Children’s toys and play in general have changed dramatically over the last few generations. Being born in the mid 80’s I just missed the digital explosion so had a largely ‘device free’ childhood. However, my brother who is just 7 years younger than me certainly spent a lot of time on his computer and gaming.  He also spends a lot more time than I do on apps and social media.

I remember being really excited to get up early before school to play ‘solitaire’ when we got our very first computer when I was about 9.  It didn’t have the internet though – it was only for typing up assignments and we got that much later.  Showing my age perhaps – yet, I’m only in my early thirties.  The first iphone was only released in the United States 8 years ago!  The widespread availability of digital distractions, social media and phones is so new we hardly know what effect it will have on our children and their development through play. 

Granted this is a probably staged advertisement, but it raises good questions of how quickly things have changed and is worth a watch. There are plenty of good things about technology, but this advertisement emphasises how important it is to be aware and conscious of how our children are growing up and how much fresh air, problem solving, communication, imagination and creativity comes into their play. For these older people blueberry picking, gardening, fishing, hide and seek, baseball and forts are what they remember about their childhoods. 


Shannon Roberts

Shannon Roberts is co-editor of MercatorNet's blog on population issues, Demography is Destiny. While she has a background as a barrister, writing has been a life-long passion and she has contributed...