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Old 03-21-2012, 03:21 PM
 
Location: Northern Appalachia
4,666 posts, read 5,829,758 times
Reputation: 5340

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lincolnian View Post
Why don't kids play anymore? Drive through many neighborhoods even on the weekends and it's not uncommon to see few if any kids playing outside. 30 years ago the streets were filled with bicycles, kids were climbing trees, building forts, playing wiffle ball, Frisbee, touch football, street hockey in the streets.

I'm a teacher and have shared some of these stories with my students. They look at me oddly when I talk about kids climbing trees. Some ask why?

Has the surreal video game environments, thrill-based amusements, etc., stolen childhood from our children or is more systemic?
I have recently had this same discussion several times with different people and they all agree. I live on the outskirts of a small town. I rarely see kids on bikes. I rarely see kids in my neighborhood unless they are walking with their parents. When I was growing up, we roamed miles from home. In the evening we played kickball, dodgeball, wiffleball and football. when it got dark we played hide and seek.

In addition to video games, another big difference is organized sports, dance and gymnastics. When I was growing up the choices were limited. We had Little League baseball, midget football and Boy Scouts. My kids particpated in travel soccer and AAU basketball. There is lacrosse and ice hockey, and girls now participate in all of these sports except football. Many of these sports have extended seasons. My kids rarely had a time when they weren't playing at least one sport and often had overlapping seasons. Many kids are away on weekends traveling to sports tournaments. This was unheard of when I was growing up.

Sports has created a major division among youth with one group that participates extensively year round, and the remaining youth who don't do anything. These groups rarely engage in athletic activity with one another such as pickup games on the street or backyard since the athletes are usually at practice. The split is very obvious in coed phys ed. classes at the secondary level. The girl athletes are much more competitive than many of the boys. These boys now spend all of their time playing video games or in more rural areas, they spend their time on four-wheelers or dirt bikes.

 
Old 03-21-2012, 03:46 PM
 
Location: Chicago
5,412 posts, read 8,277,963 times
Reputation: 6347
Quote:
Originally Posted by villageidiot1 View Post
I have recently had this same discussion several times with different people and they all agree. I live on the outskirts of a small town. I rarely see kids on bikes. I rarely see kids in my neighborhood unless they are walking with their parents. When I was growing up, we roamed miles from home. In the evening we played kickball, dodgeball, wiffleball and football. when it got dark we played hide and seek.

In addition to video games, another big difference is organized sports, dance and gymnastics. When I was growing up the choices were limited. We had Little League baseball, midget football and Boy Scouts. My kids particpated in travel soccer and AAU basketball. There is lacrosse and ice hockey, and girls now participate in all of these sports except football. Many of these sports have extended seasons. My kids rarely had a time when they weren't playing at least one sport and often had overlapping seasons. Many kids are away on weekends traveling to sports tournaments. This was unheard of when I was growing up.

Sports has created a major division among youth with one group that participates extensively year round, and the remaining youth who don't do anything. These groups rarely engage in athletic activity with one another such as pickup games on the street or backyard since the athletes are usually at practice. The split is very obvious in coed phys ed. classes at the secondary level. The girl athletes are much more competitive than many of the boys. These boys now spend all of their time playing video games or in more rural areas, they spend their time on four-wheelers or dirt bikes.
Good points... My kids participate in all these organized year-round sports too (travel soccer, AAU ball, travel ice hockey, Little League) and they do spend a lot of time at practice/tournaments.

As organized sports is starting at a younger age, I do think there is a bigger divide between the athletes and the non-athletes. The organized sports have many benefits including fostering strong friendships (cliques?) between the athletes. However, this may result in excluding some kids from the neighborhood game. My kids will run outside to meet their friends (e.g. from their AAU team) to play a pickup game of bball at the neighboring park. But it may not occur to them to invite other kids in the neighborhood as they haven't built the relationship with them through sports and/or these other kids are seen as the video-game playing crowd. I have heard boys talk about other kids as boring, lazy kids who play video games all day. The kids are judging each other as much as many of the adults on this thread.

I also agree the split is very obvious in Phys Ed. classes. Nowadays, with earlier sport participation, there seem to be so many more incredibly good athletes at younger ages. But there also seem to be many more unhealthy, obese children in gym class as well - kids who have difficulty running a few feet. I don't know how these gym teachers handle these huge ranges in abilities.
 
Old 03-23-2012, 11:10 AM
 
44,548 posts, read 43,091,728 times
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I will admit it. I was kind of raised soft in some ways. I was a kid in the 90s. I was active, but within certain limits. My father didn't really trust most people in the neighborhood. He doesn't come from the "neighbors look after other neighbor's kids" school of thought. My mother would often say "don't go to the creek". Same with my father. I was allowed to play. However, it wasn't, "don't come back until dinner". It was more "check in every hour". I could ride my bicycle around the subdivision. However, I couldn't leave the subdivision on my bicycle. The reason was because of where it was located. When you leave the subdivision, it is literally a two-lane road with no sidewalks and cars zipping by like NASCAR. My father never wanted me going to the creek because of the snakes. He didn't want me to get bitten by a snake or getting hurt. And my father was indeed afraid that someone might try to beat me up(I was the smallest kid in my class) or that I might get kidnapped.

