Friday, February 20, 2009
Nature vs. Technology
Not being a parent it's pretty easy to imagine what type of house hold I'm going to run when I become a parent! I can look at all the parental roles in front of me, and say: "Nope, nope, nope!" to any part of what I see. I realize, it's not going to be as easy as I make it in my head.... but one thing I feel very strongly about is T.V. and video games.
Do you think it's possible to raise kids with a minimum of these? Especially the video games drive me nuts. I think they cause ADD, they are isolating, and almost drug-like. T.V. at least has a FEW redeeming qualities, like Sesame Street teaching the alphabet. I guess video games can teach hand/eye coordination, but I'd rather my child learn that from sports. Out doors.
I remember when I was growing up my favorite pastime was smashing leaves with a "mortar and pestle" (rocks against concrete) and making "bug poison" (which I never used on bugs because my dad taught me *super* empathy at a very early age). This was the funnest thing ever! To make green juice out of leaves!
Being an only child, I know I had tons, piles, mountains of toys. But I cannot remember ANY of them except my Snoopy stuffed dog. Mostly I remember times I played outside. Bug poison was in the yard in Jakarta. So was collecting Rambutan fruit for my nanny to slice open for me, as I waited impatiently for the white-sweet-juicy-globe-of-tropical-flavored-goodness. Taking a bath in a bucket outdoors (note the Joy dishwashing liquid soap...) Collecting mammoth sized snails was in the village in Abidjan. Shooting marbles into stick-dug holes during recess was at French School. Riding my bike trying to get lost was in Bethesda. Also in Bethesda, I would rake the woods for the heck of it, to make paths!In the woods! In Princeton, I played with the family dogs, Buttons, Saskia and then later Biscuit.
On the other hand, denying a child access to technology in today's world could seriously stunt future job opportunities. I think it's neat my nephew figured out Pay Pal on his own and bought something the other day after hacking his dad's account! Smarty! Computers are a part of growing up, nowadays.
So what do you think... are video games, T.V. and computers helpful or harmful? Can I force my daughter to "go outside and play" when all her friends are indoors zapping Tetris and Wii'ing? Would I be dooming her to "loser-hood" to restrict access to American Idol? I know, "I'm the parent, and what I say goes..." but can I fight today's society and how much?