Climb Trees Not Virtual Hierarchies

This image does not belong to me.

Technology is ruining our lives.

Some of my most favourite stories are those told by my parents and grandparents about their childhoods spent playing hours and hours of football outside and swimming in rivers and canals. I am extremely thankful that I myself have memories like those from my younger years, having spent summers on the farm riding horses and picking the hens’ eggs, from the age of just 2! Nothing compares to the feeling of spending 10 hours of your day outside in the fresh air, whatever the weather. It allowed me to grow up healthy and happy, building muscle from the work on the farm and the good hearty meals that my grandmother provided for us each night.

This is not what my younger brother and sister have experienced. The generation after us, the actual millennials, have grown up during the age of technology. A competition of who can get the most Instagram followers and creating musical.y’s will fill the memories of my sister, and for most boys (and girls too), getting home to play Fortnite is what they look forward to each day. On one hand, I have personally seen the fun and enjoyment that these activities provide to young children, but this should ONLY be in moderation.

Playing video games every night rather than spending time face-to-face with family or friends is damaging in many ways. It can cause a sense of derealisation for the child, as he/she is more connected to the virtual world and therefore doesn’t know how (or who) to be in the real world. Social skills have declined in children over the past 10 years because they feel more comfortable typing their words out (ironic, I know) than actually speaking them. Going to school all day and then coming home to coop up in your room playing games all night, doesn’t leave much room for family bonds to be formed. Love, nurture and varied types of play are essential for the development of children, and most are missing out on this nowadays.

Social media can be amazing, building connections and spreading information across the world. News can often be found (in detail) on Twitter before hearing it on the TV or Radio. But it can also be extremely damaging. My sister and her classmates follow people such as Kim Kardashian on Instagram, causing them to wrongly believe that that’s what they need to grow to look like. Moreover, their worth is based on how many likes they receive. The correlation between increased time spent on social media and increased cases of eating disorders in girls as young as 5 y/o disgusts me. And again, the time spent with their head’s in virtual world takes away from their real lives and prevents close bonds and memories being formed.

Personally, once I become a parent I intend to limit my children’s time spent on technology and instead encourage them to play board games as a family, or play out with their friends as I remember doing. I’m not saying everyone should completely stop playing games or posting photos, but I believe that ensuring there is time spent doing other things is essential. I am also limiting my own time spent on my phone recently, getting out of the habit of scrolling through Instagram. This has genuinely improved my mood. I feel a sense of freedom because I now have more time available in my day to pick up new hobbies such as learning to speak Spanish and play piano. Technology and social media will never go away, but I think we could all do with cutting down on their usage.

I’ll say it again- climb trees, not virtual hierarchies.

Sending hugs, Kiayah xxx

Below is an article from BPS Research Digest which supports my opinions

Psychologists have looked into why “phubbing” is so harmful to our social lives

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