Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Bubble-Wrap Kids

I'm finding that children today have no idea how to play.  Due to the computer age and X-box, children have learned to just sit and play in front of television and computer screens all day.  They have become a generation of lazy people who - when you get them to play outside - get hurt easily because they have no idea how to play.
This may sound weird to some.  But the way I grew up was to get my butt out of the house and play with the neighbourhood kids.  We rode our bikes, our skateboards, we rollar-skated, climbed trees, made human pyramids (I was usually on top and I think Mum's got a photo of all of us somewhere in the front yard in our pyramid), played cricket, ran around each other's yards, swam in a neighbour's pool... we had fun.  It was a time where the kids we played with were known by everyone and every parent knew us.  If we did something bad, it got back to our parents before we got home that night; so we didn't do anything wrong.  
And that was another thing about our parents.  They knew how to punish us.  There wasn't a child alive who didn't know what it was like to have no dinner, no television for a week or - lord forbid - no friends over for the weekend!  And the worse thing my parents could do was sent me to my room; there was too much there to entertain me, so it was hard to punish me.  Children and teenagers today have no idea what it's like to be punished or have strict parental control over them.  They scream, they swear at their parents... they think their parents were always old, always this age of being their parents; not realising that at some time in they too were young children, and yes, they were also teenagers.  
However, we have a generation of children who I find are bubble-wrap kids.  They are protected so much from the harms of the world, that when they come face to face with them, they don't know how to react to them.  When I was growing up as a skateboarder, I never wore a helmet or pads; and yes, I stacked it many times.  But I didn't break any bones, I never had a head injury, but I did take a lot of skin off.  However, I practiced my craft well enough to know how my board reacted to where I was.  I began skateboarding aged 11 and stopped age 22 1/2.  I had to stop because I had a Melanoma surgically removed in 1996.  I didn't want to stop skateboarding; and in fact, tried to keep going, and failed.
But as the years went by, I noticed that kids who picked up the sport had no idea how to save themselves when they came off the board.  They just seemed to keep wobbling and then put their arms out at the last minute; thinking that they'd be okay.  Balance is everything in this sport; and your arms are part of keeping your balance on a skateboard... use them!
Another thing I've noticed recently is trampolines and how family groups are trying to ban them.  We had a one of these when I was young and my brother and I have never hurt ourselves on it.  Not once have we ever broken a leg, arm or anything major on our trampoline; and ours didn't have any guards on it either.  It was the old-fashioned, rectangular steel model with the springs and black mat; and Gabe and I looked after it well for the time we had it.  And when we outgrew it, Dad sold it to another family.  They were thrilled at the condition of it.  But we had never been hurt on it - neither had any of our friends or family members either.  So, why are they trying to ban it now?  Over-protection I think.  

So, what do you think?  Is the world making our children into over-protected, smart-mouthed, lazy people?  Or is it just me seeing something that isn't there?  Until my next post, take care, keep safe and warm and remember, I'm always here. 


  1. is a mum with kids (now in their teen years)and I tried my best to keep my kids active with play and sport when they were younger.

    Now they are starting to show more laziness and they developed an attitude I don't like. They know how much they can get away with as minors (with the law states. The main party I blame is our Australian government because they are the ones whom make the laws.

    Like you I was outdoors playing in my own yard or with friends at their house. Majority of today's kids suffer broken bones because they don't play outdoors enough or play any sport outside school hours.

    Trampolining was my main sporting interest I love. I used to bounce on the school's trampoline during my lunch breaks. And never suffered any broken bones.

    Today's schools don't have before or after school play on any playgrounds because staff don't want that responsibility of potential injuries happening during these hours. Even at break times the students are lucky to have about 10-15 minutes of play on each break. Back in my days I had about 2.5 hours of play in the playground per day.

    So you aren't the only one who thinks today's kids are bubble wrap kids. The media states we have an overweight society these days. I wonder why? No daily exercise and kids live on junk food. But that is another matter to discuss later on.

    1. I think you and I are the last generation where we didn't mind getting dirty, hurt or bruised. And this next generation of kids who have wild parties while the parents are gone just don't realise they're playing with fire and that - one day - it will blow up in their faces. They games where they go and throw the massive parties here and there, scream at their parents (all the while thinking they were never their age) and thinking they will never be accountable for their actions will soon end... and it does make me wonder how these kids will cope with the outside world, with getting a job, holding onto a job, going to university and traveling to other countries where cultures are different from our own.

      It's hard to watch kids today and try to advise them when they don't want to know.