Screens are everywhere these days, and children are no exception. Many homes have multiple TVs, computers, and even tablets. While some children don’t have access to these devices until later in life, it is common for older children and teens to spend more than 11 hours a day using media. The amount of time spent using screens is an ongoing debate, and it’s not always clear what the appropriate balance is.
Some worry that digital games are replacing traditional playtime. Video game technology is a growing part of our lives, and experts worry about the impact it will have on children’s development. In a recent BabyCenter survey of more than 3,000 moms, a pediatrician at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital coined the phrase “gamified childhood” to describe the impact of this technology.
While it’s true that the tools used to play have changed, the underlying principles of play remain the same. While toddlers are now able to swipe a tablet, their interests don’t. And while the tools used to play have changed, children are still the same curious beings they were a decade ago. Children’s play patterns aren’t changing, but the context and opportunities around them are. PlayCollective is a research organization devoted to kids’ play and technology. One example of a game for parents is Toywheel.
Play has always been a universal activity, and children in ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt played many of the same games we do today. Children learn valuable skills, overcome fears, and further their development through play. And playing provides a temporary respite from the pressures of daily life. And if you’re worried about technology’s negative effects, consider introducing some play time into your child’s life.
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