When I got my Nintendo I didn’t think it would have any impact on children’s lives. Twenty-three years later the computer age has brought some great feats, but it changed the way people entertain themselves.
According to the U.S Department of Statistics, the average American spends 2.7 hours a day watching TV. I hope that Canadians spend a little less but I doubt it.
Kids spend more of their time in front of a screen than they do riding bikes, playing ball or even hanging out in the park with a few friends.
Growing up in an isolated small town in northern Manitoba may have been my saving grace. With no cable TV – just a couple channels that we didn’t want to watch anyway – we were forced to find something else to do.
With a bunch of broken down swings and some partially rotten playground fixtures we could go on an adventure to anywhere imaginable. Girls and boys would play together; teenagers would try to get dates with others on babysitting duty; and socialization was part of everyday life — not a website you go to.
Today, my girls text their friends to chat all day; we used to pick up a phone and make arrangements to go out. They go on Facebook to tell everyone what they are doing; we would do something and not care if everyone knew.
With so many facilities at our fingertips I find it disappointing to drive down the street and see the empty parks and soccer fields without children running around. Even house decks seem to be empty.
The challenge today is getting everyone out.
Survivor, The Voice, X-Factor — it is easy to watch one of these “must see TV shows” after a long workday. And parents put their kids in front of the TV to make sure they are entertained. Our oldest wore out three VHS tapes because she liked a particular movie so much.
But getting out is a great way to let go of the day’s problems and just wind down.
We like to go sit on the side of the Hidden Lakes for a bit and listen to the calls of the loons – that is really more relaxing than watching Survivor. We’ll also wander down to Miles Canyon and listen to the water race past.
We should all take advantage of this great place because some day when you turn off the TV, you may realize it is all gone.