Anger at the 21st Century: Gadgets, The New Toy For Children

5 Dec

So this weekend my boyfriend and I were doing our Christmas shopping. When we went to a toy store to look for a dvd for when his two year old niece came over, a conversation came up on the subject of toys and how kids of now are hardly interested in simple things and more into technology.

For a 21-year-old who does not have any children but is wanting to in the future, I am appalled to see kids so young and already using gadgets. What made my blood boil even more was when I mentioned to my boyfriend of remembering reading an article in a newspaper a few weeks back detailing how a four-year-old has racked up a bill of £100 on a iPad application.

Now, this kid being four, it mentions of the boy not being able to read or write yet. Since it did not mention that the child has not started learning these skills, as soon as I read it, the first thing that came to mind was how a kid at that age does not know the basics of important life skills, but knows how to use a gadget worth hundreds of pounds. I’m sure at that age almost every child has begun learning to construct and understand simple sentences. I certainly did when I was four.

To be honest, I can not comprehend why a parent would give their child something so expensive to play around with. Whether it is used as a babysitting tool or they just let them play on it, it is wrong to let a child handle a technological item at a young age. This is the time for when they should be learning important things: going to libraries with their parents and loaning out books; go to the park; do something creative, not sit around on the sofa playing on a block.

As well as this, I find it sad to see how toy companies have taken technology that should be used only in adult gadgets, and placed them in children’s toys. I saw a tv advert a few days ago showing a touchscreen ‘child version’ of an iPad. It was shocking. I just thought that kids’ minds do not need to be warped into technology. And when I was in the toy store, I saw a mother pointing out a Nintendo Wii to her (which looked like) 2-3 year old.

However, I do understand that companies have to find a new way to attract their audience, but there should be a limit to what is featured for a toy — Right?

Anyways, as a fan of some form of technology (video games), I plan to refuse my future children to play any until they’re at least 10-12 (which was when I was first introduced to them), even if it is suitable for a much younger audience.

When you switch on a games console (e.g. a 3DS), it mentions of the Health & Safety which should be read. On there, it mentions that the console is solely used for children of 6 years and up, but if they are of younger age, disable the 3D feature, otherwise supervise them if the feature is left on. Now, I’ve seen young kids out and about with their DS at restaurants, shops and aquariums (why be on a DS when there are exotic fish to look at?), and their parents are not checking how long their kids are on these consoles, as children need to take a 10-15 minute break from every half hour played so it rests their eyes and joints. But if parents are happy enough to spend almost £200+ on a console and games for their child, then fair enough. But keep an eye on the child’s well-being.

Now, before anyone jumps to conclusions, I’m not fully against all technology that is aimed for kids. Besides the toys that are designed using video games as an educational format, the only ones I approve of is ones that interact and helps your child to learn, e.g. press a button on an alphabet toy and it says an object in the name of that letter — had that as a kid.

There’s more I could say from what I saw on that day and plenty of other topics, especially since I got a few stares from mothers at the store, but this is too long and confusing as it is. So I’m leaving it now. If any parents have read this, I do apologise for anything offensive to you, but this is something I have felt strongly about for a long time and needs to be addressed. End of my rant now.

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