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Switching Off

Posted by School Run Mum on 20/10/2011. Tags: School Run Mum Parenting

text re imageI saw something on Twitter recently which provoked a bit of a reaction in me. ‘Can anyone recommend a DS Lite game suitable for a 4 yr old?’ the person tweeted. I resisted the temptation to reply with something along the lines of, ‘There are none. DS Lite games are NOT suitable for 4 year olds. Try a jigsaw or a colouring book or a skipping rope perhaps.’ Instead, I made a cup of tea and wrote this blog post!

I’ve written/ranted before about the increasing reliance on technology to entertain our kids. OK, some educational apps may be handy to have on the iPhone for those endless airport delays when you’ve run out of things to I-Spy, the emergency jellies have all been eaten and the colouring book is done, but I still resist when it comes to buying gadgets for young children. And when I say young children, I mean under the age of eight or nine.

My kids both go to football coaching on a Friday afternoon and it disappoints me no end to see gangs of kids, huddled around their DS machines while they are waiting for their lesson to start.  There’s no interaction as such between them and I’m sure they can’t be learning any useful life skills – can they? I really, really think it is sad that we as parents, and therefore our children, no longer seem content to sit and chat, play simple guessing games, kick a ball, play catch, read a book while waiting somewhere – anywhere. It seems that ‘free’ time now has to be filled with a gadget. The parent switches off and the child switches on.

Thankfully, electronic games are not permitted at our school and I am extremely grateful for that as it means that my kid’s interaction with DS games and similar, is limited.

What do you think? Is DS suitable for a 4 year old? Are electronic games permitted at your child's school and what impact does this have? Do you rely too much on electronic entertainment – or does this not worry you at all?


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