Very interesting article over at The Guardian.
"Her (Dr Livingstone's ) advice for parents is two-fold. First, get online with your
children when they're little, to help them figure out how to manage
their internet use. "And second," she says, "less shouting at the kid to
get off the computer and more, 'Let's go to the park.' We're a busy
bunch of parents and it's easy to put them in front of a game while we
get on with stuff we need to do. All kids say computer use is a time
filler – a way of avoiding boredom."
Boredom. My childhood was
filled with it. Hours spent watching raindrops crawling down the window.
Days doodling alternative worlds, or inventing radio shows on
play-and-record tape machines. Today's kids have far more
tedium-killers, from all-day cartoons to a never-ending parade of
squeaking, beeping, speaking electronic toys. Plus, they expect us to
help them with their entertainment. I don't remember getting
instructions from adults about how to do stuff, other than how to ride a
bike. And even that was just a sharp push in the back as you careered
downhill towards a ditch. Generally, we were left alone to get on with
whatever we were doing.
These days, not only are we encouraged to
show our love for our kids but increasing awareness of children's rights
means we also have to take more care of them. The law insists. You
can't drive without them being safely strapped in. You can't leave them
alone while you nip to the shops. No way would you chuck an
eight-year-old out of the house at 9am on a Saturday and tell him not to
come back before tea.
Perhaps it's no surprise that we
occasionally shove them in front of computer games. Yes, it's to give us
a break from them. But it's also to give them a break from us."