So a few weeks ago, Rosie wrote a post about how children’s TV has seemed really gender-biased to her recently. That post connected us with the Facebook campaign “Let Toys be Toys - For Girls and Boys” who are doing great work in this area and are shaming toy shops and retailers who inappropriately separate girls and boys toys. Go and like their page and support their work if you feel the same way we do.
However, while that campaign mainly looks at toys, and Rosie’s piece was about television, I thought it was high time to take a look at gender differentiation in the app world.
Lately I’ve been thinking about an age-old question in modern day terms. Why aren’t more young females taking up coding? Or opting to study Engineering or Science in the new University Technical College that’s due to open in Sheffield this year, or starring in the street dance/bike or wake/snow-boarding clips on YouTube that my 3 year old loves to watch?
I have a few ideas why.
Lucas loves puzzle games and loves drawing ‘tricky mazes’ for other people to solve (which are invariably too tricky for anyone to solve unless they can read his mind..). So we’ve been looking at ways to combine these things by finding puzzle games that let him make his own puzzles to share with us. (And don’t worry, he still draws a lot - this is to make his screen time more engaging, not to replace drawing time with being sat at a computer!)
And, not that we’ve tried every game out there, but the one that’s worked best recently is…
It’s been a little bit quiet on the Appy Families front for a few weeks - partly because we’ve been away and partly because we had a week-long internet outage (which was hellish!). But we’re back now and here’s a new post to prove it :)
A few weeks ago, Rosie wrote about what she really wanted to teach our kids. I agree (of course!) and it reminded me of one of my favourite quotes. It’s from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and it goes:
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
The point being that doing things because you are passionate about them is always going to be more effective than doing things because someone tells you to and/or pays you.
Watch this before reading further…
“Download the MamaBear app to give your children the freedom they need & get the peace of mind you deserve.”
“Never have to worry about her wandering off with her friends”
“Spend less time checking his Facebook page and get alerted when he makes a new friend.. you can be notified of inappropriate language (you can set what this is so you could make it even more intrusive..) protecting your kids just got a whole lot easier.”
I don’t even know where to start.. seriously.. this is simply the most intrusive, controlling, inappropriate, boundary crossing and down right disrespectful piece of tech I can think of.
Since I became a mum nearly 5 years ago, and a Non-Directive Play Therapist 4 years ago, I have experienced, both first and second hand, the anxiety and the eagerness parents have for their child to learn. Of course, we all want our children to learn and grow and flourish, but what I’m talking about is the emphasis that parents put on their child knowing ‘stuff’. This stuff is ‘tick box’ stuff and ranges from farmyard animal noises to colours, numbers, letters and beyond.
When looking at how children learn, we know that they learn through play. This is fact, although many parents don’t seem to truly believe it and don’t trust that play is enough. I think fundamentally there is a whole generation of parents thinking along the wrong lines. A generation thinking about measurable, observable ‘tick box’ outcomes that have been drummed into us via a painfully outdated education system concerned with ticking those same boxes.
“…given that the number and variety of digital options will only increase, wouldn’t it be more productive to explore how we can effectively transform media consumption into quality family time? What if we viewed the digital deluge as a new opportunity to tap into the potential of interactive technologies to help reunite generations in playful learning together?”
Michael Abbott at the Brainy Gamer blog wrote a really interesting piece last week about playing Bethesda’s immersive fantasy role playing game Skyrim with his 4-year old daughter. It got me thinking about how kids get exposed to grown-up video games and how to behave as a parent when that happens, especially as it’s virtually impossible to avoid exposure when, for example, cinemas place violent video games in their foyers…
“Flynnie, when you shoot someone with that, flowers might grow out of their hair!”
I’m going to post a proper article a little later, but meanwhile I thought I’d mention something that made me smile and think…
The boys were playing Poisson Rouge in the office yesterday morning (go to http://poissonrouge.com if you’ve never seen it - it’s a wonderful cornucopia of games and experiences for kids, they do several apps as well but the website is where all of the games are).
I went up to see if they were ok, and found that Lucas was using a little puppet show mini-game to tell Flynn a story. Flynnie’s assessment of Lucas’ storytelling at the end of the video cracked me up, but it did also make me wonder what other games let kids tell stories to each other like this?
Does anyone have any suggestions?
I am a wife and mum to two boys, 4 and 2 years old, formerly a Family Therapist and now a part time Non-Directive Play Therapist. In this blog, amongst other things, I want to think about and explore the ways apps can be used to maximise our children’s fun, learning, confidence, self esteem, problem solving skills, tenacity, imagination, creativity and sense of adventure as well as improving the parent-child bond.
Play is essential to children’s physical, emotional and social development. Children learn through play without knowing that they are learning, without it feeling like work and without effort. Children naturally want to play. Play is what they choose to do when given the freedom, independence, time and space to determine their own behaviour.