One of the worst memories of my childhood was losing our favourite playground to a land grabber. I can still remember the evil day when we went to the playground and found a two feet thick and four feet high wall right on the middle of our pitch.
Luckily enough, we had other playgrounds to shift to in those early years. But children at present hardly have playgrounds. The urgency of human habitation is putting immense pressure on our lands resulting in acute scarcity of playgrounds and open spaces for children.It is well acknowledged that besides all five basic human needs, recreation is an important necessity of human being. For children, arrangements of sound recreation are a must for their proper physical and mental growth.
Truly speaking, our entertainment businesses are expanding fast and widespread. But most of them are radically unsuitable for children. I cannot, even in my wildest imagination, accept my child deriving recreation from a satellite-based or YouTube-based commercial romantic drama.
Although there are computer recreational opportunities for children, they only pivot around the theme parks, fancy mobile phone contents exemplified by Android games and other unnecessary apps, computer-based violent games et cetera. Some of them are too costly for the middle class to avail and some of them are harmful to them.
How many times a year a man with a modest income can afford to take his children to a theme park? On the contrary, providing a child with mobile or computer games is rather a mess than an advantage as these games contain violent contents. These contents make them psychologically violent and unstable.
The researchers say that ideal pastime for children should be a combination of both physical and mental activity. Most of the aforementioned activities do not need physical efforts which involve the sprightly movement of the limbs to keep them physically sound.
From all points of view, taking part in outdoor games and sports is the best kind of recreation children can avail. Outdoor games like cricket, football, athletics, badminton etc. make them run, move, dive, jump helping them stretch their body. As a result, their bodies gain flexibility and immunity to various diseases.Also, their oxygen and nutrition consumption and metabolism become better. Besides, these sports help children get rid of monotonous domestic life. It is said that sports are the most passionless entertainment providing the partakers with purest glee of mind.
But scopes for playing games and sports are very rare in our country. We have a dire shortage of open spaces where our children can go and pass their leisure in sports.
The condition is worse in cities where students are being reared up in a congested atmosphere just as poultry fowls are grown up in a poultry farm. This can have severe effects on the children.
Being the most densely populated country of the world, Bangladesh has the least per capita land for her citizens. As a result, children do not have the opportunity to play games and sports to their heart’s content. They spend their leisure by watching worthless programs on TV or playing computer games.
The teenagers, due to the unavailability of proper and fair recreational opportunities, try to derive pleasure from drugs, evil company, and premature premarital relationship with the counter sex and so on involving themselves in anti-social activities. Thus our future generation is spoiling its potentiality. Once they are out of the track, they cannot be brought back on track easily.
It should be understood that only educating children will not be fruitful unless we can make proper recreational arrangements for them. Earlier, a school had a playground as an indispensable part of it. Students could play there during their off periods. In the era of commercialisation, schools have turned into two or three-story incubators where keeping alive is given priority to keeping healthy.
To make an enlightened and morally balanced generation, we must give children balanced entertainment that fulfils both physical and mental objectives of recreation and prevent themselves from going astray.
In this respect, the government and proper authority have a great role to play. Every ward of a city should be provided at least one playground where children can go and play. Besides proper planning is necessary for the newly structured city corporations for setting up public parks for their inhabitants where people of all classes can get together and amuse their children.
Besides, every school should have proper co-curricular activity in its yearly calendar for the learners’ refreshment. These activities will provide mental foods for the students as well.
TV and satellite media as an influential mass media must reorganise their programme schedule keeping the need of children in mind.
Parents should take the issue seriously because their attitudes are most important for bringing up their kids properly. Many parents think that keeping a child busy in the study all the time is the best thing they can do for their child. To be honest, it is a wrong and outworn idea. Studies are best received when they are provided to a cheerful mind.
To sum up, we must not shrink the world for our children. We must let them grow up in an open environment of spontaneity. Only then can we expect a healthy, morally balanced and cheerful generation in future.
The writer is an Assistant Teacher in
English, MEH Arif College, Gazipur.