Are We Locked in a Virtual World?

As we move from television watching to newer technologies, we enter the applications of The Virtual World. This includes gaming and even finding your “Second Life.” It is fascinating, fun, and even addictive. It becomes time consuming, as we escape our anxieties and fears.
As I became a funky Avatar in my own second life mode, and noticed nearly 1 million on line at that same moment around the globe, I had a horrifying thought. It was late afternoon, central time. Many of the million had to be teenagers and young adults who were spending their time locked into imaginative fascination, rather than developing their own imaginative, creative mind.
How does one develop a creative mind? It is through participation in after school athletic and mind engaging activities (like debate, orchestra, chorus, school editorial journalism, theater, and scholarly clubs), studying, creative writing, and reading books. Instead, how many are texting and in their virtual world, escaping future responsibilities of preparing for their lifetime work professions?
What happens? They will live a mediocre lifestyle, bored to death.
How can this be changed? Parents will need to monitor and coach their own children’s schoolwork and activities like many do industriously now. Yet, many do not. It is easy to avoid, as it requires hard work, self-discipline, and focus.
For example, a few years ago, I walked into a California library with my six year old grand- daughter to pick out some colorful picture books. We walked out carrying the allocated five loaned story books, walking next to another seven-year-old girl leaving with a stack of five thick novels, one of them, noticeably, “War and Peace,” by Leo Tolstoy. The library was full of students studying after school in earnest. No one was texting.
What is going on here? I did have my own children reading recognized literature going into first grade. I do not remember exactly how I did it, except I read to them daily, and had them reading as well aloud, back to me. They recited poems. They engaged in creative writing, even poetry and playwriting.
What happened? When they entered first grade, they were ahead of the rest of the class and reprimanded to stay with the average, and to read at a much lower level. Parents were asked not to intrude. Differentiating students would require too much time.
Today, it is a different story; parents can and must take charge. It is easier to do now than years before, as we now have the internet with many exciting options for advanced learners and solutions for those who struggle. There are many programs for acceleration, as “remedial” is an unwanted, unnecessary, labeling term.
There will soon be new, virtual parent websites to follow your child’s learning progress, and with recommended homework assignments that is well worth their time. Their assessments and measurements can be checked, monitored, and improved. They will reach mastery levels sooner. A child will not have to be raised haphazardly, or left without supervision. You can now follow your child more closely than having them live in a pretend, virtual second life.
Today many students are locked into a pretend, virtual world rather than developing their own creative minds through challenging academic and athletic after-school activities, requiring self-discipline. This article encourages parents how to monitor and develop their own child to new academic heights.

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