the mood! And I am really wondering what plan I would have followed if I had also a child involved. Surely, I would have made numerous To Do lists! I love them because they give me the confidence and the freedom to tuck a thought safely away without using extra brain power worrying that I will forget to accomplish the task.
Although the rythms of family life have changed, I strongly believe that parents should rethink the way their kids dedicate their play time. Going out for a walk, doing sports or playing with other children close to their age are some easy options. Giving a video game instead of an educational game as a gift or watching on TV inappropriate for children programs are ineffective options. Exposure to violence, aggression and other behaviors that are seen as negative in most parenting circles is a downside of allowing children to play electronic games. Excessive exposure to video games can also contribute to limited physical activity and kids could be at risk for childhood obesity.
The following article “Effect of Video Games on Child Development”, which students posted in their blog at Vanderbilt University, gives us more food for thought on this subject. Apart from the negatives of playing video games, some benefits are also stated. For more read here.