Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Do you think kids today expect to be entertained more than they did in years past?

Asked by Dutchess_III (27102 points ) May 21st, 2014

My 6 year old grandson is here. He was moping because he’s bored. I’m not going to let him watch TV until later, and I’m using the computer. I don’t really want him losing himself in Candy Crush all day or movies. It’s a BEAUTIFUL day. I do feel sorry that there is no one here for him to play with but that’s just the way it is.

So, he’s telling me he’s bored. I said, “Well, go find something to do!”

Then I got to thinking…I don’t think I ever told my folks I was bored. If I had I can only imagine that they’d look at me in astonishment and say, “Why are you telling me this? Go find something to do!” I don’t think I ever, ever expected my parents to take care of it because I was bored.

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49 Answers

Crazydawg's avatar

Do the Cool Hand Luke routine. Give him a shovel and tell him there is dirt in my hole. And when he gets done digging, then tell him there is a hole in my dirt. Won’t be bored ever again.

Dutchess_III's avatar

LOL! Done! Only I gave him a spade and told him to dig to China!

Dutchess_III's avatar

When the kids were little I always used the proper, medical terminology for their private parts. They both changed them up a little. For example, my son wound up with a “pema.” One day I told my daughter to go dig to China. She gave me the STRANGEST look, and wandered off, appearing to be shell shocked. It was really puzzling, but it finally hit me…‘china’ is what what she’d turned ‘vagina’ into!

keobooks's avatar

I think one thing is that we have less kids than we used to. Back in the day, the six year old would probably have a few siblings around to play with. Also, there are so many more precautions parents make. You have to watch them like hawks all the time because someone might abduct them or whatever. (eyeroll… sorry)

jaytkay's avatar

On-screen entertainment definitely kills initiative. It’s all consumption, without any creativity.

TV did it when we were kids. But when something good wasn’t on, we were forced to find something else to do.

Now the phone/tablet/computer can provide something satisfying every minute of every day.

Giving kids too much screen time is equivalent to stocking your kitchen with only cookies and soda, and telling the kids “feed yourself”.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m with ya on the eye-roll @keobooks. If I could let him out in the front yard he’d probably make some friends in the ‘hood.

@jaytkay I honestly only remember watch cartoons on Saturday morning. When we were older there were shows on Sunday (Wild America, Lassie, World of Disney) but other than that, we were outside.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Not quite to China yet!

(Sorry it’s so blurry. I snapped it fast, didn’t realize it was auto focusing on the tree in the foreground.)

Stinley's avatar

My daughter does say she’s bored but will entertain herself for a good two hours with a toy, if she gets absorbed in it.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Little kids are easy. They are still imaginative and can get very involved in play-acting and toys. However, the older kids, teen and young adults, expect to be entertained by electronic means only. They take interaction from real human beings almost as an intrusion, and that is sad. Their imagination goes out the window and their whole life seems to revolve around twitter, facebook, and mindless electronic games. Their generation is in danger of being a generation of recluses.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Don’t know about you, but things have changed decidedly since I was your grandson’s age. Back then, even at six, during the summers, we would leave the house at will and roam the neighborhood all day long. Our parents barely noticed or cared what we did most of the time. This much I can tell you. If at age 6 I had been confined to the house with my grandmother all day, without companions, books, games or television, one of us would almost certainly have killed the other. Come to think of it, my grandma came with a great bonus. She had a really cool dog with markedly criminal tendencies. That dog fit right in with the pack of delinquents I grew up with, and he ran the summer streets with the rest of us. You know I sometimes think those days can’t possibly be as idyllic and wonderful as I recall.

Dutchess_III's avatar

He’s baaack. Just hanging around asking really stupid questions, trying to get me to give him some attention.

Blondesjon's avatar

Sure. I’m 43 and I expect the same thing.

Aster's avatar

It seems they give their parents few choices. Either “take me to the ……” or spend many hundreds of dollars on computer games, Playstation 12 or whatever it is, an iPhone and their own computer. “And if you don’t buy me all these toys “all” my friends have I will make your life miserable by whining that I’m bored . You take me shopping or else!” They put guilt trips on parents now. God forbid they’re bored because if they are that means you’re a rotten parent. I’m starting to think that if you want a happy household then either have six kids close together at least or don’t have any kids at all.

Crazydawg's avatar

lol! @Dutchess_III When mom comes to pick him up he will tell her he had the best time today!

stanleybmanly's avatar

Take him out of the house, walk around the neighborhood with him while asking him questions and showing him stuff. If you’re not inclined to do that, grab something to keep you occupied (book, kindle, knitting) and haul the 2 of you to a public park or playground. The problem will solve itself. One thing is certain. If you allow a 6 year old to remain bored around you, YOU will be the object for the seeking of relief. He will drive you crazy because frankly, that’s his job!

Dutchess_III's avatar

[Edit. Ranting.]

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I often told my kids, “I am not the entertainment committee!”

