The childhood of our past

How old are your children?

What do they do in their spare time?

Our girls are five years old and I’m pleased to say the majority of their time is spent playing games and being creative.

I’ve often read that modern parents are too focused on keeping their children busy and worrying about them getting bored, so much so that we don’t allow time to get bored.

Of course boredom can be a great thing as it means children can invent new games and come up with their own ways of entertaining themselves. All of this being great for their development.

I have to be honest, I do think up ways of keeping my girls entertained and I do play with them a lot or sit with them and draw, but I do also allow them to get bored. For example, when I’m making their lunch or dinner, when I’m in the shower and getting myself dressed etc, and quite often in the early evening as I’m usually pretty tired by then too, but this has all got me thinking.

With more and more parents resorting to gadgets such as phones, games consoles and tablets, are children still being given the opportunity to ‘get bored’?

I rarely give my girls my phone or the iPad. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I did. They have a karaoke machine, so I will plug my phone into that for them as I’ve downloaded some Disney songs that they like to sing a long too, but I really don’t like the idea of them staring at a screen watching videos or playing games, especially when they could be doing something more productive.

Now, I’m not saying that all videos and games are bad. In fact you can get some really good educational ones, but I just think as their young age there are much better ways for them to learn.

My childhood was spent mainly outdoors. When I was young, I’d be in the garden with my sister right up until bed time, then as I grew older I’d be outdoors with my friends.

I had a mobile phone, but I didn’t use it for anything other than ringing my friends or parents for a lift home! I had a Facebook page, but again it was something I rarely used.

I do worry about my children’s future. This grip that social media and the internet has on young people nowadays is scary. It’s opened up a whole new world of vulnerability for our children. They can talk to anyone in the world and that’s scary. It’s so important for us to teach our children to use social networks and the internet responsibly, as well as teaching them about proper conduct and not to share personal information.

A big worry for me is cyber bullying. I was bullied in the school playground, but now that children can do this and also bully others online so easily is really worrying. I want to allow my children privacy, but at the same time I want to protect them. Does that mean keeping an eye on their social networks and any messages they exchange?

In some ways the internet and social media is great, but in other ways, it’s terrifying. What do you think?

42 thoughts on “The childhood of our past

  1. I love this post. I majored in Early Childhood Education (birth to 8 years old) in college and technology can be a blessing but it is best to postpone it until your child is in school. There are so many ways that children learn more effectively than by technology and they’ll experience enough of it once they enter their school years. #ThatFridayLinky

  2. 100% agree with you on the value of boredom. Kids need time to let their imaginations develop and for some, they just don’t get the opportunity.

  3. I think you have to make home a safe space to talk about anything and have a good relationship where they feel safe to talk about anything, so that if anything arises, which it will, you are easy to access and can help them resolve it. There are now so many scenarios and some that as parents we don’t even know are going on because the world is moving so fast. So part of working on their development will mean they have the tools and are ready but they I hope they can always talk to me. #ThatLinkyFriday

  4. I think the internet and social media has its place, but I don’t think that place is for children and young teenagers. I’ve seen some bad stuff go on with my 12 year old niece all down to social media. To be honest I don’t think facebook, twitter, instagram is at all suitable for children under 16. When of it it/internet is used it should be supervised and time limited. Its sad seeing a generation of youngsters glued to a screen 🙁

  5. I try to keep gadgets away from my 6&7 as much as I can and I also let them be bored so they can come up with ways to entertain themselves… sometimes it works 🙂 #ThatFridayLinky

  6. I think as much as we need to embrace the new technology that our kids will grow up with, we also need to show that life without them is not only possible but also an important part of childhood. So much of childhood is wrapped up in imaginative play, and it’s sad to see this decreasing with the increase of screens. I try as much as possible to ensure a balance but it’s difficult!

  7. I worry about my children being bored, but I also let them be bored. I think the worry for me comes from seeing everyone else making sure their children are (seemingly) never bored, always with an activity. I have to admit I’m not very good at coming up with activities for my kids, it sometimes makes me feel a bit inadequate, but I am happy for them to get bored sometimes!

    Social media really is going to be terrifying for us when our children get older, as they’re adopted and our identity and location are kept confidential from their birth family (for safety reasons). While they know some basic info about us (first names), and we write letters to them, they do not know where we are. So, on top of the usual scary social media stuff we also have that to contend with.

