Over the past few weeks, I have really been trying to gather my thoughts on what to write about in my next blog posting. During this time, my wife and I went into a Bagel shop to get some breakfast. After receiving our order, we sat down to eat our meal when I noticed something. There were two parents with a child sitting across the bagel shop. The parents were talking and the child (who could not be more than 9 years old) was sitting there quite. He had a video game in his hand and he was totally enthralled in it. Just seeing this made me start thinking about how much he might play that game. Does he do anything but play that game? Does his parents use it as a way to keep him quite and make their job easier as parents? What ever the case may be, it really started to weigh on my mind. What happened to the times where a child didn’t have a hand-held video game or a mobile dvd player? When I was a kid and we went places, I was told to keep quite. So, I found myself really focusing on what others were saying even if I could not be part of the conversation. For fun, I would go outside and play imaginary games and I would spend the whole day outside doing things and creating games that kept me entertained. I was using my mind to keep me busy. Today, kids are so into everything other than using their imagination and I believe that there are effects later in life that stem from this type of environment.
Lets take a look at a child that only spends his free time with his face in video games. He becomes detached from what is around him. He disregards all those around him as he is focused on the video game. He might even throw a fit if he had to let go of the game when his parents tell him to. Recently there was a shooting of a current senate member. It was done by a young kid that really had no reason to do it. It was clear from previous postings that there was a detachment from the world in some type of way. There may have been a mental issue, but could this have been prevented with some proper parenting? See, the way I look at is…. you have to teach your child to go out and use his imagination and get involved in life. You need to get the game out of his hands and learn respect. Respect in the way that, when he goes somewhere with his parents, he is to behave and keep himself in check. By doing this, he learns self discipline, respect for his parents and respect for those around him. He in essence, has to control himself simply because he was told too by his parents. Instead, kids today have a video game to keep them busy, thus bypassing the understanding of what is needed to be well-behaved.
This goes farther than just a video game in his hand while in public. It also works within the home. In my own opinion, kids need to be kept off the computer. Yes, today they may need it to do school assignments etc and that is fine, if their computer time is kept within reason. The rest of the time, they should be out in the back yard keeping themselves busy and creating good times for themselves, playing with friends, or getting involved in sports or extra curricular activities. By doing this, they will learn team work, problem solving skills, people skills, imaginative skills, communication skills and what ever else might be needed to help them in what ever circumstance they might be in at the time.
It just drives me crazy to see kids doing nothing but playing video games. Or parents giving their child an electronic device to keep their kids busy and making their job as parents easy. We need to allow our kids to experience life. We need to expose the world to them, because with every experience the child will take something small from it and add it to his or her life, building a personality and a set of morals that they will carry with them for the rest of their life. Simply think for a second of memories you have as a kid that really effected you. That is one example of an experience you personally took something from and it effects you today. Kids need this type of thing and it is our job as parents to provide it to them.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not against electronic devices and I am not judging the parents I saw in the bagel shop, but I personally would do things differently. I do believe in letting the child play video games, watching TV, and having fun. But, we need to control that as long as we can. Everything is earned in this life and they too must learn the process of working hard to earn something. This could simply be good grades allowing them video game time on the weekends etc. Believe me, I might sound like the parent from hell, but I believe in being fair to my child and to allow them to find themselves without a dictator as a parent. But, in my mind a child is like a sculpture… it will take time and effort to really sculpt this child into someone respectable. Of course, there will be times where the child will want to digress and go a different way and this is where we help that child look at those digressions to see if it is the right thing or not. We as parents need to be open-minded to those digressions to help our child out in those decisions even if it might not be what we wanted for our child. In any case, there is no written book on how to be a parent, but there are some obvious things we should not do and one of those in my opinion, is to parent your child with an electronic device.
Just my two cents.
A simple song I was listening too while writing this…. called Beautiful Things by Gabriel and Dresden.