Back in December, I wrote this: that young people were stuck in a hard place where I wasn't stuck as a kid. I wrote that kids weren't allowed the freedom I and many of my peers had just to wander and explore. I additionally complained that kid-disliking adults then get on kids' cases because they don't go out and play, where I feel that kids can't, that kids aren't allowed to.
I'm not the only one who's complained about this. From the L.A. Times:
But today, for most middle-class American children, "going out to play" has gone the way of the dodo, the typewriter and the eight-track tape. From 1981 to 1997, for instance, University of Michigan time-use studies show that 3- to 5-year-olds lost an average of 501 minutes of unstructured playtime each week; 6- to 8-year-olds lost an average of 228 minutes. (On the other hand, kids now do more organized activities and have more homework, the lucky devils!) And forget about walking to school alone. Today's kids don't walk much at all (adding to the childhood obesity problem).
Increasingly, American children are in a lose-lose situation. They're forced, prematurely, to do all the un-fun kinds of things adults do (Be over-scheduled! Have no downtime! Study! Work!). But they don't get any of the privileges of adult life: autonomy, the ability to make their own choices, use their own judgment, maybe even get interestingly lost now and then.
Somehow, we've managed to turn childhood into a long, hard slog. Is it any wonder our kids take their pleasures where they can find them, by escaping to "Grand Theft Auto IV" or the alluring, parent-free world of MySpace?
I found this, by the way, via my first real look over at Boing Boing Dot Net; I saw co-editor Cory Doctorow at Pi-Con this weekend, and later found that he had linked to a Caitlin R. Kiernan blog entry about her and her partner humglum getting harassed at H.P. Lovecraft's grave.