Games away from a screen

A father showed me a video that he took of his children sliding down their home stairway on a cardboard box. Their short homemade footage was filled with exciting screams and laughter. The clip ended with the father himself sliding down the stairway.

“I’m grounded from playing video games,” the 10-year-old girl said. She had a pretty smile. From what I saw, she wasn’t missing out on much. In fact, she was living the childhood that most children are missing out on.

“How about you?,” I asked her younger brother. “Do you play video games?”

“I love video games!” he exclaimed. But it looks like he was grounded too. It didn’t seem like he missed it much though. The focus of our conversation was about a new light that was installed under his bed. That way he can climb under and still see in the dark. Sounds like he was having an adventure on his own.

Their American father, who worked from home, placed much attention on his children. You can tell by the way he talks to them that it wasn’t just about being a parent, but also being their best friend.

I found them in the store moments later, playing games. The father had barricaded his little girl between boxes. There was a lot of squealing and fun. I openly joked to the Japanese mother, “Looks like you have three children, not two.”

She laughed. “It’s true. He is the hardest one to take care of,” she said, referring to her husband.

It was refreshing to see children playing. Playing happily without a need for technology in their hands. These are the children who are pointing to the night sky and asking questions about the stars. These are the children who want to run outside, playing “tag” or “hide and seek”. Children that play actual games with their peers and not in a virtual world generated on a screen.

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