With that I'll agree. I still remember when my then 3-year-old was visiting a lego store, and surprised the local builder with his technique for attaching plates at angles to build complex shapes -- the guy (whose job it was to build things out of lego) had never seen that before. That's not to say that learning about how modified physics models affect trajectory isn't useful, but it's always good to get a grip on the physics model we interact with ourselves first.
What happened to playing with matches?
The problem is that it's all the frickin' strike-on-box junk nowadays. Good old fashioned strike-anywhere matches are getting harder to find. You have to dig deep through grandma's junk drawer to find a box, and then you still have to sneak them out to the garage to see which of grandpa's mysterious cans of fluids are the most flammable.
Why play with matches? Just give the kid a flint and let them experiment....
I thought that, until I had a kid.
The problem is once they're about a year old, there's nothing to do with them. They can't talk, they aren't old enough to understand the concept of playing with someone else...all they can really do is run around and bang into stuff.
By the time they're 6 months old, you can start teaching sign language; by the time they're 1, they'll have a sign vocabulary of about 20 - 30 words, and be starting to talk, using signs to clarify what those talk-like sounds mean. When my kids were 1-2, I had a blast with them; we played games, danced to music, talked about the shapes of clouds, etc. And then, since they were still young, they got their afternoon nap and I had a chance to go and do other things. While they couldn't understand the concept of playing with someone else, they had no problems playing with someone who was interested in doing what they found interesting (which was often getting said person to build a tower of blocks so they could knock it over, or grabbing puppets off of people's hands and throwing them across the room).
And yes; both my kids figured out how to use a touchscreen by 18 months too... we learned to keep the locks on and keep the devices out of reach except for under supervised use for limited time.
It might be too late for you now, but I'd highly recommend looking up baby sign language; while your kid doesn't have the muscular dexterity to talk to you clearly, their mind is still full of interesting thoughts that they just don't know how to communicate.
It still bugs me that there are a few places where they could have designed geometries that would be "legal" connection locations, but didn't -- like the interior of modern wheel hubs, the slots in modern antenna bases, etc. But the tolerances are quite simply amazing... just look at Megablocks for someone who tried to duplicate it and didn't quite get there.
Also, LEGO can be used for building more than just models -- it can be used to create murals, signs, pencil holders, support equipment for other toys, etc. -- by the way, ornamentation on landscapes is what those little 1x1 bricks are really useful for; they add texture and color.
See previous comments; the LEGO piece catalog stabilized around a decade ago. All they do now is stencil new artwork on them for "themes".
The kits that used to be just a random collection of bricks are a lot harder to find today. Head over to Toys-R-Us and almost all of it (other than big blox things for toddlers) are specialized kits. Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Star Wars, etc. The lego kits we had in the 70s or 80s just aren't common at local stores.
If you're buying Lego from Toys-R-Us, you're doing it wrong.
Let me introduce you to http://vip.lego.com/ -- you can even order the pieces on your tablet.
The older lego kits are still there. You can get Educational Lego (which is the basic bricks), Space Lego is now Star Wars Lego (same stuff, just rebranded with some star wars specific pieces added), medieval Lego still exists, although they've changed the coats of arms, and Lego City still exists and is growing in parts selection.
After that, find your local Lego store, and get your missing pieces by hitting the pick-a-brick wall from time to time to get the pieces when they come available at a discount (you fill a slurpee-sized cup with whatever you want for a fixed price).
The issue is not the building blocks themselves, but the serious lack of coordination skills on the part of the children.
If you can't get a couple of blocks to snap together, how are you going to deal with tying your shoes?
I spent the better part of my kids' preschool years teaching them things like how to tie shoes, using a laceboard. Only problem is, they've never owned a pair of shoes that they've had to lace up. Shoes, ski bindings, ice skates/rollerblades etc... they all come without laces now. I doubt my kids remember how to lace/tie a shoe these days -- eventually they'll probably have to learn again, but maybe not. Laces might just die out except as an oddity; kind of like they have with dresses, pants, and other clothing.
