Believe me, my mouth dropped just as yours did just now. Considering I come from that era when I actually played with Barbie and all its fun accessories, I am dumbfounded at the thought of Barbie being an application on a smartphone or tablet. I don’t know why I’m shocked to be honest. Judging by the way things have been evolving over the last two decades, this shouldn’t surprise me. But it did. Maybe because it hits home too much.
In this split of a second, opening up my App Store to update my installed apps, I saw the icon of the Barbie app right in my face. I couldn’t believe myself. I did a double take and maybe even made the “Scooby Do” sound.
“Barbie APP, are you kidding me?”, I thought to myself, “what’s next?”
It’s hard for me to grasp the idea of the new generation playing with Barbie in such a detached manner. I won’t judge it and say it’s unimaginative or uncreative. I’m sure the app was designed with all that in mind. It must have fantastic graphics and capabilities that will attract children to engage with the app and use their imagination. And I’m sure the educational factor is present. But it will never be the same as holding the doll in your hands, touching the materials, putting on her clothes, combing her hair with the brush, talking to her as you put her to bed and adjusting her to sit on the bicycle or sports car.
There is no comparison between the fun you have with a device in your hand pushing buttons, versus doing everything with your hands and fingers. Isn’t that the basis of early childhood education, the teaching of the senses? Is that changing too?
Applications are no doubt educational and beneficial in this century. I understand that everything has become automated and we depend on technology almost for everything in our day-to-day lives. The new generations are being prepared for even further technological advances to come. God knows where this technology is taking us.
I am saddened that some of the fun and innocence of play is taken away from children of this and upcoming generations. They are being trained to depend on some smart-device to play, have fun, use their imagination, be creative and even interact with friends in that manner. Are we helping the children to become more isolated? Are we turning them into robots without realizing? What are we turning the children of tomorrow into?
I hope and I pray that today’s children will still enjoy their childhood and play as a child was meant to play. I hope parents use their judgment in how much technology they allow their child to depend on. I hope children are still playing outdoors, using their hands and their wild endless imagination. I can only hope. But damn I wish I was a child right now, then I would be experimenting with all those games online. I can’t say I am interested to be truthful, but I will try.