Adults adulterating child’s play?


Hide-n-seek, house-house, snake-n-ladder, lock-n-key, cards and even dolls; all this could be a passé for today’s toddlers. Kiddies’ games aren’t anymore a child’s play. Can’t say if they have evolved (!) but surely, they have changed with time. The other day, a-four-year old niece of mine was crying for a gun! Wait, a toy gun!! Mind you, it was a lot more than a plaything for her. “Please mamma, get a gun for me at the earliest otherwise two of my friends will kill me as they possess big guns,” the girl was literally in tears.  She really feared for her life, at the tender age of four…
Change is the only constant but transition in children’s games is something to be paid heed to. I particularly observed some children playing in housing societies, school grounds, even on gym and club house premises and also heard their discussions during the course of the games. This paradigm shift appeared somewhat striking. At times, it looked they were reproducing adult dialogues, but yes, it was still all a child-talk and sounded sweet at times. They were replicating their parents, teachers or even some characters on TV, trying to talk like them. However, when they seemed uttering words without understating their meaning, it sounded sweet and innocent.
Once in my housing society, I heard an agitated discussion among kids. Though it was an uncalled for advice, I went ahead and stepped in requesting them to play instead of fighting. “Didi, we are not fighting but playing house-house.” I felt I had fallen flat on my face! Nevertheless, they unknowingly painted a perfect picture in nuclear families. I just spared a thought on what would be the games a few years down the line and it triggered a chain of thoughts.
Cricket, the most favourite game of this country, being played not only on playgrounds but in lanes and by-lanes could be ‘fixed’ tomorrow even among children. It may become a part of their game. It could be a skill for a spot-fixer bowler to bowl smartly. Going further, political characters will make way to indoor dramas. Paying bribes, kidnapping a minister’s daughter, jail, encounter, extra-marital affairs (thanks to daily soaps) or morchas and rallies, all this may perfectly fit the bill for tomorrow’s children.   
It goes beyond saying that today’s children are smarter and savvier. To an extent, it’s true that they might be losing their innocence a bit early. Besides growing media exposure and easy access to technology, adults, discussing everything without censor in front of children are to blame. Many western countries, especially America, are now realising the effects of aggressive games and films on children.
Awareness levels in India couldn’t be very high but children’s games in general and especially toys are a subject of vast research at global level. Social researchers, paediatricians and child-counsellors urge parents not to involve children in games just to keep them engrossed or to divert their attention. Games have a phenomenal potential to keep children constructively busy giving an expression to their creativity and innovation. Yes and a little adult touch wouldn’t adulterate kids’ games. Children will always be children, all adults need to know that playthings aren’t a child’s play!
-KanChan

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