Kids . . .

There was a time that seems so long ago.We were young and we used to do things outside. We were free to live and free to be kids. More importantly, we were free to explore. We were free to play, which above all was our best freedom ever.

We played games like kick the can and red light, green light.  There was hide and go seek.
Little girls skipped rope or played hopscotch or they tossed jacks. Boys roughhoused and swung on the monkey bars or on the swing sets. Whether it was dolls or action figures, whatever the choice was, we used to play back when we were kids  

I used to build club houses and forts with my friends. Everything we did was outside. There were no video games to rule our life. There was no such thing as X-box back then. We had Atari. We had Nintendo; sure, we had video games back then.
We even had video arcades, like the one we called Foosball on East Meadow Avenue or The Wiz, which was in the Pathmark Shopping Center on Front Street.
And sure, we played the machines. We used to play pinball all the time. Pac-Man was a big thing. There was Donkey Kong (of course) and there was Asteroids, Elevator Action. There was Frogger, Q-Bert, Mr. Do, and then there was the game Tron and Punch-Out, which was a boxing game that I remember.

True, we had video games but the world was much bigger to us back then.  We used to do things. We used to go outside because when we were kids, everything happened outside. No one ever wanted to go home or be home. We were always out because God forbid you weren’t out and you missed something that happened,

I speak with parents that tell me about their children. They tell me how their kids stay in their room and play video games all day. Everything is online these days and everyone is so sheltered in place. There is no freedom to dare, to go outside, to build a treehouse or a clubhouse, to run around or play hide and go seek.

I wonder if the idea to keep kids from going outside to play in order to keep our children safe has backfired. I wonder if technology is to blame or is it us.

Imagination is the best gift we have as human beings. Playing is essential. Toys are important. Above all, real interaction, real challenges, real socialization is essential for real living.

There are little kids with cell phones now. At best, there were beepers or pagers back when I was in my teens. No one had a cell phone. There are kids with cell phones before they can even read. Hell, I didn’t even have a television in my room until my teenage years.

Know what we did As kids? We called people on the phone, and I mean on a landline. We called them at home and if they weren’t there, we left them a message.
There were no text messages. The world was so much more personal then. These days, however, everything is over email.

I had a conversation with a student administrator about trying to create a wellness presentation in a school. Nothing came of the conversation really. But no one talks on the phone these days. At least, this is what I was told, Everything is through emails now, explained the student administrator.

Such an impersonal place we have become.

There are people working in Silicon Valley, building new technologies; however, these same people that build this are instructing their children to stay away from it. But why?

I’ll tell you why. It’s because they see how technology degrades the mind. They see how automated thinking replaces real thinking. You don’t have to imagine anymore. There is an app for nearly everything these days.

No one reads books anymore. Speaking of which, remember book stores? Yeah, well, so do I but more and more stores like this are becoming a thing of the past.

I asked a kid if he had ever gone to the library.
He asked me, what for?
He told me I can just go on my computer and find anything I want.

Literally, all the effort it took for us to learn as kids is being taken away from our children today. I wonder how helpful this is.

Even sex—
(please forgive me)

But think about it. Being young and curious, I had to work hard to find dirty magazines. I had to try hard to watch distorted television screens that manipulated the picture of say, like, a playboy channel. Meanwhile, if i saw a nipple it was the greatest thing in the world. I swear, I had to work hard to feed my dirty curiosities. And maybe this was a good thing

Kids today can click on a button. They can see anything they want and dirtier than we can imagine. I wonder if this is why they have become so desensitized to so many things like sex, death, and violence.

And bullies . . .

They not only bully physically anymore; cyber bullying is huge now. Rumors used to spread quickly by word of mouth but with social media, rumors can be worldwide in less than a second.

It’s a strange world we live in. I wonder if this is the same all over. I wonder if this is the plan we had for our children (or ourselves.)

Me, I want to sit and build. I want to dream. I want to imagine and create. I want to play games like hide and go seek or kickball (remember that?)

It would be nice to experience school recess one more time and go out in the playground. Just one more time

I’d go play right now if I could

Wouldn’t you?

I swear these kids today. They don’t know what they’re missing. But we do. And if this is the case and we see what our ids are missing, shouldn’t we do something about it?

I think so too . . .


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