Clicking good times!

Our Teen Sponganalist Min is a secondary 2 student with CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' School. This is her perspective on the need for kids to attain study-life balance through the computer.


“GET OFF THE COMPUTER NOW, I SAY!”

And there she goes again! Does this not ring a bell to you? Maybe already feeling guilty? It's the agony of most teenagers, the same situation I am in. - the mothers or fathers (usually former) are constantly on our back asking us to get off the computer, stop playing those useless computer games, stop chit-chatting and the list just goes on and on. Empathy?

To all parents (whom we dearly adore, really) this is the new digital age where almost everything revolves around the Internet. Not Hop-scotch, ‘Zero Points’, Four Stones and Monopoly.

I am a 14-year-old teen currently involved in a deep relationship that my parents strongly disapprove of, and of my partner, the computer. Our relationship has always been a mind-boggling problem for them who view my love as a distraction from their much loved relationship with our studies and grades.

We are children and crave for entertainment just like adults who spend hours on Korean drama and crying! Entertainment is our source of relaxation especially after long hours of school work. We need a break too!

Ok, a serious note. What are the reasons for our love of the computer and its “abilities”?
  • Firstly, computer gaming gives us a sense of accomplishment each time we emerge victorious after a round. When our studies put us down leaving us frustrated, we turn to these computer games to lift our spirits...and that will indeed help us to concentrate on our studies.
  • Secondly, most of us have a blog with or without our parents’ knowledge. Some parents might say that blogging is a time-wasting exercise but a blog is really a diary in online format where we share our thoughts, our lives and comment on the happenings around us. Also, at times when we cannot find a companion to share our problems and feelings, the blog does it for us! It’s our way of venting our frustrations too. I bet if we were to write in a diary in the old-fashioned way, we will be applauded for being good children.
  • Thirdly, chatting over MSN Instant Messaging (IM) and Facebook community networking are probably deemed as avenues where children squander their time talking rubbish and doing unnecessary “crapping”. From our perspective, after getting really exhausted from all the school work, examination preparation, CCA commitments, continuous lessons, long hours in the school and tuition, we need a place to hang loose! With MSN, we get to chill out with our friends after a busy day at school, catch up on things that we missed, crack jokes and just get “high” with each other’s company. Although it might take a bit of our time, such time-outs are actually much needed and essential for us to have our little fun during our teenage years. Think about the pubs that adults hang out, the long dinners or high teas taken with friends or perhaps a hobby like golfing that can take up the entire day.

As for Facebook, we get to “poke” each other, play games together, upload pictures, beat people’s high scores, join groups that support a certain activity (e.g. World Poverty Day), create groups to allow friends to keep in contact and many more. All of these offer a ‘place’ for friends to communicate and enjoy each other without leaving the comfort of our homes, so why not? At least the parents get to see us!

Students at our age need time to interact and widen our social circle. Often our busy schedules do not give ourselves sufficient breathing space for study-life balance (similar to adult’s work-life balance). All work no play makes Jack a dull boy! So parents, give us a little freedom when we really deserve it - a breather, a time to relax and loosen up.