Your Smile On Fire

...from the song Xavia

on imagination

     Tivo, DVDs, CDs, iPods, video games, mindless YouTube videos and other internet time wasters. All that stuff is, supposedly, sucking all the imagination out of kids. Making them and us mindless techno-zombies incapable of thinking for ourselves. It's easy to think this. After all, aren't DVDs of Dora the Explorer the new babysitter or something like that? (I heard that somewhere.) Don't most new SUVs have built-in CD players to keep the kids from killing each other on long car trips? Don't ten year olds walk around with iPods and cellphones attached to them?



     But I have a different veiwpoint.

     Last night I babysat this hyper five year old boy. He watched Cartoon Network and a Curious George DVD. He showed me the extra-loud toy guitar he got for Christmas. You know... the kind where you press a button and it plays some ridiculously loud tune? Yeah, that.

     He also pretended to be a dinosaur, looked for Highlights' hidden pictures, and told me what he knows about snakes. Which got me to thinking, even more than I'd already been thinking on the subject.


     And what I think is that imagination is innate within all of us. More so than at any other time in life, toddlers' minds are making rapid-fire connections, soaking up every bit of information like a sponge and exploring the world around them. We are born with an imagination, born to ask questions and search out answers. And maybe born to, when there is no answer to find, create our own. All the things accused of making us (everyone, not just children) mindless techno-zombies was invented by someone. Some "geniuses" must have had the idea for the iPod, Tivo, a cellphone, DVDs. And the rest of us get to enjoy what their minds and hard work came up with.

     Staring at pointless cartoons for hours on end doesn't do much to bolster your creativity, I'll give you that. But besides the obvious stupidity of cartoons/excessive violence/gratuitous sex, television and the internet actually has stuff to offer. I can't speak for everyone else, but I tune into television shows for the funny and the characters. I know not everyone is like this, but when I watch my favorite show (The Office), I'm trying to put all the pieces together. Watching the dialogue, the relationships, the particular personality quirks of each character. And I'm trying to figure out how the amazing writers on the show do it so I can steal some of their tricks in my own writing. It's true that technology and the so-called convienences of life in the 21st century can be used to make life so easy we all get lazy, bored, stupid, etc.


    But why should we blame technology? Why blame the inatimate object playing your favorite CD on repeat, or the machine that records your favorite TV show while you're out?

     If we're lazy/boring/bored/stupid, maybe it's our own fault. For all that is said bad about kids' access to such "time suckers" as DVDs and computer or video games, I've never met a kid who wasn't imaginative, who didn't want to ask questions and discover things. Some of us lose that spark, that want of knowledge and exploration of the world around us (whether this is the physical world or the intellectual world or whatever it may be), but placing the blame for our laziness on the latest gadget is just... well, lazy. So like humans to not take responsibility for their actions (or non-actions).


     Children aren't unimaginative, uncreative, unquestioning, in spite of everything around them that we think might hinder that quality.

     But sometimes the rest of us are.


Published Jan 01 2008, 10:27 PM by jordynt
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jocelynp said:

I agree with you here. And, btw, my resolution not to buy books doesn't mean not READING them--it just means use the library a little more and read what I get for my reviews instead of dropping fifteen or twenty dollars on something that'll only keep me busy for a couple of hours!

January 3, 2008 12:37 AM

amyh said:

Absolutely agree. And what I really I hate is how parents often try to stifle their kids' imaginations so that they will succeed in other things. If a child has any artistic tendencies, they should be nurtured, not pushed away!

And YES! Be totally eager for Psychology! I love my class. It's so fun to learn things and suddenly see how it all applies to real life. Because it does! Right away! So fun. And it's all so incredibly interesting, too.

January 5, 2008 5:41 PM


Oct. 15 [going to work soon] [two school essays due; majorly nervous about both] [remember when i wrote that short story where the girl said "majorly" every other WORD practically? ha]