    Thanks for sharing #thatfridaylinky

  8. I think it’s crucial to keep unsupervised children away from technology and limit their time with technology with supervision. Whilst there are lots of great teaching apps etc available – the best teachers are real people – especially their parents.

  9. My two oldest children have spent a lot of time getting bored since my baby boy has come along. Sometimes it works beautifully and they play for hours and other times I give them the iPad to stop the endless arguments. I think it’s easier to be bored outside than inside so this lovely weather should provide lots of opportunity for pretend play. And believe me my daughter says “pretend…..” Before every instruction she gives to my son lol. #ThatFridayLinky

  10. I think it’s terrifying what they are potentially exposed to. When my girls watch TV or YouTube, I closely monitor what they are watching. The thought of them being ‘let lose’ on the internet is very scary.

  11. Oo a karaoke machine is a brave parenting choice! haha Like you I worry about the influence of social media/interest on our little ones. My daughter watches no more than 20 minutes of Peter Rabbit a day – it’s too easy to let her watch it all the time. #ThisFridayLinky

  12. my childhood was spent playing outside rain or shine until the street lights came on. the 80s were great. now a days i dont know if i would like my children (if i had any) to play outside wandering around like i did cause its become a world of crime outside

  13. I have to agree! Our little boy does play on phones etc every now and again but it is a treat. He has started asking for it more often and that’s when I put the brakes on and get him to understand it is a treat. On the other hand however, he would much prefer to be outside and so only asks when it is raining and he is ‘bored’ like he knows what that means at three!
    As he gets older I do worry about social media and that will take some guidance, bullying worries us so much especially now it has taken a social media vibe and there is no getting away from it. #ThatFridayLinky

  14. I love your ideas – they are preserving childhood. It’s so great that we all have unlimited access to information, entertainment, and other people and cultures. At the same time, nurturing imagination, creativity, and real life social skills is important!
    I know that cyber bullying is a problem…but kids will always find a way to be mean when they want to be. I think the key is balance between preparing our children for a digital world and teaching them how to be aware of the reality around them.
    Thanks for sharing.

  15. I’m much like you – I never give my four year old my phone or tablet as I hate to see his face glued to a screen (he uses his dad’s Ipad and I’ve had to speak out about that, and I’m glad to say he used it yesterday for the first time in weeks, as opposed to being on it every evening). My teenage son is obsessed with his Xbox and laptop, and we have always been careful to limit his time on them. He’s more into games than social media, which I’m glad of. He has had some bullying at high school and I think it would have been even worse if he’d been active on social media. I was badly bullied as school, so I know how awful that was…to think of a kid experiencing that and then coming home only to find the bullies were there in their house thanks to social media just breaks my heart. We encourage friendships to be made and built on real contact, so I doubt he’ll get into social media until he’s older.

    Outdoor and self-created play is so important, good for you for encouraging boredom and getting outside in your girls.


  16. Yes I know what you are saying without a doubt. I really try and restrict time on the tablet, although saying that Alfie is really good an entertaining himself and always has been. Thanks for hosting #ThatFridayLinky

  17. I’m ashamed to admit that I allow my kids to use phone/tablet way too much. Mostly it’s to stop the whinging! I’m hoping that now Summer is on it’s way, that we can spend more time in the garden though. And as they get older, I’m hoping we can spend more time exploring our local area. My childhood was spent outdoors… climbing trees, exploring the old slate mines, outrunning the steam train….#ThatFridayLinky

  18. It terrifies me too. I’ve worked in education when IT lessons were focused on internet safety, and it amazes me how vulnerable children are. All social media platforms have flaws but as a parent, I can only hope to teach my child how to be safe. Privacy is something that we dont get to have anymore thanks to Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and so forth. Its just not possible to be truly “safe”. Frightening really how much of our lives are online! #ThatFridayLinky

  19. I’m keeping my kids from social media as looooooong as possible. I know Mrs Adams and I have to do more to let the kids get bored. I fear we have recently become a bit too reliant on screens and it’s a habbit I am aware of and one that will be broken.

