Less Technology and More Outdoors for Children

For some time, the Juvenile Judge Emilio Calatayud has been warning about the worrying consequences of “new technologies” on children and children. The summary is simpler than we think: We are replacing activities, relationships and attention to children with technologies. We prevent them from getting bored or “annoying” us (because yes, sometimes they bother) by giving them a mobile, a Tablet or a game on the Play. But … what did we do before without these “lifelines”? Well, a million things that now seem banished.

The statistics are terrifying.

Data that affects us all:

  • According to an Apple study, mobile users unlock the terminal an average of 95 times a day (not counting clock queries) that, if we remove the hours of sleep, we talk about 1 time every 12 minutes.
  • According to a study by Digitaltrend, coinciding with another of Facebook itself, users spend an average of 4 hours a day looking at the mobile. A simple calculation gives us a chilling result: We dedicate 25% of our time to mobile.
  • According to the INE, 50% of 11-year-olds have a mobile phone. 90% for 14-year-olds.

If we put all this in a shaker, everything seems more enlightening. We are adults who buy a mobile phone for children and, as much as we set limits for them, we are giving them a devastating example. Being a bit of a demagogue, while we scold them because they have no imagination to have fun without disturbing us, we will have looked at the mobile two or three times …

The problem is that when we were kids, there were not so many junk, we played lego, pilla-pilla, swordsmen with sticks, we made dikes with mud, we painted, we played football or we climbed a tree. And that was the constant. But the kids of today are growing up with all this technology at their fingertips, they have not been “forced” to look for chestnuts or imagine some mischief to get out of boredom, so these “essential” activities are now the exception.

"Traditional" activities are tremendously more beneficial than "technological" ones: motor and coordination development, spatial vision, development of creativity and imagination, organization and planning, sport, teamwork, leadership, social iteration and a long list that our common sense knows perfectly.

But there is no need for brainy university studies or juvenile judges to warn us of the worrying present and future of our boys, just look at the look of kids who play outdoors with sticks and races; or the lonely gaze of a boy who looks at the screen of a mobile phone and slides a finger nervously.

It is curious, when I have looked for a photograph for this article using the words “children playing” and “happy children”, very few, if not least, children came out playing the Tablet or any technological bug. In fact, the image that comes to mind when we think of happy and happy children, are children running in the air, in a meadow, playing with mud, with stones, with bicycles, with leaves … but not with the mobile.