Ask most Westerner children want they want for Christmas or birthdays and they will want a new Ipad or phone. They want new shoes that must have a name. They want to keep up with the guys at school in tech games and those in their social circles. The technology is amazing, but the attitude of many western kids to assume they can have a new updated technological item every few months is so wrong.
I sat on a beach in the Philippines recently and watched a group of local boys in tatty shorts playing together. They ran in and out of the sea and across the sane shouting and laughing. They made patterns in the sand and they threw each other on the floor with fun. All this of course reminded me of my childhood, although I rarely ran around in only shorts.
This is of course what all kids did. But now? The new generation of kids are not playing as we did, they spend most of their time staring at a screen playing a non human machine, or are linked to another human somewhere else in the world who they may never talk to. They just play games.
As I thought about this the Filipino boys on the beach were jumping off and on fishing boats and having a wonderful time. Yet, if they had an Ipad would they stop playing and choose to be hooked into the web and become the same as other western kids?
After the Pinoy boys left the sea they relaxed on the sand. They may have been kids without money as they had no Coke or anything valuable on them,that is apart from smiles that would lighten up anybody’s world. They were really interacting with each other in real time. They could actually touch each other and interact physically. I wonder if they even know what Skype is?
After a few minutes the boys all picked up some sticks and produced an old bicycle tyre and with great skill and speed they managed to move this tyre across the beach without it stopping or falling over. How they managed to get it to travel so fast through the sand was beyond my comprehension. They played with the tyre and sticks for maybe 30 minutes. But more importantly, they were playing together.
On a recent trip home I was in a room with kids the same age who stared at screens and did not even know I existed or paid any attention to anyone in the room. How I wish they had a stick and a tyre!