A Virtual Thief

When I think back to my childhood, my memories are comprised of climbing trees and riding bikes, playing soccer and running around with my sisters; they aren’t tainted by the overwhelming presence of technology as they would be if I was a child in 2015. In the span of a few years, I witnessed as more and more kids gravitated towards the lure of video games, cell phones and T.V. shows, and away from the ideal simplicity of childhood; however, over the past few weeks, I’ve been surrounded by children who have yet to be entirely consumed by the concept of electronics, and it has been a breath of fresh air.

As I walk down the streets of Sutiava, I rarely see kids glued to smart phones or lost in their own virtual worlds; I see interaction. I see pickup baseball games, kids kicking a soccer ball around in the streets, riding bikes, and swinging in the park. I hear shrieks of joy, laughter and the kind of silence that makes you feel comfortable, that makes you feel content. Since being in Nicaragua, I have been reminded of the ideal simplicity of childhood, and reminded of my own. From the nightly games of Uno with Kara, and her host sister and cousins, that remind me of the intense games of monopoly I used to play with my family, to the imaginative minds of little Luka and his older brother Isaac, who remind me of the relationship I had with my sister Caelyn as we spent countless hours building forts in the woods and playing pretend, I’ve been able to reminisce on a time that wasn’t all about technology. I’ve been able to reminisce on a time where a game of monopoly was just a board game, not an app, a time when building forts meant draping sheets across the couches and stacking pillows, not building virtual stone structures on Minecraft, a time when playing pretend wasn’t all about developing a character on an online gaming site, and I’ve been left with a plethora of feelings.

In a positive sense, I feel excited for the development of technology, for the fact that people continue to come up with cutting edge inventions, but I feel saddened by the sight of my 12 year old sister as she sits on the computer, engrossed in her own virtual world as the sun shines through the windows, indicative of a beautiful day. I feel angered by the idea of kindergarteners having their own iPads and the fact that studies have shown that more than 33% of kids under two use tablets and smartphones, and I feel as if technology is slowly robbing kids of a proper childhood.

Emily Brown ’18