I think back to the days of growing up in the "hood" when children interacted with each other. We spent our youth by playing hide and seek, kickball, dodge ball, tag, hopscotch, jump rope, four square, and many other games like marbles, jacks, Quaker's meeting and when it rained we got on the telephone and organized a place to play board games at someone's house for the afternoon. On days when the girl's did their thing, we played with Barbie dolls while the boys did who knows what! The thought of being cooped up in the house alone only happened when we were sick or on restriction. Regardless of the weather, we wanted to be outside with each other. When it was cold and snowing, we rode our sleds and ice skated and when it was summer we went to the public pool and found stuff to do outside in the sun.
I often wonder why and when exactly those days stopped and the isolation began. Was it a gradual change or did it happen overnight? I often wonder how the decline in the sale of board games matches up to the rise in sales of electronic games. Is there a direct correlation between the two? I guess as electronics took root, children's attention and focus turned from each other and towards a world of imaginary creatures where one didn't have to go looking for an adventure because the adventure came to you at the flip of a switch. I often wonder why parents allowed electronic gadgets to become a babysitter, a friend and an entertainer. What we learned as children about teamwork, dispute resolution and organizational skills dwindled away and was replaced by the solitude a child now finds comfort in. It seems children no longer play outside and I hear adults claim it's because it's so unsafe to be outside. Has allowing children's lives to change so drastically created a generation of socially awkward human beings who have social anxiety issues? Have we given children an easy excuse to be clumsy, couch potatoes?
I won't dispute the safety factor, but I do know there is safety in numbers and being so isolated stunts a child's social development and skills. How can a child learn how to properly interact with others if doing so is never encouraged? Has it become easier for parents to just buy the newest electronics for their children instead of insisting they spend time outside playing games with their friends or would doing that brand the child as being the neighborhood outcast? Play outside? What's that all about? Who would trust someone who plays outside and has fun doing it? Have we raised a generation of freaks and geeks who are addicted to electronic crack?