For that matter, most people don't know how to use cuff links anymore either.
And it's not just lack of coordination; these kids know how to swipe a touch screen to pixel accuracy, so their small motor skills are definitely there; it's their tension/pressure skills that are lacking. As such, if they ever found a pair of laceup shoes, they'd probably have no difficulty tying them as instructed by their tablet's "101 knots" app.
the other sentence in the article that worried me was the mention that kids now have trouble memorizing even simple lines for a play, since they are used to information being easily always available so they aren't putting in the effort of learning it.
Isn't that the same argument for not allowing calculators in school?
And couldn't it be solved by giving the kids Google Glasses to prompt them while they're doing the play?
(that's meant as satire folks)
Electronics are a bad idea to use as a substitute for interaction in childhood, any rational adult knows that to be a fact.
How far back do you want to go?
Exposing children to new technology is a terrible idea.
An Egyptian legend relates that when the god Thoth revealed his invention of writing to King Thamos, the good King denounced it as the enemy of civilization. "Children and young people," protested the monarch, "who had hitherto been forced to apply themselves diligently to learn and retain whatever was taught them would cease to apply themselves and would neglect to exercise their memories."
Well, King Thamos was right. Memory retention has been going downhill ever since
The power plant -- just like in Diesel Electric trains; you have the electric engines that power the train and the power plant that powers the engines. Diesel fuel powers the power plant, and it in turn was powered by solar energy. The sun is powered by hydrogen fusion reactions; the hydrogen fuel was provided by gravitational attraction, which was powered by time and space.
I'll leave it up to the reader to determine who/what powered time and space.
I must be reading a different slashdot than you. The posts I've seen said things along the lines of "and then they're surpised when kids go columbine" and "this could make him go columbine" NOT "Hey! He should go columbine on their asses! That'd teach 'em!"
Now that we've got that addressed, let's move on to the second part. There's bullying, where pretty much every kid has been picked on at some point, and then there's chronic bullying, where it has become socially OK in the school setting to intentionally bully an individual. They are not the same thing. The first one is an annoyance and in some cases can become emotionally or behaviorally scarring, but if dealt with properly isn't that big a deal. The second one can reshape the victim, and is one of the nastiest things that humanity is capable of. For the victim, there's no escape from it. Ever. Even after they leave the school, that baggage sticks with them for the rest of their life. It's not something you "get over" -- it's something you learn to live with, over and over again.
Thankfully, I was always part of the first group -- but I had friends that were part of the second. Many of them are dead now (suicide, drug overdoses, car crashes, etc.). They all ended up with problems that needed to be addressed, but they'd been churned through a system that taught them that attempting to go to the authorities with their problems caused them more hurt and embarrassment without solving anything.
So why not address the root problem, and change attitudes towards chronic bullying? It's not something you just "get over".
the police bullying was that they deleted the audio recording. There was no video recording.
The victim has some other options:
4. Find some common interests with the bully outside of school, and attempt to form some sort of positive relationship with them based on this. Bullying will continue, but will slowly decline, to be replaced by you "belonging" to them (other bullies better stay away).
5. Socially navigate the bully into a situation where bullying you makes them look like an idiot. Bullying stops for the most part, as long as it was just for social status. Careful with this one, because if they just wanted a punching bag for other frustrations, they'll feel further humiliated and take it out on you when nobody else is around.
6. Join the debate club. Assertiveness training without physical intimidation. Good chance of getting into student leadership, and not likely to be bullied in the same way anymore (now you have to deal with political bullying, which is a completely different beast).
7. Find a bigger bully, and pander to their ego. Suddenly they're the only ones allowed to bully you.
8. Find one of the rare "protector of the weak" types and ask for help. Bullying stops, but everyone sees you as the lower than low weak kid, so you become a social pariah.
9. Do some research on your bully, find some dirt on them, and threaten to disclose it if the bullying continues
There are probably others, but these all have their place. The main thing is to first figure out WHY the bully is bullying you, and take corrective action from there.