Is Childhood Ruined?
Technology has been able to advance society in many positive ways, but is it also simultaneously ruining it? With the announcement of the closing of Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us brings about questions of the modern day childhood. Kids today are being less and less imaginative and playing with toys. Play time has replaced Barbies and Matchbox Cars with iPads and Smart TVs. Are we going down a dangerous path that we will never be able to come back from?
For generations kids sang about how they wanted to be a Toys "R" Us kid, now those doors are closing. K-B Toys closed in 2009 and in 2015 FAO Schwartz closed its iconic New York City store. Luckily for FAO, ThreeSixty Group bought FAO from Toys "R" Us in 2016. Off the top of my head the only chain toy retailer that I can think of is Go! Games & Toys. The only baby store I can think of is Buy Buy Baby. Why should we care?
Online retailers have caused the downfall of the traditional storefront. It is much cheaper to host an online store than have multiple storefronts. Sites like Amazon have started to take over the retail market, leaving many companies like Toys "R" Us in the dust.
While parents and kids can still get toys from other stores like Wal-Mart and Target, there is something missing in the whole experience. Going to Toys "R" Us as a kid was almost a magical experience. You walk through the doors and it felt like the world was at your fingertips, every toy you could ever want was right there. Stores like Wal-Mart and Target only have a limited stock of toys, since that is not their main selling point.
To me, the largest knife in the death of the traditional childhood is technology. Instead of coloring on placemats or playing with those peg games at restaurants, kids have their eyes glued to a screen. They spend their time playing games and watching videos on tablets and smartphones. Many of the kids own more pieces of technology than adults do. While they say that video games can be good for kids, this is in small doses and in combination with other activities. Rather than playing outside until the streetlights come on, kids are closing themselves off in their rooms to watch TV on their Smart TVs. Have we gone too far?
Are we ruining future generations by allowing technology to become the babysitter? Are children now too over stimulated? These are the bigger questions we should be asking as stores like Toys "R" Us close. We are sliding down a slippery slope that will effect generations to come and no one is stopping to catch us. It is frightening that a movie like A Toy Story is almost irrelevant in today's modern childhood.