Go play outside! Remember that?

Growing up in the 80’s, my childhood summers were spent playing outside.

I, along with my friends, would run the neighborhood.  Exploring every nook and cranny my little section of town had to offer.

The only rules?

  • Be Home for Dinner
  • Always Tell Mom Where I Am
  • If Mom Calls, I Better Hear Her

Sure, the obvious unspoken rules applied as well.

No Fighting, No Stealing, Don’t do anything that would get us killed.  

Those rules all came with “common sense”, something that is all too lacking in today’s world.

Something changed in the 90’s though.  Kids no longer came outside to play.  

I’ve especially noticed it in the parks.

When I was little, I can barely remember any times where the park behind my house was empty.  I could almost always run into a friend or two playing on the monkey bars, or conquering the slides.  

I’d tell my mom that, “I’m going to the park to play!”, and she’d have no problem with it.

I can’t even imagine what would happen if a parent allowed their eight year old to head off to the park alone these days.

Actually, I could!

Helicopter Moms and CPS

I’ve seen the stories plastered all over the internet or television.

Parents getting visits from Child Protective Services for allowing their precious twelve year old to walk to the bus stop a few houses down all by them selves!

I’ve even read a story of a woman who had her own children taken by CPS for allowing her kids to play in the fenced in back yard alone.

In my youth, there was always some made for TV Movie about some kid growing up to learn he was kidnapped at a young age and raised by his kidnappers.  God those movies were terrible!

You know what my biggest fear as a parent is?

It’s not my kids getting kidnapped!

It’s not even them breaking a bone or getting sick!

My number one fear as a parent these days is having someone call CPS on my family because my son had a PB&J stain on his shirt at the park today!  Or because I may have yelled a little too loud at the park when I called across the playground for my son to stop throwing rocks.

It’s even scarier as a Dad.  I’m a pretty big guy, so when I take my kids to the park I’m always getting “Looks”.

My biggest fear isn’t a Kidnapper.  It’s Helicopter Moms/Dads who take it upon themselves to police EVERYONE’s children.  It’s the constant reminders in the media that CPS could come to my house for just about any reason and threaten to take my kids from me.

 

Is it just me?  Am I just being super paranoid about some over reaching government agency trying to parent my own children?

Playing Games isn’t what it used to be!

Another BIG issue these days is Video Games!

Now I’m not talking about kids playing games which are far to “Mature” for their little minds.

I’m talking video games in general!

Kids these days would rather sit inside staring at a video game than going outside and playing tag!

I was there for the change, and guilty of being one of the “Trend Setters” for this new wave of play.

When Nintendo launched it’s first major console, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), in the late 80’s, I was there.

I remember getting our very first NES on Christmas and spending the next few days glued to the screen playing The Legend of Zelda!

It was awesome!

Over the years as new consoles came out I would notice that running into my friends playing outside happened less and less.  Going over to a friends house to “Play” no longer involved building forts in the back yard, or heading to the park with a bat and ball.  

It meant one thing!  EVERY TIME!  Play Video Games!

My generation pioneered the Video Game craze.  We didn’t have constant reminders to take it in moderation and we would stay up all night long trying to defeat the evil wizard or solve the next puzzle.

Oops!  Our bad!

It’s nice to see the current trend of moderation finally starting to gain a foot hold in the gaming industry.  It’s much needed!

So how has “Go Outside and Play!” changed in your lifetime?

Let me know in the comments below!

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