Karen commented on an oil painting, wondering about the artist. I told her the painting was done by my roommate from college with whom I had lost contact. I wondered where and how my roommate, a Fulbright scholar, was. Asking her name, my niece tapped a few keys on her iPad and immediately held it up for me to see a photo of my long lost roommate. Amazing. Information at hand anytime, anywhere. When did this start? Do students in grade school have access to this technology and use it constantly, also? What do students do during their recess and lunch breaks nowadays?
Introspectively, I thought of my childhood school years spent at Jeffries Elementary School on Mackey Ferry Road (which is now a private residence). The girls played jacks and the boys, marbles. Sometimes the girls were allowed to play marbles if we had some particularly nice marbles to lose. We became adept at jumping rope, often two ropes while reciting rhymes. Hop-scotch chalked on the walks or scratched in the dirt with a stick kept us occupied during many recesses and lunch breaks. Jacks, Pick Up Sticks, or card games, such as Old Maid, were played when inclement weather kept us inside the two room school building. Do children play these social games anymore?
Image via sagewords (Paula Wiseman) of Pixabay. Click here to view her gallery.
I see so many children in restaurants and other public places with their little heads bent and their fingers rapidly moving over small technological toys…Game Boy? As with many others within my age realm who did not grow up appendaged to an electronic apparatus, a concern for the child’s possible lack of physical and social activity and interaction nags in the back of my mind.
Of course, when televisions became a part of each home, there were the same concerns. Reports and warnings were issued about the detrimental effects of TV. Mostly true, but neglected, nonetheless. The children of that early TV era, now adults, for the most part have hard-working fulfilling lives.
Few people can see into the future or predict what will occupy the next generation. I fear that an estrangement from our planet is becoming rampant. Who can see what is happening in the real world with your head down, all alone, viewing a miniature screen? I fear that children and young adults will have no understanding or respect for wildlife and natural habitats on this spaceship, Earth, upon which we live. This spaceship that provides us (thus far) with our most basic needs, oxygen, food and water. And, like a space-ship, unless we recycle and reuse, the natural world resources upon which we depend will be completely depleted as the mass of humanity exponentially explodes.
Not only does one escape the real world with technology, but our inner world is suppressed also. As Steven Spielberg stated, “Technology can be our best friend, and technology can also be the biggest party pooper of our lives. It interrupts our own story, interrupts our ability to have a thought or day-dream, to imagine something wonderful, because we’re too busy bridging the wall from the cafeteria back to the office on our cell phone.” Everyone needs to daydream, especially children.
Fears of the older generation are often unfounded, even though we tend to fall down that rabbit hole, anyway. There are exceptional families who devote time to giving their children rich experiences in wilderness settings, reading to them, giving them reign to imagine and dream and dance, yet showing their children by example what they can do to help our planet survive. Oh yes, they do allow their children to use technology, but with limitations. Perhaps they heed, unknowingly, the warning given by Albert Einstein about technology’s major flaw or danger: “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology exceeds our humanity.”