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Old 03-18-2012, 08:31 AM
 
Location: Granby, CT sometimes NH.
2,770 posts, read 2,893,863 times
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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?

 
Old 03-18-2012, 09:35 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle, originally from SF Bay Area
14,446 posts, read 17,381,414 times
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Electronics are a major factor. Kids at age 10 given their own android or i-phone can communicate with their friends while sitting at home in front of the xbox or play station. It's an unfortunate result of parents who don't know how to say no when told "everybody else has one." Add to that the fear of lawsuits. When I was a kid we'd go use the swings at the local school, now you do not find swings any more. If a kid climbs a tree the owner will get upset, fearing a broken arm and lawsuit. To me the biggest result of this is going to be when the smartphone generation reaches working age, and lack the ability to use their imagination and creativity for new products, methods and processes. The play that you speak of is where they learn such abilities through a desire to entertain themselves with what is available.
 
Old 03-18-2012, 09:58 AM
 
Location: Toronto
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Well, I certainly played in the ways you described when I was a kid and I am not that old (up to the turn of the millenium, when I was an adolescent). Then again, perhaps I was the last generation not to have something like the iPhone etc. (video games for sure were popular when I was a kid in the 90s, though I "grew out of it" as a teen). I most certainly climbed up a tree or two at least (successfully ).

While what you say may be true as a greater trend, I do still see kids in the park and stuff every time I take a walk around some neighbourhoods and still saw some kids playing street hockey, playing soccer or riding bikes (can't compare how many of them do it with my memory though) so at least it's not like nobody is doing it.

I do perhaps notice a little bit of old street/neighbourly/community activity no longer existing (such as a community "fun fair" in summer that existed in a neighbourhood where I lived as a kid no longer around) but I have no idea if that's part of the larger trend for kids to spend less time outdoors or anything (could be).
 
Old 03-18-2012, 04:45 PM
 
2,737 posts, read 1,081,789 times
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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 think there are a lot of reasons.

1. Dual career families. Mom is no longer home during the day, and neither are the kids. They either at school, or daycare.

2. Everyone is afraid that their kids will be abducted, if they let them play outside - especially outside of their own yard.

3. There are too many indoor distractions and activities.


I grew up on a farm, in the 60s. There was NOTHING to do in the house, but eat and sleep. Even when we weren't doing chores, we were outside exploring, rummaging through the grove, going down to the creek, etc. I honestly believe that kids would still play outside if parents didn't make bedrooms into amusement parks.
 
Old 03-18-2012, 04:53 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles County, CA
29,010 posts, read 9,963,267 times
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Parents don't let their children go trick-or-treating in the neighborhood anymore either.- probally for the same reason they don't kick the kids out of the house at 10 A.M. on Saturday morning following the TV cartoons and order them to not come back in until 5:30 - except for lunch. I wasn't quite ordered to stay out of the house - but my mother would ask "Why are inside?- Go outside!" I suppose parents are too scared about kidnappers, bad drivers, or maybe they don't teach their children how to get along without their supervision. The video games and Iphones are certainly a factor. Also kids have pressure put on them to get straight A's - maybe they don't have time to play outside because they are always studying. There is nothing wrong with doing well in school - but kids need to be allowed to be kids - they aren't robots.

Anyone remember drinking from the garden hose? This is a great song - if you are over 30 - this song should make you nostalgic.


Bucky Covington - A Different World - YouTube
 
Old 03-18-2012, 04:54 PM
 
Location: Toronto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big George View Post
I think there are a lot of reasons.

1. Dual career families. Mom is no longer home during the day, and neither are the kids. They either at school, or daycare.

2. Everyone is afraid that their kids will be abducted, if they let them play outside - especially outside of their own yard.

3. There are too many indoor distractions and activities.
Hmm... I often came home from school unsupervised (this was the 90s) with neither parent at home -- regularly walked home from school in grade school since at least the age of 8 or 9, and sometimes spent time outdoors for hours (if it was good weather out, such as in spring, summer etc.) around the neighbourhood, with my friend etc. I often stayed at friends' places when it was convenient (I had friends that lived within half-hour walk or bike) too.

This wasn't even that long ago. I do recall though concerns about abductions were there (back then in the early to mid 90s lots of police officers came to school to talk/warn about not getting into cars with strangers or getting tricked or to always walk in places where other people can hear you if you call for help, as well as government ads geared to kids about not opening the door when home alone etc.).
 
Old 03-18-2012, 04:56 PM
 
Location: Toronto
3,339 posts, read 2,924,512 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harrier View Post
bad drivers
Is this one really something that has changed (in the past few decades)? I never thought bad drivers hitting kids would have been an increasingly alarming risk more than say, in the 60s, 70s, 80s etc.

I always got the impression it was concern about safety by kidnappers etc. (though I don't know if unusually high numbers of incidents triggered the attitude or something in the decades recently? )
 
Old 03-18-2012, 05:12 PM
 
Location: Fredericksburg, Va
2,498 posts, read 6,905,509 times
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We spent almost every waking hour outdoors....riding bikes, building forts, playing games, skating....our parents weren't concerned unless we didn't show for dinner. Ahh, the good ole days! Now, everyone is SOOOOO worried about their kids...someone might take them (they'll give 'em back!!) or they might cut their knee riding bikes...jungle gyms have rubber bases so no one gets hurt....
We learned to use our imagination, learned not to fall on hard surfaces, and weren't kidnapped!
With all the "interactive" toys nowadays, there's no reason for a child to think for themselves. It is sad!
 
Old 03-18-2012, 05:40 PM
 
Location: Chicago
4,162 posts, read 4,617,476 times
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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?

My kids do every one of these things all the time... And so do their friends. In fact, I believe they have done all the above things in the last 24 hours. Right now, they are with a group of neighborhood kids playing street hockey outside. They also ride their bikes, walk, or rollerblade to/from school most days. They ice skate in the pond in our backyard and ski in the forest preserve down the street. They are constantly building forts inside and outside the house. They have even fallen out of their share of trees (big fans of tree climbing).

I know a lot of people feel as you do, but I have not seen this behavior with my kids, their friends, or in our neighborhood which is filled with kids playing outside. I don't know, maybe we live in some sort of utopia (midwest suburbs) compared to other areas? Or maybe people are romanticizing the past?

Last edited by GoCUBS1; 03-18-2012 at 05:57 PM..
 
Old 03-18-2012, 05:48 PM
 
3,122 posts, read 1,984,043 times
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Kids don't play in the street anymore, but they do play in local parks and in fenced in backyards. The difference now is people are way concerned about safety so most kids are only allowed to roam in an enclosed space or while under supervision.

Also, most preshools and elementary schools have outside recess unless it is raining heavily or below freezing. It's considered a best practice for the reasons the OP described... play is now considered part of learning.
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