Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Kids and Their Electronics

When I was a kid, the only electronic "toy" we had in the house was a black and white television. I suppose my first electronic toy was a transistor radio that my aunt bought for me for a birthday back in the 1950's.

When my own children were young, video games where just getting started and very few families had them. To be fair, we did have an original Pong and then an Atari 2600 system, but they were strictly for the use of my wife and myself, not the children. They were too busy with a number of bands and playing sports - not to mention spending time with their friends. When he was in college, my son did buy himself a used game system, but he never became addicted to it, and it too soon was gathering dust.

However, today video games are not confined to the television, and you can play them wherever you are thanks to smart phones, and tablets. I have to admit that even my wife and myself take time to play our games on our smart phones when things get a little slow or we are waiting for something, such as in a doctor's waiting room.

But as fun as it is for us, recently we have noticed the many very young children who are routinely playing games on electronic devices, and my grandsons are no exception. For a long time now, they have loved to see pictures or videos on my wife and my phones, but now they are also very adept at playing games on them as well. We have put a number of learning games for children of their age (2 1/2) on our phones and our tablets, and they enjoy playing with them. However, they also like playing some of the games that my wife and I have for our own entertainment ... my apologies to any of my friends who have received a short Words with Friends word that come from one of the boys.

I have learned, however, that when I give them either the phone or the tablet, that it is in my best interest to turn the wi-fi and 3G off since the boys have been known to order a $400 camera (shipped overnight and had to be returned) and a lunchbox (caught before shipping) from my daughter-in-law's tablet, and ordered a new game from my wife's.

Yet, as much as they insist on the electronics, we try to limit the time spent on them or they will want to play with them for hours on end. The television was the electronic babysitter of my youth, but smart phones and tablets seem to be filling that role for today's youngsters. My grandsons are as happy reading or being read to as using the electronic games. They also enjoy playing with physical objects as well. Now with summer right around the corner, it's also possible to get out to the playground, take a walk on the beach, go to the zoo and all of those activities which are so important and that grandparents (and parents of course) love to do with them. These are the traditional activities which they love doing as much as my kids did or we did as kids.

1 comment:

  1. I can't stop my kids from doing the same thing. Electronics have conquered their lives.