Children need a little boredom, writes Nigel Farndale in The Telegraph.
With more toys than ever, children are overstimulated and unable to focus their attention.
How can a jigsaw puzzle that might take hours to solve compete with a PlayStation game that has the synapses fizzing within seconds?
We did succumb to a Wii last year, however, and I regret letting it into the house. Not only is it the rival of den-making, football-kicking and tree-climbing, it is the enemy of reading. But ordering your children to turn the Wii off and read a book instead hardly sends out a positive signal about the pleasures of reading – which is a shame, because a child who has discovered the magical world that lies between the covers of a good book is rarely bored. I have a feeling our Wii is going to meet with an accident any day now, and will take several months, possibly several years, to repair.
There’s no such thing as overstimulation, counters Amanda Marcotte on DoubleX. Farndale is just a curmudgeon, she writes.
Constant stimulation may annoy curmudgeons, but it helps work those growing brains into the sort of brains that parents supposedly want for their kids.
. . . After all, a good video game is a rapid-fire series of problem-solving situations. Shouldn’t we want kids to spend their leisure time working on that? (Scientist friend on hand wants it to be known that video games are used as therapy for ADHD kids, to retrain their brains to concentrate.)
Do kids need the stimulation provided by gaming? Or would they be better off spending the time with a jigsaw puzzle, a book, a ball or a tree? I’m pro-book, but I have almost no experience with video games.