Anyone who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s can testify to the mind-staggering growth of technology that has occurred over the past 30 or more years. What was once an amazing hand-held calculator has now been incorporated into a “phone” that can perform hundreds of actions that would have once required a computer that filled an entire room.
Growing Up in a World Flooded with Technology
Gone are the days when electronic entertainment consisted of a daytime television lineup of soap operas during the week, Saturday morning cartoons and golf on the weekends. Today, children are exposed to an excessive amount of electronic stimuli in the form of video games, computers, social networking and 24-hour television programs that are comprised of almost every genre.
The Information Age
We live in a fast-paced world that requires us and our children to stay updated with current technological advances in order to stay competitive and ensure success. As a result, we find our families spending less time interacting on a personal level and more time communicating through technology by texting, email messaging and talking on the phone. According to an article published by SFGate, the toddlers and pre-school age children of today make up the first “digital generation.” It is not uncommon to witness a child, who is still in diapers, successfully navigating through his or her parent’s cell phone or tablet.
Encouraging Creativity in Our Culture
It is easy to spend our leisure hours immersed in beautifully designed electronic games that capture and keep our attention for hours. It is important as humans, though, that we develop and foster creative skills in order to properly develop our minds. If children are not encouraged to engage in activities that promote individual expression, an important part of their minds will fail to be developed. It is important for parents, extended family and educators to make a concerted effort to pull children away from the magnetism of electronics and introduce them to the joy that is found in creative expression.
Limiting Exposure to Electronics
It is easy for both adults and kids to become preoccupied with electronics and neglect other activities that promote relaxation and exercise. Limiting exposure to games, entertainment and hand-held devices is a good way to keep individuals from spending too much time disconnected from the physical world. Parents and caregivers can set rules that work well for their families such as turning off all electronics at a certain time and banning devices from the dinner table.
Taking Breaks from Technology
Scheduling trips to a local museum, the beach or to other fun places is a great way for families to rediscover the joy that is found in simple activities. Many communities sponsor festivals that have a specific theme, and some areas have day camps such as Fitness By the Sea that embrace the unique, inquisitive nature of children and engage them in educational activities. Making a commitment to schedule an outing once a month is a great way to encourage anticipation and excitement in children for an upcoming, exciting event.