Here at Playbourhood, we talk a lot about kids playing outdoors, doing things on their own in an unstructured environment and putting away their GameBoys. There’s nothing wrong with television, computers or organized sports – they all have a valuable role to play in our kid’s development. But it’s only one part of the bigger picture. Providing a good balance is what it’s really all about. Mike Lanza talks a little bit about this over on the Playborhood site in this great post about “shunning technology” in favour of more “face time” with family and friends.
The concept has it’s challenges and Mike, I think, is arguing a little bit tongue in cheek. Here’s a quote from his post:
“Televisions, videogames, and computers. Our two boys (4 and 10 months) have barely ever seen any of them. Cars? Well, yes, they ride in cars everyday, but they also ride bikes with me – the oldest on his own bike, the youngest in a trailer – practically every day to go to school, to go to a park, to pick up groceries, or just to play. Among other motivations, my wife and I are attracted by the idea that limiting exposure to these technologies will cause them to participate in our neighborhood far more than they would otherwise. We think that’s a very, very good thing.”
Mike goes on to argue that our kids, as they grow older, will be exposed to and influenced by all these things through school, friends and neighbours. As parents, we hope to provide them the skills and maturity to use them responsibly. Just as we would with so many other things they will encounter in life. Since our modern society is flush with easy access to these technological toys, it’s our responsibility to provide access to the other important components of a healthy and balanced life. Things like an appreciation of the great outdoors, the ability to be social and independent and the desire to enjoy every benefit that life has to offer. We can’t provide them with that balance without first turning off the toys and spending time playing outside! I’m no luddite, but I do agree that limiting – not banning – access to technology is a good thing.
Read the original post on Playbourhood.