The term childhood is very understood nation and worldwide. It is thought of as the time from birth to teenage years or sometimes adulthood. Blissful, carefree, imaginative, and joyful are common words that come to most minds describing childhood. In keyword essay “Childhood”, author Karen Sanchez-Eppler characterize this time period as “a site for fantasy and play ultimately produced a sense of childhood less as a period of preparation for adult life than as a time magically and wonderfully separate from it— a period where, as Eliza seems to understand, the rules don’t really apply” (40). Even though this view of childhood is the stereotypical view of today, Karen Sanchez also addresses that the definition of childhood has changed over time. However, most Americans still hold onto childhood being a time of adventure and imagination.
Child Psychologist, Yekateria Murashova, has an interesting view of today’s generation of children being “young people [who] are too often entertained by things not of their making, [and] incapable of finding ways to keep themselves busy, and are completely unfamiliar with the idea of the world of their imagination” (Murashova). This paints a new idea of childhood and supports the idea that the definition of childhood is not a constant. In a study she conducted, children age 12 to 18 voluntarily spent eight hours without any access to technology. Out of 68 participates only 3 made it the full eight hours; the other 65 quit the study with reasons ranging from nausea and dizziness to panic attacks and thoughts of suicide. The view of childhood presented by this study is challenging the idea that being a kid is the time to use your imagination, adventure, and be free. Instead, children are silently becoming slaves to their electronics.
It is also interesting to juxtapose this new idea of childhood to how children lived years ago in the stories we have read in class. In The Little House on the Prairie both Laura and Mary can entertain themselves with very little. These girls were able to ride cross country for weeks with out an iPhone to watch Netflix or check Facebook on. When Pa takes the girls out to hunt with him both can play with the prairie dogs and collect flowers, entertaining themselves. There idea of childhood definitely came with responsibilities, but also the joy of carefree fun with the world around them. Laura and Mary would not have had trouble keeping themselves busy in this study.
The Ingall’s girls were completely “unplugged” and were still happy and fun-loving. Girls who read these stories can see the joy in not only reading, but “unplugging” from technology and embracing the world around them. The study done by Murashova displays a view of current childhood changing and detaching from its “original roots” of being “a site for fantasy and play” (Sanchez 40). Oppositely, The Little House on the Prairie shows Laura and Mary engaging in the tradition view of childhood as a time to frolic and play with their physical world instead of a virtual world.
Link to Murashova study: