Red Rover, Red Rover
September 10, 2007
I saw something strange the other day, something I hadn't seen, outside of a school campus, in more than ten years. Two small boys were out in their front yard with a wiffle bat and ball.
That's it, no more than that. I've driven past a few games of touch football in the last decade, mainly in the back yards of a low-income housing development on my way to work. I have seen a few kids playing three-on-three basketball at a playground here and there -- that still seems common enough. Not so for football, and certainly not so for baseball. And not at all for those children's games that no adult ever invented, like Kick the Can or Simon Says. I can't remember the last time I saw any kids anywhere play anything of that sort.
Apparently some people in Britain have noticed, and are worried that a "toxic childhood" is robbing children of their natural means of cognitive development. They cite a few typical culprits, among them the overuse of preschool, increased traffic on the streets, what they call an irrational fear of strangers, computer games, and other easy electronic stimuli. They're worried that the children aren't outdoors enough -- bully for them! -- and that as a result Britian is producing the unhappiest generation of youngsters in the civilized world. the rest image