I did organized sports, baseball specifically. However, none of the kids on my teams lived in the neighborhood with me. We were all in different subdivisions. Most kids in my subdivision were into skateboarding, not baseball. For this reason, a pickup game was a rarity, if at all.
 
Old 03-23-2012, 11:32 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
24,717 posts, read 59,563,864 times
Reputation: 26822
Quote:
Originally Posted by green_mariner View Post
I will admit it. I was kind of raised soft in some ways. I was a kid in the 90s. I was active, but within certain limits. My father didn't really trust most people in the neighborhood. He doesn't come from the "neighbors look after other neighbor's kids" school of thought. My mother would often say "don't go to the creek". Same with my father. I was allowed to play. However, it wasn't, "don't come back until dinner". It was more "check in every hour". I could ride my bicycle around the subdivision. However, I couldn't leave the subdivision on my bicycle. The reason was because of where it was located. When you leave the subdivision, it is literally a two-lane road with no sidewalks and cars zipping by like NASCAR. My father never wanted me going to the creek because of the snakes. He didn't want me to get bitten by a snake or getting hurt. And my father was indeed afraid that someone might try to beat me up(I was the smallest kid in my class) or that I might get kidnapped.

I did organized sports, baseball specifically. However, none of the kids on my teams lived in the neighborhood with me. We were all in different subdivisions. Most kids in my subdivision were into skateboarding, not baseball. For this reason, a pickup game was a rarity, if at all.
That is intersting.

Like the other poster, we roamed for up to ten miles. We swam in gravel pits, wandered the woods, found or made jumps for our bicycles. We broke bones (not me), a few stiches, skinned knees, loads of bruises, got bitten by all kinds of different things. We wandered in and out of people's houses at will, grabbed whatever snacks or drinks they had out, usually said HI and went on our way. We had a game where we would climb a very tall skinny tree and get it swaying back and forth until it got close to another tall skinny tree which we would then grab and switch to then move on to the next tree and so on thereby traveling through the tops of the trees in the woods, it was fun. We built things, took things apart (like an old car we found abandoned inteh woods), climbed, explored an occaisional abandoned building or tunnel, played all kinds of hunt each other down war games. We also did some realyl crazy things like making major explosives and setting them off in the woods (Nitro, TNT, Gun cotton,all kinds of things). We did not play sports because there were not that many kids around and half of us disliked the other half and frequently fought with them. In the summer, we went out about 9 a.m. and returned around 10 p.m. Frequently, we stayed out all night and just slept in the woods, in a fort, or whereever we could find. I befreiended a fmaily of foxes and fed them every day (they bit me a few times at first). No one died, no major inuries and our parents probably had no idea what we did.

Can you imagne a kid going to school today and telling his teacher "We made Nitroglycerine last night and it worked great!" Instead of the techer being impressed and telling the kids never do that again (and maybe but probably not calling the parents), now Homeland security would kick the doors in, the kid would be arrested and the house woudl be confiscated. Even if the kid were evnetually released that whole family would be under survelliance for the next several years and there would be no possiblity of ever being allowed to return to that school.
 
Old 03-23-2012, 11:33 AM
 
2,401 posts, read 3,804,868 times
Reputation: 2169
My children still do that...
Especially in the summer.. they stay outdoors most everyday weather permitting.

They run wild (the good wild) on acres upon acres of farm land...
catch fish, crawfish, snapping turtles & frogs & swim in the family pond..
help harvest peas, strawberries, pull up radishes & turnips like in the storybook...
4X4 or bikes... go camping, hunting, building contained fires to roast marshmello in the back yard / occasional national parks...
My DD is a pretty good tree climber...
And lots more activities not mentioned (like milking cows at the farm, go foraging in the family forest, helping Grandpa pick apples & pears etc...)

My children don't play much at playgrounds or park enclosed areas (where climbing trees is probably a no-no for the park warden)...
They play "outside" in the country.
 
Old 03-23-2012, 01:26 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
478 posts, read 569,161 times
Reputation: 323
I don't know, I see kids playing outside all the time. Basketball, Football, Baseball, riding bikes, ect. Yes, with the new technolagy a lot of kids play video games and some have cell phones. So What? If people didn't want kids playing video games and texting on their cell phones, than why did they even come up with these inventions? I was born in 1992, so I'm 20. I know when I was a kid I played outside with my Tonka trucks, played sports, drew with chalk, went in the swimming pool, all of that kid stuff. I also played video games and watched TV. Like I said I still see kids who do the same thing when I was a child. Also, a lot of sports are organized now and done through school or some organiztion. So you may not always see the kids playing because they're doing it at their school versus in the neighborhood. So if your not in those groups, it's hard for kids nowadays to start pickup games in the street because there is never enough to start one, but that goes more along with my previous sentance imo. Actually in my case, if I never played video games, I never would have gotten into sports. I didn't really like basketball and football til I played the video games, now I'm a huge sports fan and I occasionally go to the gym and shot the basketball around. Are you sure theres just not very many kids in your neighborhood?
 
