Computers, What Are They Costing Our Children?
by Arleita Harmon
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With every subject there are generally two sides to consider. The good side and the bad. Of course when looking at computers and such gadgets we could talk about the good side to no end. How could the added valuable technical precision to engineering, telecommunications, fighter aircraft, industrial robots, etc., be ever fully described or appreciated; Besides the many multitasking capabilities added to everything imaginable. As we said, the list on the good side could go on and on. But there is the other side — the bad. And it seems that with all the wonder of this invaluable and addictive, manipulating data tool we are overlooking or totally ignoring the fact that there is a bad side. And all the while it is having a serious effect on our children.
So how is it affecting our children—what are computers costing them? If we take the time to really consider it, no doubt this list might become quite lengthy as well. Although, we are aware of the many dollars that are spent for various items, the “cost” we are speaking of is far more detrimental than that of our spending (wasting) money on another trinket. Cost is what ever we are willing to give, to expend, or exchange for that which we consider worthy. Much of what computers are costing our children may easily come to mind if you take the time to even casually observe many of today’s younger generation.
#1, Contentment. Perhaps the most noticeable cost to our children is the loss of contentment. No longer are children content to spend hours playing ordinary boy/girl games. Little girls, pre-computer, played with their dolls and dreamed of the day when they would be a real mommy. They played outside and made “mud-pies” pretending to be a real cook like their mommy. They enjoyed the breeze blowing in their face as they spent time swinging. Little boys, pre-computer, played "Cowboys and Indians," or build tree houses. You name it, whether boy or girl, they could play either alone, or with a group of other children contentedly for hours. But no longer, the only thing they are interested in is one more computer game -- whatever is being advertised or what they have seen someone else have. The loss of contentment is a costly item being paid by our children for their computers.
#2, Communication. Many parents in our culture may not have noticed the important loss of communication— because they have also lost it due to their addiction to computers. But pre-computer, children were interested in other things, thus, they could and would talk about those things to whomever would lend an ear. The loss of the ability to properly communicate is a costly item being paid by our children for their computers.
#3, Creativity. At first thought you might think that the games children play on their computers are creative. But we are speaking of the children’s loss of their ability to be creative. They no longer are able to formulate original thought. They know well how to click, click, click. But original thought — being imaginative to create something out of little — they have lost that ability. Children, pre-computer, were creative. They found ways to come up with, or create a needed item in order to continue their imaginative playtime activity. It may have been a stick that a little boy whittled on awhile to create a spear, or a scarf that a little girl folded just so to magically create two cuddly dolls wrapped up to hold close. No matter, they used their creativity to come up with what they wanted. The loss of creativity is a costly item being paid by our children for their computers.
#4, Caring. We live in a self-focused, me’ism, world. Children are no exception. We all are born with a selfish nature and we need little to feed it into becoming a monster. And certainly the computer is food for that monster of selfishness inside each child. Concern for others. Never. Observing that others exist. No way. Being responsible for what might be happening around you. You must be kidding! Protecting another child younger, or needing assistance. Don’t bother me! You don’t really exist in the mind of a child engrossed in their computer game. The loss of the ability to care is a seriously costly item being paid by our children for their computers.
#5, Character. Perhaps, the most costly loss of all is this one. Some one has said, “the character is like white paper; if once blotted, it can hardly ever be made to appear white as before.” Another said, “our character is but the stamp on our souls of the free choices of good and evil we have made through life.” The “blots” caused by the free choices of evil that is made available to our children through their computer interactivity is coloring their mind’s perspective of what is good and pure. Pre-computer children, with caring, pre-computer parents — who protected their children, maintained their children’s innocence. Thus, pre-computer children knew nothing of the outrageous, secretive, evil, subculture madness that children now have at their fingertips. All they have to do is simply, click — their innocence is stolen — their character is blotched — their ability to function normally is smothered with guilt — their future is already plundered.
These are only five areas that are costly to our children. I’m sure we could quickly think of many more, even those starting with “C” such as conduct, courtesy, concentration. But more important is what are we going to do about it? Future generations may be at stake.
Perhaps, the answer can be found with us adults considering our computer activities in light of what they are costing us. Have we lost focus. How are we doing in the area of:
#1, Contentment? Are we living an example of contentment before our children? If not, it may cost the spiritual development of our children “…godliness with contentment is great gain” I Timothy 6:6.
#2, Communicating? Are we communicating with them and teaching them to properly communicate with us, and others? If not, it may cost the social development of our children “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” I Corinthians 15:33.
#3, Creativity? Are we creative — or do we have to have the latest gadget for every little project we think of starting? If so, it may cost the intellectual development of our children “He that diligently seeketh good procureth favour” Proverbs 11:27.
#4, Caring? Do we care — are we concerned about others, their needs, wants, wishes -- above what we want? Do we take the time to show it? If not, it may cost the moral development of our children “Give, and it shall be given unto you….for with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” Luke 6:38.
#5, Character? Do we participate in activities that damages our true character — even our very soul? Would we be ashamed if our private computer activities were made public? If we would, it may cost the future success of our children “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls” Proverbs 25:28.
Have we, like our children, allowed all our electronic trinkets to put us into a WIIFM (what’s in it for me) mode? If so, perhaps, we will only salvage some of what computers and other such gadgets are costing our children, when we take a serious look at what they are costing us. ©copyright 2008 Arleita Harmon, www.menofagape.com
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Mrs. Harmon: Once again you have hit the nail on the head. If adults don't recognize the damage of this computer age over- indulgence, and begin to implement a change of course, what hope have the children. Sure there are exceptions, not every home is consumed in these pastimes, but too many are. It seems more common than not. And they serve to in a matter of time, pollute those around them with their lack of contentment, communication, creativity, caring, and character, the 5 C's you have mentioned. And I'm certain there are a lot more that may be lying dormant about to hatch. Surely there are direct physical health risks. What's left of the great minds needs to put their energies to work on how to remedy these "re-birth defects" being created by technology overload and overindulgence. The Lord Bless You.