Whatever Happened To Playing?
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Children have learned what adulthood is like at a very early age. Over time, the children in American society have not been taught the pleasure of just playing outside; they have never learned how to play. Because many of these children are growing up in a single parent home or in a family where both parents work, these children spend much of their time playing video games and watching television to provide them with entertainment. Schools are also determined for children to become adults.

While I was growing up, my mother stayed home with my two younger brothers and me to give us the chance to have a childhood; our parents wanted us to be children, not pint-sized adults. Unfortunately in todays world, many children do not have that luxury and have had to leave their childhood too early. An abundance of these children are “latch-key kids”; they go home to an empty house after school and have to take care of themselves. When we got home from school, our mother was waiting for us with an afternoon snack. It felt good to have a warm hug after a hard day at school. My brothers and I did not have to worry about where our parents were or what time they would be getting home. Several children have to wait over an hour for their parents return home from work. Since I am the oldest, I did not have to worry about babysitting my brothers. Quite a few of these “latch-key kids” have younger siblings whom they have to baby-sit until their parents return home from work. I grew up in a home where our parents did not want us to grow up too soon. They have always said, “Life is too short, play and be kids while you still can.” We grew up playing at the park and in our own backyard. We had what many young children today lack, we had a childhood. It is disheartening that children have to act so mature for their age.

When children have only television to keep them company while waiting for their parents to return home, it becomes one of the biggest culprits in children not learning how to play. Children spend entirely too many hours viewing a life-less TV screen. Many of the programs that these children watch depict playing as childish. They learn very quickly what they, as children, should consider fun if they are to be mature, and do not want to be associated with infants any longer. Children that see these particular programs believe that anything associated with children, such as playing, is wrong because they have to learn to act more grown-up and become an adult. Parents are to blame for the amount of television their children watch. Instead of allowing their child to squander hours of his or her precious childhood, these parents should encourage their child to play. Unfortunately, these parents find it the easiest solution to have their child entertained, so they, as parents, can get their work done.

Another reason why some children have never truly learned how to play is by becoming addicted to video games. They feel that going outside and jumping rope or playing hopscotch or even just tossing a ball around, is for babies. As my six-year-old niece has said when I asked if she wanted to go outside and play, “Thats for babies. I want to do something grown-up.” They play video games to entertain themselves. Children see many adults playing video games as well, so children believe that they are more “grown-up” for playing them. Adults dont act childish so these games must not be for babies. Marie Winn mentions in her essay “The End of Play” that “video games are adult-created mechanisms not entirely within the childs control, and thus less likely to

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Single Parent Home And Children. (April 17, 2021). Retrieved from https://www.freeessays.education/single-parent-home-and-children-essay/