I know how to entertain children, but when I had four of them, I didn’t always have the time. And I didn’t want them to grow up thinking that it was my responsibility to provide a constant source of entertainment.

longgone's avatar

I try not to generalize about “kids today”. It seems nonsensical to me. “Kids today” are what “adults today” made them, unless you believe our genetic make-up has changed drastically in the last decades.

It may well be that your grandson has learned to look to others for stimulation. That’s sad. It’s very possible that he has no idea how much fun digging a hole can be. What do his parents say? Is he like this at home?

Aster's avatar

A friend of mine has a big drawer packed full of “craft type” toys for kids. When her grandkids come over they go to that drawer and spend a lot of time making things. Of course, they can’t take anything home. It helps, though, that she has half an acre of land behind her house with roadrunners and all that room to run.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes, he is like this at home. He gets yelled at a LOT for being so annoying.

@stanleybmanly I will take him out one of these days, once he’s learned to quit pestering me. I have a feeling I’m going to have him a LOT this summer. Hopefully we can get him to a place where he isn’t so bad. I see flashes of it now and again. My son actually said he’s a little better behaved, and listens better for a while, after having spent time with me.

There’s plenty for him to do here @Aster. Trees to climb, holes to dig, hoses to play in, things to invent. He just needs to discover them.

Dutchess_III's avatar

BTW….good for me for not parking him in front of the TV all day! It sure would have been easier!

Dutchess_III's avatar

W00tT W00T! He’s been outside for 10 whole minutes! He just came in and asked where the shovel was again because he “needed” it!

Stinley's avatar

Boys like that need plenty of exercise and activity

stanleybmanly's avatar

It might be a good idea to take a peek at what he’s doing with the weapon.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m keeping an eye on him @stanleybmanly!

Yes, boys of all ages do @Stinley. But it’s not my job to provide them to him. I just need to provide the space to run and things to dig with and trees to climb and hoses to splash in. The rest is up to his imagination.

Dutchess_III's avatar

(I confiscated the spade. :)

stanleybmanly's avatar

That’s the other thing. Nothing has the potential for destruction and straight up crime like a 6 year old boy suffering from boredom. Is there someplace near where he can swim? I strongly suggest that you ignore intellectual pursuits, and steer him toward @Stinley‘s astute remedy. The real solution is for him to run and jump til he’s tired. That can be assured only in groups. You should endeavor to “inflict” him on a local little league team, day camp, even a jump rope tournament. Whatever happened to the spring and summer stuff like kites, tops, marbles, horseshoes?

ucme's avatar

Gimme some grapes & a catapult & i’m as happy as I ever was, like a pig playing in shite.

Dutchess_III's avatar

What intellectual pursuits are you referring to @stanleybmanly?

I know what boys, and girls, need. This isn’t my first trip around this block. He has the room to run and jump and climb. I don’t think I need to direct him on how to act like a 6 year old. It would be nice if there were more kids, but at this point it just isn’t an option. We’ll just have to see how it all pans out.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

I also have a 6 yr old grand child. your story is my story. :)

dxs's avatar

If he wants attention, then why not give him attention? Value the time you have with him.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

We used to go outside and play for hours. This was back in the 60s and 70s. but there was always a small group. It’s hard to play alone outside, and in this day and age probably a bit dangerous.

I agree with @dxs Value the time you have with the tyke. Get off the computer and go outside and show him how to play.

ibstubro's avatar

When I was a kid, if I’d dared to say “I’m bored.” to or around my parents, one of them would have said,“Okay. Weed the flower bed/garden. Mow the yard. Scoop the snow. Paint the shed.” You get the idea.

We didn’t have chores that consumed our time, but there were plenty of chores to occupy our time if we couldn’t.

But, of course, you’re Gramma, so you should grop everything and go play with him. lol

My dad’s mom used to buy us Jiffy cake mixes and frosting and let us make them on our own. We thought we were really something mixing the cake mix with the egg and water and putting it in the pan we’d greased. Setting the timer (seeing the results when we messed up). Using the mitts.

Pay him 20¢ a foot to edge the sidewalk. Give him a ruler, then tip him for a job well done.

Give him some celery sticks, peanut butter and raisins and have him make snakes to share for later.

Get creative.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Thanks. I really, seriously know how to do kids, but you have to understand this particular child. His idea of attention is:
“Gramma! I opened the door and a moth flew in the house!”
Me: “Yep. I saw that. And it landed on the wall.”
He comes over, stands right next to me and says, “How did that moth get in the house?”
Me: No response.
Him: “How do you suppose the moth got in the house?
Me: No response.
Him: “There is a moth on the wall.”
Me: No response.
“How did that moth get on the wall?”
Me: No response.

I mean, he seriously says shit just to be saying shit, and he’ll do it for hours if you let him. He figures if he asks enough dumb questions he’ll hit a nerve and something exciting will happen. Hasn’t happened with me yet, though. I just give him stuff to take out to the trash, out by the garage. :D

Occassionally he’ll come up with a valid question out of curiosity and I’m really quick to respond, but most of the time he’s just trying to get attention any way he can.

