Has technology ruined childhood?
Today, parents are increasingly worried about the safety of their children, and because of this, 1they are not letting their children out to play. As a result, children are no longer playing outside but shutting 2themselves away in their rooms and losing themselves in individualistic activities such as television viewing and computer games.
Yet, if they had the chance, they would rather get out of the house and go to the cinema, see friends or play sport. In fact, when asked what their idea of a good day was, only 1 in 7 said that they would turn on the television.
British teenagers have always retreated to their bedrooms, leaving the 3younger children to play in communal spaces such as the sitting room, garden or kitchen. However, children from the age of 9 are now turning to their bedrooms as a place to socialise.
Bedroom culture is a phenomenon of the past 20 years with families getting 4smaller and homes getting more spacious. Increasing prosperity has also contributed to the rise of the bedroom culture.
Of British children aged 6 to 17, 72% have a room they do not have to share with a sibling, 68% have their own music installation, 34% have an electronic games 5controller hooked up to the television, 21% have a PC. Only 1%, on the other hand, have an Internet connection in their bedroom.
On average children devote 5 hours a day to screen media. Even so, only 1 child in 100 can be classed as a real screen addict, a child who spends a worrying 7 hours or more watching TV or playing computer games.
Although children generally have a few favourite programmes, they mostly use television to kill time when they are bored and have nothing special to do. Moreover, the distinction between individualistic media use and social activities such as chatting with friends is less extreme than is commonly assumed. Children gossip about television soap characters, make contact with other children on the Internet, and visit friends to admire 6their new computer games.
As the use of PCs proliferates, reading skills are expected to suffer. Nevertheless, 57% of children say they still enjoy reading, and 1 in 5 teenagers can be classed as a book-lover.
As a result of the bedroom culture, it is becoming 7rarer for children over the age of 10 to watch television with their parents. Once in their rooms, children tend to stay up watching television for as long as they wish. Consequently it is getting 8harder to control children's viewing.
One father told researchers that 9he drew the line at 9 pm. His son, on the other hand, said: "They tell us to go up at about 9.30 or 10 or something, and then we just watch until they come up and tell us to switch 10it off at 11 or 11.30."
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