Sunday is Children's Day. The new wired world holds many challenges for our kids. Let it not disassociate them from basic human values

Ask a child what he enjoys most today and pat comes the reply, “the thing I love most is going to the mall, play video games and eat my favourite ice cream.” Gone are the playgrounds, parks, playing fields and other open green spaces that once were a part of childhood. Climbing trees, making a go-cart, riding downhill on it, feeling the wind on your face and other frolics with nature are no longer in a child's agenda today. For growing up with Star Trek, Playstations etc a child's vision today consists of shopping arcades, pizza joints, social networking and what's hot and what's not in the latest iphone, ipod models.

Real world

A brave new world thus beckons the child today. It opens up many new possibilities. However, is this world real? Or is it a synthetic existence that depraves the normal growing up process? Is the child ready to confront these hitherto unknown paths and avenues that technology now offers, when just a few years ago little boys amused themselves with toy buses and little girls with dolls?

But on the other hand is this a natural change or an evolution towards a better and advanced society? Is this transformation a sign of progress? One cannot be sure. For today's kids have accepted this new trend like fish to water. Little masters of their destiny that they appear to be, they seem sure found in this new age world. Childhood thus appears to have been redefined and remodelled to meet the requirements of the future. Yet doubts linger.

Futuristic

A child who spends more time with its cell phones, computers, ipods etc is surely gearing himself up for the futuristic world. Treading into the world where reality meets fantasy is often an outlet to let off steam for an adult. However, are kids adequately wired to participate in a virtual world where one's wildest imagination can be explored? Is childhood being ruined, distorted?

Open air games and outdoor activities that were part of growing were not just fun and play. They were also learning fields where social skills and adaptability were acquired. Nature was their teacher. In outdoor group activities children naturally learnt to interact, mingle and cooperate. They deciphered their own strengths, weaknesses, potential etc while relating to their playmates and to Mother Nature.

Social Networking that is rampant today among kids, teens and the youth has changed the way relationships are formed. Orkut pal, Facebook pal, Myspace pal etc are how friends are being classified and identified today by many children. Spending more time at home with the latest gadgets and less time outdoors with real friends have changed the conventional and natural way of a child's interaction with the world.

Balanced approach

Human values are thus at stake. It is true change is inevitable. Change is also a great opportunity to grow and it has to be embraced. But ideals, principles and ethics are sometimes left aside or forgotten unintentionally on the way. A balanced approach is needed to inculcate values in children. It is here that families have a determining role. Spend more time with children. Encourage outdoor activities and also take them to orphanages, old age homes, special schools etc to make them aware there is more to life than just gaming, Playstations, social networking etc. Educate them on what life is all about. For that is the best legacy one can leave for our kids.

Keywords: Children's Day