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Coffee Break with Liz and Kate » Headline, click here »

I heard the results of a couple of studies the other day, which sent me on another of my rampages, wondering who the people are that dream up some of these studies. Seems like applying a little common sense would do the trick and save taxpayers a lot of money… but what do I know…

The first study deals with hamsters on airplanes. Apparently jet lag is real, and it makes hamsters dumber. That’s right – hamsters were actually dumber after having flown and experienced the jet lag. Are the researchers saying the same applies to people? If so, why didn’t they research people in the first place? Moreover, does anyone really care?!

Anywho, the second study was about girls who played with dolls. Seems like girls just aren’t doing that like many of us did as kids. In fact, the results of this study revealed that girls used to play with dolls until the age of 12 or 13 (although I don’t think I played with dolls when I was 13…). Now, they  tend to quit playing with dolls at about 7 years of age.

Which brings me to study three, which was mentioned in study two. The culprit, according to researchers, is modern technology. With the advent of smart phones and IPhones and e-books and video games, kids are shedding their childhood innocence much younger. They’re saying good-bye to Barbie and Ken and hello to Wii.

Well, duh.

But is this a good thing or a bad thing? Personally, I think it’s a bit of both. Speaking from personal experience, computers didn’t exist until I was in my mid-20s. Ok – they existed but were so large they took up rooms – or even entire buildings. We never had cable when I was a kid. It wasn’t an option. And the internet? Ha! Video games meant Atari or Pong. I think I’d already graduated from high school before PacMan was invented. Either that, or I was oblivious to its existence because I really didn’t care.

Then there are the children of today who have access to extremely high tech movies and videos, instant messaging, email and the like.

I’m not convinced this instant world that we are creating is a win-win.Primarily because, should something occur to cause the power grids to crash, our kids better have  a plan B in mind. Think about times when an ice storm has frozen power lines, or a hurricane or tornado has ripped the lines down. There’s no TV, no radio (unless you are prepared with battery operation). There’s no electric, heating or A/C. For that matter, there’s no cooking on a stove.

Such a reality is one that’s foreign to most of our kids. Instead, they’re wired to expect what they want when they want it. And why not, considering the fact that you can talk to or play a video game with anyone in the world instantaneously?

It appears there’s a fine line that we as parents must walk in order to prompt our kids to be creative explorers, while offering them the world of high technology. And we better start finding – and walking – that line pretty quick.

If not, we may find that the hamsters aren’t the only ones who’ve been dumbed down.


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