For one, they aren’t playing all that much. Rough and tumble games are curbed with hectic school routines and entrapments like television and other “Gizmos” vie for shorter and shorter attention spans. As toy companies go overboard trying to devise newer and better gadgets to capture a child’s attention, harrowed parents are finding that it is a child’s emotional development which is being hampered.
Says Abhijeet Damle, an engineering student from Pune, “There are days when I go without even exchanging niceties with my parents. I might not attend college so much, but I do hang out with friends and spend time in front of the computer. In fact, if I don’t spend some time in front of my computer, I feel as if I have missed doing something vital. I simply cannot do other sedentary activities like say read a book”. There are many teenagers like Abhijeet whose share similar sentiments.
More often than not, these kids have been brought up on pacifying entrapments like games and gizmos which are made to cater for shorter attention spans. Besides, these kids do lead a full life. Whether it is piano classes, craft classes, tennis or swimming in the evening, busy parents feel that these extra curricular activities are necessary in today’s competitive world. The result might turn kids into more competitive individuals but it strikes a discordant note where empathy and emotional intelligence are concerned.
Says Suparna Telang, psychiatrist, “When kids are exposed to so much at such an early age, they need constant stimulus to hold their attention span. This can interfere with their relationships at a later date as well”.
Parents forced with such problems concede that too much of television and maybe even gory video games do create alienation. But placing an effective ban is not the key. The best way would be to effectively monitor what your kids watch and make sure they get enough play outdoors. Playing rough and tumble games in the mud was fun and that’s how it should remain!.