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How my generation plays

pialikesowls's picture

Reading through "Taking Play Seriously" by Robin Marantz Henig, I thought about how the people my age play. The cell phone generation. I came across a quote a while ago from Jeremy Glass' blog post called "We Can't Get Lost Anymore," where he claims, "We can't jump off bridges anymore because our iPhones will get ruined. We can't take skinny dips in the ocean, because there's no service on the beach and adventures aren't real unless they're on Instagram. Technology has doomed the spontaneity of adventure and we're helping destroy it every time we google, check-in, and hashtag."

This made me think about how I play. A decade ago, I considered playing as fumbling around the playground with friends or a game of tag with my fellow classmates. These days, I consider playing something a child does. Henig brings up a point: "play evolved because it is good preparation for adulthood." Since I am legally an adult, I should be qualified to answer this question. Did all that playing I did as a child adequately prepare me for adulthood, or has the world of iPhones, search engines, and blogging taken over our need to play. Sure, we do see children play mindlessly in the parks of their neighborhoods, but computer games take more and more of our younger generations today. Perhaps if a group of my friends and I were to go to a playground, we would have a blast. However, this probably would not be achieved completely without technology. I would probably hear the swings move, my friends scream, and someone say "Everyone smile! It's for [insert social media platform here]." Do we need these websites to show everyone how much fun we're having, or has my generations "playing" been taken over by the Internet?

Another point made by Henig is the fact that it's important to be able to change your behavior in different environments, or "training for the unexpected." I'm not too sure whether I understand this idea, as play is play, and there isn't really a set of rules besides those along the lines of share, be nice, and don't hog the swing. I do, however, agree with the notion that playing can help you acquire the skills of sharing, being nice, and not hogging something for too long. With playing, we not only have fun, but we also learn what is and isn't acceptable.