Children get bored easily when they have "spare time". Many "helicopter parents" fill their child's every waking hour with extracurricular activities. But allowing them to be bored now and then can be a good thing, as it lets them develop their own passions and different life skills. The British Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, suggests that parents should let their children relax and play freely. They should do more constructive tasks such as writing journals or doing jigsaw puzzles. And they should not be allowed to play on computers and watch TV all the time.
My parents allow me to spend my spare time freely. However, my friends and I often choose to play computer games or watch Korean drama or Japanese anime. But now I have decided to spend my spare time doing more constructive activities, like playing Monopoly with friends or doing voluntary work, so that I can have a better relationship with others and develop a healthier lifestyle. I hope my friends join me and don't rely on gadgets to fill their every waking moment.
Karen Hsu, St Paul School (Lam Tin)
Thank you for your letter, Karen. I think you must be the only teenager in Hong Kong who claims to have spare time! But jokes aside, you are right when you say that spending time playing computer games and watching TV can be a waste of time. I think that board games are great and doing things with friends is also a good idea. But personally I miss the idea of just playing. When did children lose their imagination?
Children in other countries are able to play a whole range of games with each other. These are completely unstructured and unsupervised. They also have the time and space - such as a garden - to do it. These days it seems children rely on other people to provide an imagination for them. Now that could be really boring.