With the weather finally starting to warm up and thinking back to how the kids were last year, I’m beginning to wonder if I do more damage than good. I’ll admit that I enjoy electronic toys, if I had more money I’d probably have more, heck I’m even considering getting an iPad, and its partially just for me to have, and another part, I think of how my kids could play with it and entertain them, and I seriously sit and question if that’s good or not.
I remember when I was a kid when it warmed up, I’d go just walking around the woods, building forts, or just finding random things to do that would keep me busy until I was yelled for. I remember always wanting to go play in the creek, building dams with rocks, or thinking and considering going back into the cave at Granny’s. (Something I have yet to do, but at 29 still considering it this summer). I wonder if being as technology-obsessed as I can be has rubbed off on them in a bad way. I just don’t see the happiness or imagination in their eyes like I felt that I had. It takes effort to get them to go outside and play, but even then, it’s standardized. They aren’t using their imagination. You ask them to play a certain way or play like they’re doing something and they have a blank stare. Their imagination is more like a trained muscle now, only knowing movements that it’s grown accustomed to. If it doesn’t involve the Wii, or the Leapster, or something on TV, it just seems like they draw a blank. The joys of imagining being a superhero turtle, or drawing your latest crazy space monster, or pretending that you’re building a fort to protect yourself from the invading army, all that has faded away it seems. That doesn’t have that.
I mean sure, the argument could be made that it’s good that they have a chance to be associated with all this technology. That it will benefit them down the road, as they get older and become more dependent on technology, but where do you draw the line to separate it is beneficial and is harmful? I see my little girl, playing with her Little People, and you can see, even at 10 months, her imagination is starting to fire up, while at 3 1/2, my son’s imagination is a spark, barely able to break past things he has already experienced or seen on TV, and at 8, Katlyn’s seems to be more than trained muscle, only having an imagination that is limited to things she’s already associated with, never being able to break outside the box.
As parents, you always want to give your children a happier childhood than you had, but having more isn’t always better. I just feel that the numbing and the watering down of their imaginations is a harmful side effect of having a Dad that is a tech geek, and it’s something I feel is hurting them now rather than benefitting them. I just hope I can find a way to rectify it, without causing more harm.