By Fatma AlKhaja (@fay_alkhaja)
This month, I decided to step out of the office and discuss a topic that has been on my mind for quite some time now.
I was born in the 80’s, and I must say I had FUN as a child. Everything we did was family oriented. We had weekly outdoor outings with the family. The family included cousins, second cousins, grandparents, uncles, etc. We also visited family friends weekly and that was always spent by us kids being outdoors either cycling in the garden, pretending to have an adventure, make up fantasy stories, have imaginary friends, be different people, etc. At the end of the day, we sit down and have a nice home cooked meal.
Today, our kids do not know who are their cousins or extended families. Their friends practically live in ‘facebook’, ‘twitter’, and other social network platforms. I do not deem these networks, but I still believe that everything should have its proper place. It is unfortunate that a family outing today is a room full of people, with each individual having their heads down and looking at their phones.
Where did all the activities go? I rarely see kids outdoors and by outdoors I mean in the ‘fresh air’. If you do see them outdoors, they are always accompanied by a huge scowl on their faces, ready to have a tantrum any moment because they are missing out on their precious ‘game’, or ‘social’ time.
I was home one day and my youngest sister had our cousins over. They were all between 5 and 10 years old. As I passed by them, I glanced at them and noticed that there was an eerie type of quietness in that room. One was on a Gameboy, the other on the PlayStation, and the youngest was flipping through stuff. An older person stood next to me and while shaking his head said, ‘kids, nowadays… they do not know how to have fun.’
Has the world become so technological that we have minimized kids’ ability to creatively think and fantasize on their own without resorting to the Internet? Or are we now living in a world where a parent can rely on how his//her child grows up or behaves without their involvement? The world has become demanding and more expensive. Today, both parents work full-time. They come back home and rarely have the time and energy to spend with their children and if they do take them out its done by taking them to a mall, dropping them in a play area while they drink coffee, and be by themselves.
A kid wants to spend time with their parents after they return home and what they do is hand them a console or turn on the TV and tell them to watch it until they are free to spend some time with them.
A parent is not that actively involved anymore nor is a school in this picture. School trips today are going to malls, eating out at a fast food place, and again malls. Their visits are not educational anymore where they take them to a zoo, aquarium, safari, museum, etc. Again, the teachers are dropping them off at the play area while they sit amongst themselves drinking coffee.
Are parents not bothered because they believe that kids are already learning everything on the Internet? Or are they so bombarded with work and a hectic life that they do not have the time or energy to be more involved.
I do not see kids run anymore. I do not see them cycle in the neighborhood anymore. When you step into a toy store, you will find all the kids crowding the gaming area rather than the actual ‘toys’ section. Boys do not go for the cars, dinosaurs, and soldiers they can play with and girls do not carry a Barbie or BratZ doll anymore.
We have got 10 year old girls more concerned about their appearance and who they like. A room filled with posters of latest movie stars and musicians. Whatever happened to our innocent children?
In 2009, I visited ‘The Physics Museum’ in Japan. The museum was filled with adults, but the astonishing part was that it also had the same amount of kids. I was absolutely amazed that every physical concept they explained had a miniature version of it as a toy for kids to understand, learn, and have fun.
They simply were not just having fun, but they were also learning. Now, my question is: what are we doing wrong?
Sail eMagazine’s 20th Issue – November 2011
Here we start – Art of Living 101 – Beyond Inspiration
Blunders of a Wannabe Entrepreneur – Just Another Undergrad – Society of Tomorrow
Too Blunt for Words – To The Point – Words, Observations, and Ramblings
Fatma (Fay), Emirati girl, with an experience in Corporate Communications and CSR. She is passionate about anything that is traditional and Emirati. In her free time she loves to watch Japanese anime, read manga, and play videogames. Spas are not the only thing that relaxes her, but cooking as well.
Fay’s columns observe work-life experiences and balance. A lot of her articles are based on first-hand personal experiences and issues she has seen or been part of. She loves to observe her surroundings, and watch how people handle different situations they’ve been put in.Also, she is trying to balance the art of staying positive at work and helping her peers understand that not everything should be a problem. With her writings she hopes to make a difference and make people more observant of the little problems in life, or work that hasn’t escalated to a catastrophe. It’s the little things that matters.