Skip to comments.Breaking the Connection
Posted on 07/07/2012 11:32:02 AM PDT by Kaslin
So the plan was this: Take seven urchins, ages 3 to 17, on an old-fashioned vacation without high-tech gizmos. A noble intent, correct? Well, you know what they say about good intentions. The road to hell is paved with them.
Back in the pre-tech era, family vacations usually involved fresh air. But now, many American kids don't want to go outside unless there is someone handing out money. Many modern children stay indoors so they can feed their machine addictions. Why bother risking the elements when any kind of visual you want is a click away?
The ferry ride to Bald Head Island at the southern point of North Carolina takes about 20 minutes. There are no cars allowed on the island; you transport by golf cart. The beaches are pristine, and the island marshland teems with wildlife. Radio Shack is not there.
I rented a beach house that immediately bewildered the tykes. "Where is the Xbox?" one of them said, a hint of panic in his eyes. "The TV only has shows. Where are the games?"
When informed that there were no electronic games available, profound silence descended on the room.
But there were other options. We explored the marsh and saw red foxes running around. We hit the surf where the water was clean and warm. "But what about the sharks?" an urchin said urgently. When told they can't survive the large breaking waves so they remain far offshore, the kid was mollified a bit but remained suspicious.
One night, we all participated in the island "ghost walk," a $10-per-ticket tourist play. Three college kids dressed in pirate gear led a stroll to the island lighthouse and to an old cemetery. Along the way, they told of shipwrecks, pirate atrocities and Civil War mayhem. Apparently, the ghost of Aaron Burr's kidnapped daughter, Theodosia, roams around the island for lack of cash to buy a ferry ticket out. For a while, the kids were enthralled, and I was encouraged. They had to use their imaginations to picture the stories being told; there were no high-tech visuals.
But arriving back at the hacienda, I discovered that one of the urchins had smuggled in an iPod, and three of the boys were huddled around it shrieking with joy. They were cyber-spaced out in a matter of minutes.
The three older girls were getting more into the swing. They wanted to get up at 1 a.m. to look for turtles coming ashore to lay eggs. The boys were asked whether they wanted to do that, as well. "Turtles?" the 8-year-old said. "Don't they bite?"
"Not as hard as sharks," I replied.
The girls went on their mission, but did not see any turtles. They did see more foxes hunting for turtle eggs, however. They also saw deer without the assistance of the Animal Planet channel.
In the end, the vacation received mixed reviews from the kids, but I suspect they liked it more than they are admitting. Three of them got to drive the golf carts around, everybody enjoyed the surf, and when water guns appeared, laughter filled the air and the machines were momentarily forgotten.
But the minute we arrived home on Long Island -- a long way, culturally speaking, from Bald Head -- the urchins headed for their sacred space. The PCs were alight faster than you could say "Theodosia."
Not too long ago, a family was out on a nature hike when the teen son walked off a cliff (to his death) while texting.
You mean the Great BO was unable to enforce the no electronics ban, amongst his own family?
That death was totally unnecessary. I bet they had wished someone had taken the phone away from him
The greens have outlawed most forms of recreation in ‘nature’ , (Depending on the area, mountain bikes/OHVs/Hunting/Fishing/Boating) and city kids thrown into a country environment are pretty clueless as to how to have that kind of fun anyway. Not that they are stupid, but when you grow up without the woods around you, you can’t reasonably know what to do in it once you get there.
Same for a country kid in the big city.
But my point is that today, Kids are force fed the idea that ‘Gaia’ is something to be worshiped and ‘protected’, not played in. What happens when the average Animal Planet fan gets to all the places they saw on TV? The first thing they see is a sign telling them all the ‘forbidden’ things there.
The place I grew up (Adirondack Park NY) is now one big nature preserve that tops the list. Pretty much everything I grew up doing is now forbidden or is in the process of becoming so.
I totally understand why kids don’t bother and escape to a virtual world. There is still some freedom for them in it.
Do kids play outside anymore?
I grew up in suburbia. And I remember going to friends houses, unannounced, asking if friends could come out to play. Imagine that, no need to schedule a play date. I remember kids being outside playing as you rode bikes around the neighborhood.
Nowadays, taking a walk around suburban neighborhoods, where you know many children live, you would swear you are in a ghost town. You see very few children outside playing in backyards, or riding bikes or any other outdoor activity.
One day a few years ago, I was lamenting about children not being outside in suburbia, and not knowing the kids on their own street very well. So, I sent my two kids up the street to the cul-de-sac to ride their scooters. About 15 minutes later a neighbor called. “Do you know that your kids are scootering around up here at the cul-de-sac, unsupervised?!” I guess the neighbors didn’t approve. We never tried it again.
The problem I think is parents that watch too much Dr. Phil.
I wish I had a penny for every thread/post I’ve seen on the net of parents freaking out over their kids acting like (what was normal once upon a time) ‘Kids’.
I have seen mothers ranting like Banshees over the dangers of everything from slingshots to ATVs. Parents mortified over the concept of a sleepover at age 12. Fathers thinking that if little Jimmy exits his field of vision for a nanosecond he will be immediately set upon by Pedobear.
Of course there are very real dangers in the cold cruel world and bad things happen. But society has become so sheltered that they retarded the natural growth of children...who then grow into paranoid adults with big therapy bills.
Danger and risk are a normal part of development. When parents and govt. eliminate it and create ‘soft pilloe world’ we end up with the society we see today.
This is the other problem. When a normal parent lets their kid out to play, some other parent is ready to call child welfare and the National Guard to ensure that you aren’t an unfit parent for doing so.
And look how many times parents get the phone call you did. It becomes not worth the harassment and the XBox cycle results.
There’s much to be said for living in Siberia. Or a Redneck America where PC parenting hasn’t ‘totally’ corrupted the works.
I cannot convince my 12 year old son to stay in on days like this. It’s 102° out and he’s across the street in the park playing base ball. I try to make sure he stays hydrated and comes in to eat occasionally. That boy loves base ball and is a proper Cardinal fan.
And is starting to pay a lot of attention to girls.
But that’s terrible!!! Quick! get him into a public school tolerance class so he has ‘more options!!! ;)
(The worst part of that sarcastic statement is they you just KNOW there’s a liberal reading it thinking “Well, what’s wrong with that idea?”
I grew up in a housing project in buffalo,ny.
On saturdays in the spring, I would be up shorly after dawn to fix my own frosted flakes.
I would throw to bologna sandwiches and two bottles of pop into the basket of by bicycle along with fishing gear.
The nearest stream in suburbia was about 12 miles away.
If I wanted supper, I had to be home at 5pm.
After supper, outside until the street lights came on.
What the hell’s happened ?
Your childhood sounds a lot like mine, except I would leave the back of the house with my fishin pole and bread for dough balls, raid my grandmother’s garden for ripe cucumber and a tomato to put int he spring brach for keeping cool, then hoof it to the lake for swimmin’ and fishin’ with my best friend, Bill Rhodes. Usually got home by dark. Learned to like cold supper leftovers. Usually my punishment for missing supper was I had to clean up the dishes. I always loved it when my Mother made scrambled eggs for supper ‘cause I loved scrapping the crumbles fromt he skillet and eating them. I once told a college friend who caught me doing it at the apartment we shared that ‘I’ve grown to prefer them.’