My daughter is a swimmer and we were at a meet this weekend with hundreds of children from the ages of 5-17. My daughter, like most swimmers, had time in between her events, so she asked what she should do. I started to think about it, and decided to observe the other children. Instead of talking, hanging out, and/or interacting, most of these kids were playing their handheld electronic devices.
I know that I had blogged over the summer how I was disappointed that during summer events there wasn’t an opportunity for me to meet other parents at pick up and drop off, because they were all on cell phones, texting, etc.
The same is happening with children. Instead of getting to know one another, talking, interacting, socializing, they are on electronic devices. They were watching movies, texting, listening to IPods, playing video games, etc. I am wondering what we are doing to our children. I have fond memories of hanging out at sporting events making up games, talking, finding out about other kids, and who I was in the social interactions around me. I finally told my daughter to come up in the stands and sit with me in between events since she was the only one without a device. I was noticing that the younger ones had handheld video game devices, where the older ones would listen to music on their IPods, and text at the same time, while sitting in a circle as if they were really spending time with one another. It was very strange.
You could tell that these kids were friends, but they weren’t able to truly interact without the crutch of a cell phone or headphones. I am just wondering what is in store for this young generation that they can’t go up to a group of peers and start a conversation without the averted eye contact while texting, or without one headphone in their ear listening to music? I just wonder if we are crippling them socially?