“At the top of the day, the foremost overwhelming key to a child’s success is that the positive involvement of parents” In the popular press, much is made about how new digital technologies such as I-Pads and smart phones are revolutionizing family life. Children and fogeys alike now have a growing stream of latest technological resources at their fingertips, offering increased opportunities for engagement, entertainment, and education. But while anecdotes about families and media abound, empirical evidence on national trends is far harder to return by.
Now a days the topic of how digital technology, including mobile apps, hardware and related websites, can help children to raised hook up with nature and therefore the outdoors can put many nature lovers in a bind. They want our youngsters to spend longer playing, learning, and exploring in nature and that they want the experience to be truly nature-focused. Consequently, thinking of technology as an actual aid in creating a meaningful nature experience can, for many, seem counter-intuitive. This is very true when numerous see the emergence of ubiquitous electronic entertainment technology in modern children’s lives because the very reason kids are staying indoors and away from the natural world. While the explanations children are spending increased daily time indoors are many, interconnected, and sophisticated, it’s quite common to get the blame entirely at the foot of technology. But other forces are at work as well. Indeed, children’s lives today are crammed with games and videos, television programming, texting, social media, and dozens of mobile applications (apps) which will entertain and even consume them. And, as noted above, these are mostly used indoors.
Playing within the mud, making daisy chains and climbing trees are simple pleasures that have defined childhood for generations. But such youthful pursuits appear to be dying out as an increasing number of youngsters play computer games instead. Researchers say dozens of outside activities that were almost universally enjoyed a generation ago are rupture of favour. Traditional childhood activities, such as building sandcastles, are in danger of disappearing as youngsters are choosing to stay inside and play computer games rather than take part in outdoor activities. A study found two thirds of today’s screen-addicted children had never made a daisy chain and quite 40 per cent had never squelched through mud. A third had never risked the wrath of their parents by coming home soaked after staying call at the rain. Playing in woodland,
planting seeds and climbing trees were also among the pastimes that an outsized number of recent youngsters had never tried. According to the research, the typical child spends slightly below five hours every week playing outside, but half the 11 hours their parents’ generation enjoyed. Experts believe the shortage of outside activity has a big impact on children’s health, with exercise low in their priorities. The study also found that a scarcity of outside play might be affecting their education about nature, as they spend less time growing plants and spotting wildlife. David Hardy, spokesman for the group, said: ‘nowadays, children have far more to stay those amused – computers, a number of TV channels and smart phones – something older generations didn’t have. As a result, youngsters are missing out on getting dirty within the mud and puddles or just spending time within the fresh air. ‘These traditional activities are often an excellent way of encouraging children to spend longer outdoors, get more exercise and make more memories than they’re going to get from simply sitting in front of a computer or TV screen.’ Parents establish a media environment in the home. This “environment” includes what proportion time the parent spends watching media, how often the TV is left on within the home if nobody is watching, whether the kid has a TV in his or her bedroom, and the way likely the parent is to use media as a parenting tool for keeping their child busy, calming them down, and so on. Each of these individual choices—putting a TV in the bedroom, leaving the TV on in the background, and so on—is related to the amount of time the child spends with media. But the reality is that these choices usually come in clusters—that is, a family is either oriented toward screen media use, or they are not. When all of those decisions about the house media environment close, they create a family media ecology that sets the tone for the child’s own orientation toward media. The study identified three different types of parenting styles regarding media: media-centric parenting- These parents spend a great deal of time using screen media themselves. Media-centric parents clearly enjoy using media themselves, and they have created an environment in the home that is oriented toward screens, media-moderate parenting- These parents spend an average of just under five hours a day using screen media themselves, and their children average just under three hours a day, and media-light parenting- The environment in media-light homes is less oriented toward screen media. These families are less likely to enjoy watching TV or movies together tons as a family activity. Media-light parents are less likely to use TV to occupy their child when they need to get things done around the home These different approaches to media result in very different media “ecologies” for children to grow up in: different amounts of media devices in the home, different attitudes toward media as a part of family activities, different uses of media as a parenting tool, and major differences in the amount of time parents themselves spend using media. It turns out that
these different parenting styles are strongly related to the amount of time children spend using media. In other words, it may well be that instead of children driving the decision to use more media and parents trying to rein them in, parents are making choices about media that shape children’s behaviors
Hari Jyot College of Optometry