Why is online shopping bad for children ?
Advent of internet shopping has boosted the informed buying power of all families middle class up. Or is it that money power has boosted the online shopping market? Either way, it’s time to calmly sit down and think of the relevance for children, of this quick buzz way of accumulating junk at the click of a button. At least for our monthly consumption and items that are available in India, in shops, online shopping is best avoided due to the following reasons.
- the decision is usually instinctive by adults around and not weighted against enviro-friendly options of reduce and reuse.
- The packaging is never kind on the environment.
- Children do not physically or spatially evaluate the product before purchase.
- Local products from small vendors are not considered in this skewed economy
- The interdependence in society, hard work of humans is not seen.
- Minimalism is given a go by as these items adorn shelves and then enter lofts to remain there for years.
- Family budgeting and shopping lists were ways of improving children’s understanding of life and responsible living. It was a quality time (now hailed therapy time) where the family meets and decides the month’s funds vs needs to be met. Online shopping now has made it redundant.
- Instant gratification seems to be the order of the day. Within a day or two what they wished, at whatever cost, is seen at their doorstep, with replacement guarantees sometimes that works against careful handling.
- Children wait for gifts and parcels instead of letters from loved ones. Wants have superseded needs and excesses have filled in vacuums created by lack of love and warmth.
For children to know the glory of hard work and the synchronised work of the hand and mind, it is important to plan each purchase to the maximum extent possible, creating family wish lists , discussing it’s needed, relevance, its eco footprint and if the decision is to still buy, then, saving up for it during the month, and purchasing it along with the monthly purchase outlay during the first week of the month. Delaying purchase of non consumable items to the first week, will set a pattern of planning for the child.In the end, we walk the talk of simplicity and responsibility when we choose to meet a small local shop, buy something with goodwill of the shop owner, that won’t rip our pockets surreptitiously, like online shopping does most of the time.
– Vidya Shankar
Founder, Mentor, Elem Main Guide & Adolescent Studies Guide