We have some work ahead of us this summer.

jerv's avatar

Hard to say, but I can say that boredom can be dangerous. I get some weird ideas of how to entertain myself when I get bored. Many of them involve vengeance against those that see my boredom as a chance for them to get free labor.

And for those that consider menial, repetitive tasks a cure for boredom, do it yourself and see how entertaining it is. All you’re doing is punishing someone for having feelings and expressing opinions. Beating them would be less cruel and damaging.

Dutchess_III's avatar

If boredom leads to dangerous behavior, then I should have been checked a long time ago. I can’t remember a time when I expected other people to relieve me of my boredom, and punished then when they didn’t.

jerv's avatar

@Dutchess_III Your mind probably doesn’t go as far in as many different directions as mine tends to when I don’t have something to hold my focus. However, I did learn that straight ethanol will dissolve the seals on a Super Soaker during one episode of boredom, and there’s enough pressure at the muzzle to keep the flame front far enough away to avoid melting the plastic, so it was educational.

I think you misunderstood. I consider something like @Crazydawg‘s “Cool hand Luke” approach punishment. Telling someone to do something pointless may entertain you, but they will still be bored. And quite possibly resentful.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Yes they do. Very few times did my own children ever say that. When they did I gave them a chore to do or pointed to the library. The kids now thing they must be using something that requires power at all times when they are neither sleeping or showering. Some adults allow their kids to bring those gadgets to the dinner table. Not me; I don’t let adults do that in my house.

longgone's avatar

It sounds like he’s longing for attention. Does he get it when he’s not being annoying?

jerv's avatar

@MollyMcGuire Well, playing outside is hard in this age of chronic kidnappings and random shootings (or rather, the hysteria around them; they really don’t happen more than they used to), so it’s safer. I never wore a helmet on my bicycleas a kid, but nnow it’s a law. And many things that require power can access any book ever written and then some; they ARE a library except to those too technophobic to adapt to changing times. But it’s also a faster paced world. Keep up, or get left behind, and nobody likes being left behind.

Truth is, kids are much the same as they ever were, they just have different toys now.

jaytkay's avatar

And many things that require power can access any book ever written and then some; they ARE a library except to those too technophobic to adapt to changing times

The percentage of people reading books on their computers and iPads is pretty close to zero.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Give a kid a choice between an ebook and Candy Crush…..

I do go out of my way to give him attention when he’s not being annoying @longgone. That’s key in my master plan.
Trouble is, give him that bit of attention and he’s instantly all over you being annoying, wanting more. The times he’s not being annoying are so rare at this point though…like I said, I’ll keep you updated on our progress through the summer.

(He finally settled down outside, about an hour before his dad came. He made a “bird’s nest,” which Dad had to put up high in a tree. I’ll get a pic of it for you in a minute.)

Here’s something else he created about a week ago, when he realized he was getting nowhere with me, and finally settled down out side. He came to me and said, “Would you like to see the course I made, Gramma?”
I said, “Sure!”
Here it is. He put the dump truck on the cooler, with the bed up. He’d throw the ball so it hit the bed of the truck and rolled back toward him, and hopefully into the plastic flower pot inside of the larger plastic bin (which is now a bird’s nest) for a score. He only counted it as a real score if he managed to cause the truck to fall off of the cooler too. I was tickled pink. When he does something cool, I always take a picture, which is positive reinforcement. (He loves having his picture taken. He used to spend the next hour relentlessly doing goofy, annoying stuff, asking me to take a picture of him. He has finally learned that won’t happen so he doesn’t do it any more.)

It would be easier on me to park him in front of the computer or the TV, but that would be detrimental to my master plan.

I think I’ll get him some….legos or something.

longgone's avatar

@Dutchess_III That sounds good. Do his parents do something similar?

jerv's avatar

@jaytkay First off, that puts me in a small minority then. Second, that means books won’t relieve their boredom, making the library a pointless suggestion.

@Dutchess_III I loved Legos! That’s the sort of thing a bored kid needs if you’re anti-tech. Don’t enslave them; give them a creative outlet.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m not really anti-tech. At about 11:00 he asked if he could watch TV. I said he could at 3:30. Well, he never asked again. And he didn’t ask to play Candy Crush (which he is really good at.) Don’t mind the technology but have never used them as babysitters, especially on perfect days. OK, so I use perfect days as babysitters! :D

Today, though, it’s storming. I would give him more tech time on a day like today.

Legos is a good idea. The kid is VERY smart, and very creative when given the chance.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh, the library has lots of stuff to offer, other than just books….

ibstubro's avatar

Lincoln Logs were pretty cool, too, but take up more room.

I have a kid’s rug (maybe 4–6?) in the basement that has a town woven into it. I would have never let my Hot Wheels alone if I’d had that as a kid.

dxs's avatar

Can someone suggest what I should do for this coming week where I will not be working?

ibstubro's avatar

^^^ Kids today!

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