Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Skipping To The Digital Age

Like many professions these days, teachers have little time to take proper lunch breaks. Working in a secondary school, classic playground games like British Bulldog and Kiss Chase are a rare sight and thankfully I've never had to tempt fate by doing an outdoor break duty.

At two recent weddings, I spotted something amusing and perhaps a little disturbing. Left to their own devices, shying away from boring grown-up stuff, groups of kids were overheard discussing the new interactive time-passer. "No I'm being the zombie," they animatedly argued, before chasing each other around a nearby field. I immediately wondered what was influencing such young kids' "innocent" play and looked to the excellent HBO series, The Walking Dead - something the troubled young man I work with in a certain London school is monotonously obsessed with, giving painfully long blow-by-blow accounts of scenes I've already watched.

In the past there's been an awful lot of talk of "copycat crime" and the finger of blame has been boldly pointed at a variety of films, computer games and TV shows but what of "copycat play"? As a young'un, I remember making do with Conkers, Hopscotch, Cat's Cradle, Sleeping Lions, Chain Tag, Stuck In The Mud and What's The Time Mr Wolf? And of course repeatedly tripping over giant skipping ropes!

I guess the classic pairings of cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians and mummies and daddies have always been around. It seems zombies and humans are the new modern 21st Century pairing of this "digital age". The irony of course lying in how oblivious tomorrow's generation are to the bleakness of this new playground craze. But then again, at that age who really wants to be a mummy or daddy either?

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