Old 03-23-2012, 02:40 PM
 
Location: Great Falls, VA
771 posts, read 1,153,717 times
Reputation: 1285
I have to admit sometimes I wonder how I didn't end up getting hurt with some of the things I did. Things that, to be honest, I wouldn't allow my kids to do. Of course my mom didn't know I was doing them...and I wasn't even allowed to roam free for miles, I remember anything beyond my subdivision was off-boundaries. My experience as a kid makes me feel confident that children don't break easily and that there is no need to hover around them and supervise their every move, but it also makes me think you cannot confuse that with becoming an irresponsible parent who lets them do whatever they want. There has to be a middle ground.
 
Old 03-23-2012, 02:47 PM
 
44,548 posts, read 43,091,728 times
Reputation: 14373
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
That is intersting.

Like the other poster, we roamed for up to ten miles. We swam in gravel pits, wandered the woods, found or made jumps for our bicycles. We broke bones (not me), a few stiches, skinned knees, loads of bruises, got bitten by all kinds of different things. We wandered in and out of people's houses at will, grabbed whatever snacks or drinks they had out, usually said HI and went on our way. We had a game where we would climb a very tall skinny tree and get it swaying back and forth until it got close to another tall skinny tree which we would then grab and switch to then move on to the next tree and so on thereby traveling through the tops of the trees in the woods, it was fun. We built things, took things apart (like an old car we found abandoned inteh woods), climbed, explored an occaisional abandoned building or tunnel, played all kinds of hunt each other down war games. We also did some realyl crazy things like making major explosives and setting them off in the woods (Nitro, TNT, Gun cotton,all kinds of things). We did not play sports because there were not that many kids around and half of us disliked the other half and frequently fought with them. In the summer, we went out about 9 a.m. and returned around 10 p.m. Frequently, we stayed out all night and just slept in the woods, in a fort, or whereever we could find. I befreiended a fmaily of foxes and fed them every day (they bit me a few times at first). No one died, no major inuries and our parents probably had no idea what we did.

Can you imagne a kid going to school today and telling his teacher "We made Nitroglycerine last night and it worked great!" Instead of the techer being impressed and telling the kids never do that again (and maybe but probably not calling the parents), now Homeland security would kick the doors in, the kid would be arrested and the house woudl be confiscated. Even if the kid were evnetually released that whole family would be under survelliance for the next several years and there would be no possiblity of ever being allowed to return to that school.
All that stuff you mentioned, my father wouldn't have ever let happen. I guess it's because I grew up relatively sheltered. In my house, no BB guns, no paintball guns, none of that. I never knew where to get TNT, nitro, or any of that stuff. The irony was this: When I was in the 6th grade, a teenager came up and shot me with a paintball gun. No parental supervision, and a paintball gun meant he just opened fire on me as some kind of joke.

My father, to this day, will not buy fireworks because he believes they are dangerous. He is a baby boomer. He also doesn't think like alot of parents. He wanted his children to come home in one piece. For that reason, some things I never did.
I could imagine homeland security doing something like that. That is why my father would tell me "be careful what you look at on the internet, be careful what you write" and stuff like that.
I climbed trees when I was young. I never went up skinny trees because they scared me.
 
Old 03-24-2012, 12:21 AM
 
Location: West Jordan, UT
973 posts, read 1,800,806 times
Reputation: 589
Hubby & I have complained we don't see enough people outside here on a nice day. We went walking w/ the kids & dogs, & hardly anyone else was out. However, in our neighborhood, we have a boat load of kids. There are a bunch that are 5-10yo (my kids are 7 & 8) , so, they have plenty of playmates. =) My across the street neighbor was out w/ her boyfriend until after dark, & my son was riding his bike over their ramp w/ her son, & 3 other friends. =)

When it gets 'busy', I'll have 20 or more kids in our front yard & sidewalk, boys & girls, all around the same age. The kids all live w/in a few homes of each other, go to school together, boy & girl scouts, &, the sports, we have so many kids, most leagues have a 'team' w/ kids from our neighborhood. & I know all the parents too. I really love it here. =)
 
Old 03-26-2012, 05:16 PM
 
703 posts, read 956,867 times
Reputation: 458
They play in england. Kids are always outside playing ball games on the nearest open space. Unfortunately a couple of old fart widows who have nothing better to do than be angry at everything are always chasing them off. They've even put up signs saying 'no ball games' and 'playing not allowed' and threaten to call the police if they play near their homes

The irony is, ball games in a public open space are probably totally legal, but putting up signs saying theyre not is probably illegal.
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