Children Play Differently Now

There are multiple sources out there that children spend as much as 8 hours of media consumption a day in America. That’s a lot of television, iPhone/iPad games, video game consoles, etc. The children growing up today in America aren’t growing up the same way children just one generation ago grew up.

I didn’t spend all my childhood in America. It was partially split between Philippines and Canada. But I do remember, in both countries, playing a lot outdoors. Games like tag, patintero, chinese garters, red rover, dodge ball. I used to ride my bike for miles in Canada. Through the woods, getting muddied, going downhill, heading to playgrounds to get dirty and sweaty and do neighborhood things with other neighborhood children.

It was a lot of fun. It was very tactile, experiential. Studies after studies have shown that children learn a lot about the world, about how to relate to others, through play. If children are mostly playing video games, indoors, nose pointed to a console or device of some kind, what are they missing out on? How socially able are they to navigate this world? I don’t know the answer.

For me, I don’t ever want Mina spending 8 hours a day in front of a TV, etc. The potential is there; she wants to be a media consumer but we don’t allow it. She isn’t allowed to watch shows except on weekends. We don’t let her watch regular TV with commercials. Later on, when she hears other classmates/friends raving about a show she might insist on watching live Tv with commercial. I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

For now as much as possible, we go outdoors, and I encourage her to get dirty.

Into the woods-38

Into the woods-33

Into the woods-43



  1. You’re doing the right thing. We’ve drastically cut down the amount of time Connor plays with Ed’s old iphone. We noticed that he’s listening better and following instructions better too. Like you, I also partly grew up in the Philippines and I loved playing with friends in the outdoors. I guess with today’s busy world, it’s hard to let your kids do that on a daily basis but we do try whenever we get the chance. I think it’s great that you let Mina roam around outdoors. It’s so much better for their physical and mental health.

    • I know, it’s so different and it does make me sad a little. But the best we can do is try to get them out there, enjoying the outdoors.

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