Today I heard a very sad story. A little girl had received one of those stuffed animals that kids “play with” by registering them online on the Internet, after which their toy can “interact” with those of their friends. If I understand the concept correctly, kids then play on computer screens with representations of their toys (which are, as David points out, already representations of real animals, taking abstraction pretty far out, one would think). What happened in this particular case was that the mother had endless trouble registering the toy online, blocked at various levels after putting in information. Well, not “endless,” because eventually, after trying two or three computers and two or three web browsers, she finally achieved the goal, but before it was reached, she said her daughter was standing next to her, quite forlorn, holding her stuffed animal and waiting and waiting until she could “play” with it.
This is where I can’t help thinking how it was “back in my day,” when we just sat down on the floor (or on our beds) with our friends and our stuffed animals. We played with the toys directly. Same with games. When we wanted to play a game, we got out the box and took out the board and game pieces, and we were in business. To play baseball or hide-and-seek, we ran around outdoors.
Reading was simple, too, back in my Dark Age childhood. We didn’t have to download texts or go screen-blind or didn’t worry about power sources or program glitches. We just opened a book and dove into the story! In bed, on the bus, under the living room desk, up in the apple tree—the book could go anywhere. Dinosaur that I am, I still read that way most of the time. Human-readable text! What a fabulous concept! It’s so darned easy (not to mention cozy, a top criterion in our household)!
Okay, sorry! Can’t blog any more tonight. Gotta curl up with a book! CUTTINGS FROM A ROCK GARDEN calls!