Thursday, May 2, 2013

Jonathan Hobin: In The Playroom

I love my Yahoo! articles and this one I read this morning was really interesting. Jonathan Hobin is a photographer from Ottawa and he did a series of photos where children reenacted various shocking news headlines. Here's a video to watch.

I thought the collection was really good, and if you go to his website you can see the whole collection titled In The Playroom.

Something that really stuck with me from his interview was when he said that children learn through play and they learn to process things by reenacting them. It's so true. When you watch a child play house, a girl pretending to be a mom doesn't act like a stereotypical mom, she acts like her mom because she doesn't know anything else.

When I think about the world today, I think this is the new normal. Bombings, random public shoot-outs, threat of war... it's really the new normal. Hobin says that children might be better equipped to survive the emotional side of what's happening at this age then we are as adults. They don't know any other world. It's a scary time we live in, but the world has always been scary, just for different reasons. Every generation thinks the next generation has it worse off.

I think Hobin's photographs are funny, yet they give me chills. The pictures are so detailed, I just have to laugh out loud, and the look on all the children's faces is super eerie. Why not play 9/11? Why not play a nice game of make believe cult? Kids already play fantasy war games and superhero games, and those are just as violent and scary as the news headlines depicted in Hobin's work.

The content of the Saturday morning cartoons have come a long way, (ACME anvils anyone? - Another post on that later) but try as we might, children are still exposed to the real horrors of the world and we can't shield them from everything. Nor should we. I'll admit, it would be weird if I saw some kids reenacting The Boston Marathon bombing while playing at the park, but that shouldn't stop us from explaining the news to our kids in a way that will enlighten them.

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