Published: 30th November 2019
Is gaming beneficial or has it come to a dead-end? Here's why we should provide youngsters with alternatives
What kind of alternatives could we give to our students, so that they don’t become addicted to smartphone gaming? Let's find out more
When one door closes, another door opens. But we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.
— Alexander Graham Bell, Scottish-born American inventor and scientist
Alexander Bell’s famous invention, the telephone, was the ‘father’ of today’s smartphones. Gaming with smartphones is the new scourge among the youth and the cause for desperation among parents. If we follow the dictum of Bell, creative optimism may show the way out for young smartphone gamers if you take away a poisonous candy from a child, give them a credible alternative as has been done in Indonesia and reported by Agence France-Presse (21/11/19) under the title, ChickTok: Indonesian kids given pets to wean them off smartphones, and excerpted here.
Officials in an Indonesian city have ‘hatched’ a plan to wean children off smartphones by giving them their own fluffy chicks to raise. Around 2,000 four-day-old chicks will be handed out to students at elementary and junior high schools in Bandung in the coming weeks, in an attempt to distract these kids from their gadgets. The students must feed their new pets before and after school, and can keep them at home or within the school premises if they don’t have enough space in their backyard.
Authorities in the city, around 150 km southeast of the capital Jakarta, have dubbed the unusual project as ‘chickenisation’. At a ribbon-cutting event held on November 21, a dozen chicks in cages were distributed with a sign that read, Please take good care of me. “There is an aspect of discipline here,” said Bandung’s mayor, adding, “But the project isn’t just about curbing a school kids’ phone habits, it is also part of a national plan to broaden students’ education, as envisioned by the President.”
A mother was convinced about the ‘chicks-not-smartphones plan’ and even expressed her hope that it might encourage her son to become a poultry farmer! “It’s more beneficial for them to take care of chicks than play with smartphones,” she said. But her teenage son was less enthused. “It’s far more interesting playing with a smartphone,” he said. Coming to India, a chicken may not be the best choice. In a country marked by vegetarianism, animal/bird-based diversions may not be the ideal choice. It is a case of ‘one man’s meat is another man’s poison’. But what about vegetable or flower gardening, both indoors and outdoors? It calls for out of the box thinking and execution. Above all, it calls for creative optimism. This is not the time to despair and become paralysed mentally and emotionally. Perhaps the readers of this column can put on their thinking caps and share their ideas with fellow readers! What kind of alternatives could we give to our students, so that they don’t become addicted to smartphone gaming?