When I was little I used to spend all my playtime outside the house, in the streets together with my cousins and other children in the neighborhood. We climb trees, hide by the bushes, play with the grasshoppers, ran all day and burn all our energy chasing the cats or the occasional tricycle passing by a then not so busy and crowded Arellano-UM Street. Summer vacations in the Philippines where children are off from school are on the months of April and May and these were our play-all-day time of the year. We put up tents made of sticks and old tarps and streamers, made use of just about anything and everything we found on the yard as toys and play to our heats content. Inside those “tents”, our world was on the games we played, oblivious of the nagging voices of our mothers and aunts telling us not to stay too long in those tents where it is extremely hot and humid under the sunny day of summer, nevertheless happy childhood memories were made.
This photo was taken Summer of year 1984. Obviously, the picture quality tells it’s age. Digital cameras were not born yet nor Photoshoppe and digital image enhancement. By the way, that’s ME over there, partly hidden, fourth from the right. We may look like refugees but who cares? As we grew older, our games were also getting modern, physically sporty and technical eventually as the era of game and watch, family computers and brick games have evolved.
Nowadays, children are less seen on outdoor games. They don’t play the games we played. They seldom climb trees like we did. Instead, they are indoors and opted to spend their time on computers, laptops, tablets and other hand held video games. Their playmates are the friends they have on their Facebook and they play games online or by themselves. I know that this scenario is common not only to my household but perhaps to most.
In a hi-tech world we are living now, it is very surprising that kids as young as six or seven are technically literate. I admit, the games online and those android games loaded on our gadgets are addictive. Back then, our parents knew who our playmates were and even their families. As a mother of two computer literate children who tend to splurge on video games, I see to it that in one way or another I will become their playmate. I control the time they spend on computers and games as well as the movies and cartoons they watch. When they play, I compete with them and YES, they are better than me. We share the same virtual playmates and these are our favorites:
1. PLANTS vs. ZOMBIES
2. ANGRY BIRDS
3. BOOKWORM Deluxe
4. CUT the ROPE
5. FaceBook’s Farmville, Cityville, Café World and Pet Society
The good thing about these games is that it occupies their time when I have house chores to do and needs to finish doing it up. What is bad is that, they get so hooked and they want to play often that they keep bugging me to fire up the laptop which they know how to but can’t because I secured it with a password. These games may be good because they will learn strategies and bad at the same time since it kept the children from all the physical activities their young bodies need to exert. My kids on the other hand does a lot of running around good enough on what their bodies needed…… or so I think. Well, they appear to do so because they looked like they were on a-hundred mile fun run every time they come home from school.
When we play, we take turns and compete in terms of scores and game levels achieved. Virtual games can’t be all that “VIRTUAL”…. we mothers can be their playmates too!