Priyanka Chaturvedi

It's all about me!!My people, my favourite things, my raving and my ranting too!

DNA Column: Missing out on real joys

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My eight-year-old son has been a gadget freak ever since I can remember. I recall when he was two and his cousin had just bought a Nintendo DS (popularly known as Gameboy) he took to it like a fish takes to water and, if not checked, could play for hours on it without disturbing anyone. Of course soon enough he started demanding his own Nintendo.

He got me to promise that he would get it for his next birthday. I was pretty sure he would forget all about it since the birthday was a good 6 months away. I soon forgot, but he remembered.When the time came I tried to get out of it. Sadly it was not to be and the Gameboy came home. Soon enough I realised he started connecting with other friends who were equally inclined to video gaming and they used to bond over games such as Power Rangers, The Hulk, Beyblade etc. And I was to realise that my son was not the only game gadget freak at that age.

This was just the beginning of his interest in video gaming. It moved on to Wii, Playstation, and then a Play Station Portable (PSP). Most of these have been gifted to him by relatives after, of course, lots of coaxing from his end. It was absolutely imperative to keep a strict check on his playing, else it could extend to hours of nonstop gaming. There are, of course, many kids who are not so involved, but there are way too many who are. It is quite a menace to be exposed to such games at a young age. We have kept him away from all kinds of violent games that exist out there, but my worry is, for how long?

On a recent outdoor road trip close to the city he kept himself busy on his PSP simply because his friend was busy playing games on his mother’s iPhone. They did not have a single conversation, and whenever they spoke, it was about the respective games they were playing. I was totally appalled and got them to shut their games, but after shutting it for some time they would both start screaming that they were getting ‘bored’. Yes this one word, ‘bored’, is probably the most abused and thrown around word of this generation. Scenery doesn’t interest them, talking to each other doesn’t, enjoying doing nothing at all also is a concept they don’t understand when they have their gaming device in hand.

Then of course there’s peer pressure to get on to social networking sites like Facebook. All his friends are on FB, but I haven’t allowed him to join yet. Every day, I am reminded of their presence on the net by my son, but I promptly ignore him. Some of his friends wanted to ‘friend’ me on Facebook, but I haven’t let them. Then there are some kids his age who are already carrying a Blackberry with them. Kid you not.

Yes, I am guilty of having given in to some of his gadget demands, but I do monitor the hours he spends on said gadgets. I keep a track of the games he is choosing to play. His demands to join social networking sites and a smart phone have obviously been rejected.

Do you remember WH Davies’ poem, Leisure? ‘No time to see, in broad daylight, Streams full of stars, like skies at night. No time to turn at Beauty’s glance, And watch her feet, how they can dance.’ I think of this poem whenever I see kids playing away on the phones, gaming consoles etc…

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Written by Priyanka Chaturvedi

March 27, 2012 at 9:25 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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