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A vast change has overtaken suburbia in the past two generations. The archetypal suburb was first and foremost because that's where people moved to raise families. Lawns and parks and lots of other families with children defined the suburb as a children's paradise. In the cultural mythos of the American Dream, childhood proceeds along the lines of the Little Rascals or Dennis the Menace or the Berenstain Bears: long days playing outside with other children, building clubhouses and forts, jumping rope and playing hopscotch, catching frogs and turtles, biking all over the place . . . pickup games of baseball and tag . . . tea parties with the other girls . . . sledding and snowball fights. Children were seldom at home. They were at a neighbor's house, or over at the playground, or the vacant lot, or down by the pond. It didn't matter as long as they were back for dinner. Until recently, play was outdoors, public, and free of charge.
Where are the children now? This is the question I asked myself one winter Saturday as I walked through the empty suburban streets and past the deserted playgrounds of my home town. Finally I saw a tiny figure dressed in a pink snowsuit, a little girl standing at the edge of her yard, waist deep in the snow. She dipped her mitten into the snow for a taste. Four hundred families in this neighborhood, most of them with children, and only a single five-year-old outdoors on a Saturday afternoon. And I cannot imagine her staying there very long, alone in the snow, the stillness broken only by the passing cars and that odd-looking lone pedestrian. Her life happens indoors.
When my son Matthew was four or five, he wanted a pocket knife just like his big brother. I decided to give him one, explaining carefully, "This knife is sharp, Matthew, and if you are not careful you will cut yourself." What happened? He was not careful, of course, and he cut himself. Not too seriously, but it hurt and there was blood. What did he learn from this? For one thing, he learned that knives are indeed dangerous—on their own merits, and not because one might get caught using one without permission. The second thing Matthew learned is that Dad is one smart dude. Dad was right about the knife. When Dad says something might happen, it's a good idea to listen.
No matter how deeply and thoroughly we frighten children with our power to invoke their survival anxiety, their natural curiosity and compulsion to test limits will eventually provoke them to "try it anyway," often in secret. When they find, as is often the case, that the consequences aren't as bad as their parents said they were, then parental authority loses all credibility. They find that no one loses an eye when they throw a paper airplane indoors, that they can smoke marijuana and not wake up in a crack house, that reading Harry Potter does not lead to Satanic ritual sacrifice. Now the stage is set for tragedy. On the one hand, they have always been insulated from the real consequences of their actions. On the other hand, the imposed substitute consequences (punishments) are no longer effective, because the wily teenager easily evades them by deceiving authority, not by abstaining from the behavior. The result is that the teenager acts as if he were immortal or invulnerable, and lies to his parents about everything he does.
Originally posted by spellbound
I think that we are damaging our children with too much technology.
Apart from the fact that I am very concerned about the see-through walls scenario that has been discussed, I am worried that our teenagers are into technology more than they are into each other.
Our babies and our young children are growing up brainwashed, ignorant about the history of the world. And people who are ignorant about history repeat bad history.
Do we teach our children racism? Yes. Do we teach our children warfare? Yes.
Do we teach our children to communicate with other people, face to face? No.
Originally posted by deltaalphanovember
When children started riding bicycles, they said "how terrible, now our children won't walk enough"
When they invented the typewriter, they said "how terrible, now our children won't write enough"
When they invented the personal computer, they said "how terrible, now our children won't think enough"
It's called Technological Progress - some will evolve and adapt. Some will not.
Those that do will inherit the earth.