  20. We are trying to find a happy medium between giving our boys time to explore tablets & phones and have an appropriate level of games on there. But as John Adams said it has become s bit of a habit so need to break that cycle. Now that it is becoming a bit nicer outside we should be able to do just that. #thatfridaylinky

  21. Great post. I completely agree, I do worry about the amount of screen and technology time. My husband is in IT and a complete gadget geek which doesn’t help! #ThatFridayLinky

  22. I worry a lot about how import social media will be in Rory’s life. Already now he’ll grab for your phone. I suspect it’s because he knows it’s not something he’s meant to have. The other day my other half came home with an old phone his Aunt had given him for Rory. Safe to say it went straight in a drawer. While I understand why she gave it him I want to try and keep him away from gadgets for as long as possible. While he still wants to read stories and build bricks why would I want to introduce him to technology #thatfridaylinky

  23. I think the value of boredom is underrated. Boredom can promote creativity. As a child my mates and I would sit around wondering what to do, but would always find some great ideas and pastimes. We created our own fun.
    Great post.

  24. My girls are now 14 years old and 11 years old, so I’m afraid to say that technology and Social Media (at least for my eldest) is a big thing. I just have regular talks with them about keeping themselves safe online. Ah the joys of parenting teens #ThatFridayLinky x

  25. Personally, I allow my children to play with tablets, but I can appreciate why people don’t.
    Ive vetted all the games myself to check for suitability and the vast majority are educational. Also, we only have youtube kids which I censored.
    We do, however have a good balance where the great outdoors is concerned, we go out 5 days a week in all weathers! So this makes me think a bit of tablet time to save my sanity is justified !! haha!
    Where social media is concerned, I think we have to actively monitor our kids, check their security settings and educate them to only speak with actual friends they know from school.
    great post, great subject! #thatfridaylinky

  26. It’s tricky, isn’t it? When I was growing up there was no such thing as iPads or iPhones. We had to entertain ourselves because there was no other option. Little Man tends to have the iPad when he is tired at the end of a long day and I don’t begrudge him that, we all like to chill out every now and again. I think as long as it’s not too much and it doesn’t become obsessive then it’s okay in moderation. As for social media – this does concern me for the future. The Eastenders bullying storyline really bothered me. #ThatFridayLinky

  27. Hi, as a child I loved playing outdoors and using my imagination with friends. Perhaps it’s a balancing act with technology. Like you I played outside until it was time for bed and loved it #thatfridaylinky

  28. I completely agree with all of this. I think my childhood was so wonderful and I want the same for my children. I try to get them outdoors as much as possible, we do many of the same activities and days out that I did at their age, but then they also want to play on their ipads and computer games, and I think it’s just about finding the balance #thatfridaylinky

  29. I think with the increased internet and technology usage in every day life, it has become a massive worry for all parents. I for one will embrace the new ways as long as there is a give and take with some good old fashioned outdoors activities! I loved pokemon go last summer as it was a real excuse for my nieces and nephews to get outside and roam around whilst still feeling like it was all about the game on the phone!

  30. Its a hard balance to find. I’ve tried to introduce my 5 year old to working on her tablet and the basics of social media, but I’m lucky that she would much rather be outside playing. I’m assuming it will be more of an issue as she gets older #thatfridaylinky

  31. Our children are growing up in a completely different world to the one we grew up in – the internet didn’t even exist when I was a child, so we’re not at all prepared for educating our kids about safe use of social media. It’s a worry for the future. My daughter is only three but spends more time than I would like on her grandmother’s tablet. She can be great at entertaining herself though and can always find things to play with. I remember spending a lot of time being bored as a child but we made up our own games. Imaginative play is so important! #ThatFridayLinky

  32. It is scary that children are often no longer bored. When I was a child, there was some land almost opposite my house which was extremely overgrown and fenced off. It was later bought and turned into a small housing estate. However, whenever I was bored, I’d sit in the armchair and look across the road, making up stories about it. A lot of them were similar to Enid Blyton’s stories about The Faraway Tree! #ThatFridayLinky

  33. It’s a weird thing this internet and social media world. We all have the attention span of a gnat and the more connected we are, the further away we become from each other. It is like some strange thing that would happen only on “Lost’ or something. It can be a lonely, unhappy place doing all that curating. Great post! #ThatFridayLinky

  34. Outdoor play is so important and I actively ensure the boys spend as much time as possible outside being creative. I can be so hard when your hear x is allowed play this game on his ipad etc when am I not. I know it will stand to them in so many ways in the future

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