The name evokes visions of the countryside and its wildlife and rightly so as “Rabbit Run”, a marathon designed exclusively for children between 3 and 14 years of age on January 13 in Cubbon Park, is intended to wean them away from technology and introduce them to the joys of nature.
The man behind it, Shriram Ramdas, is an entrepreneur, who wants to show children that there’s more to life than fancy devices and computer screens. “Rabbit Run” is the first of many such upcoming projects he has up his sleeve as he believes that once a child is addicted to technology it can have dangerous repercussions.
“I have three children, all of whom have severe restrictions on screen time at home. They are only allowed about an hour of watching TV on the weekends and my wife and I try to keep them away from screens as much as possible as we understand the consequence of excessive exposure to them,” he says.
“Technology is extremely addictive and getting accustomed to it from a young age makes it all the more difficult to get off it, which can be dangerous. We want to introduce and raise awareness of concepts such as exercise among children and show them that it can be fun and not a chore,” he explains.
His concern is not misplaced as according to research touch-screens and gadgets have become the most preferable toys of the younger generation. A study by the Michael Cohen Group from New York reveals that 60 per cent of children under the age of 12 often play on a portable screen, and 38 per cent play on it very often.
As researchers note, there is a significant difference between children growing up in the 21st century and in the 20th as instead of playing with sand and football on the streets, or on the swings in a playground, children today prefer technology as a pastime.
Mr. Ramdas, who is hoping to do his bit to reverse this trend, has years of experience to call upon as he has been managing a franchise called The Little Gym , an exercise-oriented space for children that hopes to build confidence and fitness among them using gymnastics. “Ultimately, running is something that comes naturally to every child irrespective of his or her circumstances. It is their natural instinct in their homes, on playgrounds, schools, and so on. At the end of the day, the fitter you are, the more scope you have of having different experiences in life. We want to align children with their instincts and help them achieve good health and fitness,” Mr. Ramdas sums up.
He is in good company as even Steve Jobs, the man behind Apple Inc. Which brought the world technological gifts like the iPad, iPhone , didn’t allow technology to take over his home.
American-British journalist, Nick Bilton talks of this in the New York Times in a piece from September 10th, 2014, saying, “Nothing shocked me more than something Mr. Jobs said to me in late 2010 after he had finished chewing me out for something I had written about an iPad shortcoming.”
“So, your kids must love the iPad?” I asked Mr. Jobs, trying to change the subject. The company’s first tablet was just hitting the shelves. “They haven’t used it,” he told me. “We limit how much technology our kids use at home.”
Microsoft creator, Bill Gates, too told UK’s “Mirror” in an interview in 2017, “You’re always looking at how it can be used in a great way - homework and staying in touch with friends - and also where it has gotten to excess.” The operative word here then is “excess” as technology, like anything else in the world, can be harmful if used too much. The key is to rein in its use and on Sunday the city will see a beginning made on this front....