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Where did all the kids go?

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Our kids were in a gang. Not an urban gang, but a play gang. We lived in suburbia while they were growing up, and I loved the sound of the gang moving from yard to yard playing kick the can and ghost in the graveyard and spud. We all watched out for them, and the yelling and screaming and laughter rang out and reached those of us lucky enough to be home to hear it. It was what summer was all about. I don’t hear that anymore, and it’s sad. Kids today are inside on their computers and phones or watching TV. It’s a huge loss for all of us.

The media has created such a fearful world that working moms now, probably out of a perceived sense of necessity in insuring their child’s safety, warn the kids not to go outside “until they get home.” They have chores to do and technology to keep them happy, but they are isolated. No friends to play with, no running and screaming, no happiness floating in the air, and I miss it. The kids are also missing the socializing and dealing with people that they get when running with the gangs.

It’s a dilemma since women went to work outside the home. None of us wants our kids in danger, but it’s also a danger keeping them cooped up all summer without the freedom of running all day with friends. When I was a child, I disappeared in the summer and came back at dinner time, and my parents never seemed concerned. It was natural. However, today, with kidnappings and shootings and horrible accidents constantly broadcast, it’s no wonder parents fear for their kids’ safety and keep them inside while they’re away. Boredom makes them turn to technology, and technology is easier than reading, so they also don’t read anymore. I fear for this generation.

Today is more difficult than ever to be a parent. Not only do we need to worry about the typical problems of accidents and kids getting sucked into drugs, but now parents must also fear what technology is doing to the physical, mental and emotional sides of our kids. We all come home tired from work, and it takes extra energy to boot a recalcitrant child outside when all they want to do is play video games on the couch. Some parents choose to avoid the battle, but our kids are the ones that really lose when we allow them to remain inactive.

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