Media Monday – When Technology Takes Away A Childhood – Part 2 – Creativity

Why we may never know our child is a Picasso……….

Me – 4 years old

Technology is changing childhood as we know it and as parents, we need to be vigilant to ensure our children don’t miss their childhood by being too busy playing with gadgets or blobbing in front of the TV.

Last week we looked at how technology impacts children and their developing social skills. Today, this is about creativity.

This is not to say that a child who plays video games won’t be creative. They will. But we have to recognize that technology impacts creativity by limiting opportunities to be creative and to think creatively. Just because our child still draws the occasional picture doesn’t mean that technology is not having an impact. Anything that consumes that amount of our time HAS to have an impact.

We don’t know the potential of a child unless we give them unrestricted freedom to explore endless possibilities. Technology limits this exploration. It limits time with family, time outside in nature, time alone with their thoughts and time to think, plan and create. Creativity in children needs to be nurtured!

Children are being held captive by technology and missing out on the freedom to explore their own thoughts and the world around them.

Photo from android authority

Children may not miss out on every opportunity to be creative but they are missing out on opportunities due to technology. Consider the child playing her nintendo DS in the car who misses the opportunity to daydream and see pictures in the clouds or the boy who no longer enjoys drawing because he prefers video games. This is what I’m talking about. The question of how much is too much is a source of debate. How much technology negatively impacts a child? Is it too much to watch TV and play games all day and night? 4 hours a day? 2 hrs a day? 5 minutes? Or even in small amounts?

As a family we are constantly assessing and re-assessing our use of technology. I’ve seen how gadgets and TV turn my kids into boring, irritable blobs. I’ve seen them struggle to think of things to do because they’ve become too accustomed to the mind numbing stimulation of a screen. I’ve also seen what happens when screens are banned for a short time. I’ve watched them dream up the idea of creating a robot and then spend hours (yes, hours) planning, negotiating and creating their masterpiece out of cardboard boxes. I know that if a TV had been on (even in the background) this would have limited their potential to create – not forever – but that day would’ve meant a missed opportunity.

Children today spend very little time being bored. The moment they are – out come the video games, the DS, the smartphone or whatever. Kids are losing their ability to be alone with their thoughts and to develop critical thinking skills. Believe it or not, boredom is actually GOOD for kids!

“Video games are to children what gambling is to adults: a waste of energy, a waste of time and a waste of resources. They are utterly addictive and are toxic cures for boredom. Children should interact with real people, not silicon substitutes, and should be playing with a baseball and riding a bike, not holding a joystick.”  – Rabbi Shmuley

Children without gadgets – making a volcano!

But, doesn’t technology also inspire creativity?

Marketing and advertising may have us believe that ipads, Wii games or gadgets can stimulate creativity. It’s not entirely untrue but it’s not the full story either. Ipad apps and Wii games are restrictive. There are confines and boundaries. You can be creative but only within the confines of the program. A piece of paper on the other hand, is a canvas of endless possibilities that a child can explore.

Don’t fall for the half-truth that technology stimulates creativity – it takes away more than it inspires.

Why am I focusing so much on why it’s bad? Because we need the FULL story. We already know the benefits because we all own at least one piece of technology! We need some balance in the discussion and we certainly don’t need anymore exuses to justify it’s use. What we need is to question whether the benefits actually outweigh the negatives? We need both sides of the story to make this important judgement call.

So, what do you think? Agree? Disagree? Have you seen how technology impacts your child’s creativity?


Stay tuned for Part 3 – How technology impacts our families

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