I work part time as a waitress in a busy steak house, and it amazes me each and every time I see a child between the ages of 5 and 15 sitting at the table with their parents, completely entranced in their portable gaming system (whether it is a nintendo, an iPad, or a game on their parent’s cell phone– or their cell phone, in most cases. I remember when the average age for getting a cellular device was 12. Now it’s 7– But that’s for another blog.) The child walks into the restaurant without looking up from their game; sits at the table while their parents order their meal without looking up, play in between bites, and leave the restaurant with a glowing electronic device stuck to their face. Besides the questionable effect of an electronic device sitting inches from a childs face at all times, there are a number of problems with this restaurant-gaming scenario:
-The child is never forced to interact with me (the waitress) to order food. AKA, they aren’t pushed outside of their comfort zones socially
-The child is NEVER bored. They are not forced to sit through a slightly boring family meal, and bond with parents/sibilings. They are experiencing constant stimulation of their choosing at all times. How is a kid who grows up playing video games through dinner going to sit through class and focus solely on the professor?
-Any human who is not familiar with tolerating boredom or discomfort is going to have a hard time functioning on a day-to-day basis in the real world.
If this is the status quo behavior for most kids these days, what is the future of this world looking like? What are electronics doing to youth– rather, what are we allowing youth to get/not get from electronics? With ever expanding technology in our rapidly evolving world, one can only imagine what resources will be available to these kids when they are our age. How will an upbringing of gaming consuls versus tag in the backyard affect future generations, and where do we as adults draw the line?