A (very early) wake-up call
By Jiselle Simpson, Director of Chilled Kids
I had a conversation with a fourteen-year-old boy the other day that made me anxious. Actually, it was a group of fourteen-year-old boys, all saying the same thing that made me anxious.
Me: “Why are you tired?”
Boy 1: “Because I was up till three a.m.”
Boy 2: “He was playing online.”
Boy 3: “So was I.”
Me: “Till three in the morning?!”
Boy 1: “I do it all the time.”
It isn’t so much the types of games they play that worry me. (Although the extent and realism of violence in the games they were talking about is incredibly scary.) But that their attitudes seem to have shifted away from playing sport as the default “after school activity” to make way for role-playing games as the afternoon standard.
I was anxious because I wonder if their parents know—really, truly know—what their sons are playing. Do they know that they’re regularly getting a mere four or five hours sleep a night? I wonder if these boys used to be outside all the time: on their bikes, kicking around a ball, jumping on the trampoline. What happened that made them prefer solitude behind a closed door, in role as an armed soldier, while the time just slips away?
I know it’s not new to lament computer games and that it’s easy to sound like a wowser. But while I was chatting with them, I wasn’t thinking that computer games were a blight on all of society, just that computer games were surely a blight on the lives of these boys.
I wanted to tell them to go to bed early and sleep soundly. To put a ban on the games themselves so that their parents don’t have to. To go to the park for the simple pleasure of silently kicking a ball to your friend.
For all the Ginger Sport kids and their parents out there: I hope an early love of exercise plants a seed that grows into a very, very good habit.