Well, I really don’t like to take sides but nor do I like to sit on the fence.
So, let us we look at this very contemporary matter which looks us straight in the face.
A question that comes to mind is, are we turning our children into mechanised robots who interact with the interface on the screen and jump, move, hop with the press of a button without moving an inch. How involved are they in the virtual world that they forget how to connect in the real world?
Cycling, running, riding, playing ball, throwing a frisbee, skating, skateboarding, jogging, football, cricket, hockey, football the list of outdoor games is endless.
So is the Playstation, Xbox, Wii, a never ending list of online games on the ipad, tablet, phone, laptop.
A Real world versus A Virtual world.
To whom do you connect, wifi or people?
Is it better to connect on fb, watsapp, or any social media communicating with emoticons and typing acronyms of feelings Rotl yolo or Is it better to run in the park with friends, play ball or kick a real football, share some thoughts and real laughs?
The energy of these two activities differs greatly. One image of being in a room with a strong wifi connection and having a feeling of being connected and one of space, a playground and laughter and actually connecting with people.
Bonding with family and friends outdoors versus playing with a virtual screen
Spending time in front of a screen and playing on the playstation or xbox is an activity that isolates you where each one is engaged with the game on the screen and the control in his hand whereas going outdoors to play with family and friends and it is a great way to bond. There are many outdoor games which you can play with friends and family. One can even do small treks and some camping trips which will all go down as wonderful memories. The added advantage of being in touch with nature and doing things together strengthens bonds.
In touch with emotions versus being mechanical
When one is playing an online game one‘s movements are almost robotic and mechanical whereas when you are involved playing a game with friends you experience more emotions. As social beings there is a need to reach out and communicate with people. So outdoor games is closer to being human and in rhythm with oneself. In today’s times when people are more connected to gadgets, it is very important to interact with our family and close friends.
Health benefits of being outdoors versus the new unknown aches of computers
Playing games online can be addictive and playing online or on the computer with your eyes affixed on the screen can be strenuous on the eyes, a few taut muscles in the neck too and last but not the least sore finger tips got by typing away profusely and continuously on the keyboard or mobile phone. This over indulgence in computer based activities is leading to an emergence of new diseases caused by muscles going stiff. So on should be aware that the harmless looking gadgets in our children’s hands can prove to be health hazards which can easily be avoided. So monitoring the time for online games is necessary and diverting the children outdoors can serve as a remedy.
Promotes physical and mental health
Playing outdoors makes a child more active and agile. In the long run he will be more physically fit and healthy. He will not put on excess weight. Running and playing in the playground is a great stress buster too and being in the open in the park has many health benefits such as inhaling fresh air. They need to play with other kids too so there it is beneficial that they connect with other children too. Loneliness which is a bane today, will be held at bay if children learn to engage with each other at an early age.
Makes children better learners
Outdoor play promotes learning at many levels. When children play outdoor games they are in touch with nature, they interact with each other, they have fun, it is wonderful to be around them too and they make friends. Outdoor play triggers the imagination and these children are active learners. They have a better motor co-ordination and they can concentrate better too. As a result you have happier kids who are alert and have many friends. Kids also learn to take initiative and direct the games they play, thus taking their own decisions rather than being directed by a computer.
Outdoor games make you a team player
Social skills of a child can be honed if he is with people or his peers and not by sitting alone in a room play computer games. Many games require a team and being a part of it children learn to co-operate and play with each other. It also builds sportsmanship.
Where, computer games can fill in a lonely slot, can be stress busters too we still live in a real world with real people and real feelings and emotions. It is good to be tech savvy and use technology to our benefit but if computer games over rule us, and refrain our children from interacting with each other and make them mechanical beings, it is upto us as responsible adults to send them outdoor to play and learn.