Safe For Our Kids To Play Outside: Spending Too Much Time Indoors Playing Games and Not Exercising

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Times Have Changed In A Very Short Period Of Time!

I am 33 years old; still pretty young, I think! In spite of my small number of years on this earth, I have seen a lot of big changes in the environment and the way children play these days.There's nowhere for our kids to play! All the woods have been cut down to add more houses to our neighborhoods. Our kids are addicted to media like the Internet, FaceBook, Cell Phones and chatting, and they don't even want to go outside and play!

We have created a generation that receives information instantly. Don't get me wrong, this can be a good thing. Look at all the interesting and valuable information here on HubPages alone! Unfortunately, however, there is no longer any reason for kids to visit a library; many books are available over the Internet found simply by utilizing and clicking on a variety of devices including Cell Phones, Tablets, and a growing number of different hand-held, pocket sized computing options.

When I was a kid, I was always outside. I enjoyed playing in the woods, near water-anywhere were I could get away from my parents and the house! All the neighborhood kids would get together and play games like "Kick the Can" , or "Man Hunt". Those were some great times! I remember when the first Nintendo Game System came out. We bought it, used it for about 6 weeks, then ended up selling it at a yard sale a few months later. We were never in the house!

I was a Cub Scout and the moved up to the Boy Scouts. Oh, I had so much fun in scouts! As a Troop, we went camping almost every other weekend. We would fish, hike, sometimes canoe, and regardless of the weather, we always made our own fun. One of the best parts of these outings was after a long, hard day of playing outdoors, we would build a fire and tell stories. Sometimes we would sing songs, roast hot dogs and marshmallows, and just enjoy being with friends outside. Ah, I really do miss those days!

Outdoor Poll

Did you grow up playing outside?

  • Yes, I am a country person!
  • No, I'm a city slicker!
See results without voting

More and more these days, I drive through the community in which I grew up in and all I see is houses. Houses so close, you can hear your neighbor sneeze when the window is open in the summer. There is no more privacy. The television constantly tells us that the world is very dangerous. There are murderers, robbers, and people lurking around every corner to try to hurt you or take something from you. Maybe the television stations are feeding us this propaganda so we feel the need to stay inside. How ironic because when we do stay inside, we probably watch more TV!

Now one may comment, "Hey, you're no different because you spend a lot of time creating articles, doing research, and commenting on other people's Hubs!".

Well, in part, that's true. I am however, an adult, and this Hub is based on the differences in my childhood experiences and the children of today's generation in relation to how much time they spend outdoors. It's true, I Do spend a lot of time online, but I consider this a passion as well as a business; I am trying to make extra money to support my family by doing something I truly love. Besides that, in my day job I work outdoors, rain or shine, sleet or snow. I still go fishing often during the season, and I try to go camping in the summer when work allows for it.

My one hope is for kids to embrace the outdoors. Remember, electricity and all that comes with it is fairly new in reference to History. It's not too late to enjoy the outdoors but time is running out. While we are sitting inside doing whatever it is that we do, the world around us is slowly shrinking, and there may not be much left of the true wild to enjoy, in a very short time period. Let's all pledge to try to go outside once and a while and enjoy it. There is nothing like being in nature.

Boston, Massachusetts

© 2011 JS Matthew

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Comments 21 comments

Daffy Duck profile image

Daffy Duck 5 years ago from Cornelius, Oregon

Great hub man. Kids do spend way too much time indoors on technology. Voted up and awesome!

I do think that getting info for study is good on those devices instead of going to the library though. It saves time that they can spend on actually doing their homework which they seem to have more than enough of these days.


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thank you for your comment Daffy Duck! I agree with you as I do a lot of research not just for Hubs but in general. I like to look up recipes and I use an online dictionary for just about every 5 words I write! Thanks for the vote and the comment!

JSMatthew~


Ed Michaels profile image

Ed Michaels 5 years ago from Texas, USA

My only child is four years old, soon to enter kindergarten, and I think it will be the first time that he will be able to interact with other children in a meaningful way, other than visits with his cousins, and his cousins are two and six years older than he is. I take him to the parks, but no other children are there. We take walks in the neighborhood and see dogs getting fat and frustrated in their yards, not getting walked or played with. My neighbors pop straight out of their cars into their houses without a pause; at most their nod their heads before they disappear. I do not know most of their names, but I recognize their vehicles. It is not that I object to technology--after all, I'm commenting on this which shows some familiarity with it--but we are missing a great deal in our lives if we mediate our experiences and contacts only through computer screens and video games.


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thank you for the comment, Ed Michaels! I see the same things in my neck of the woods as well. Imagine if we lost electricity for a week! I wonder what people would do?

JSMatthew~


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 5 years ago from Fife, Scotland

Hi J.S. Great hub. I was always outside as a kid - I'm 49 now so work out your own maths how many years ago that was.LOL. There was also a lot less traffic on the roads, so things were a bit safer from that point of view. Our kids are fairly lucky here. I live in a small village in Fife, Scotland. Surrounded by beautiful woods, lochs etc. Also in our street we have a Fife Council nursery school, that has quite large grass areas all enclosed. The kids, from young to older, are safe to play in there when the school is closed. You can keep an eye on them from the windows of the houses that surround the school and no traffic to harm them. Maybe this is what encourages our kids to play outside more than other kids who have less options in a large town or city? But I do agree that outside playing and those wonderful 'street games' that we use to play are becoming extinct. It is a shame because we had great fun with it all but also a true sense of freedom.


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment Seeker7! It is true that there is a lot more volume of traffic on the roads today. Also, when I grew up I lived on a dead-end street so traffic wasn't a major concern. I read your Hub about Fife. Great job and beautiful pictures! Thanks for your remarks!

JSMatthew~


Alice DeWonder profile image

Alice DeWonder 5 years ago from 3rd planet from Sun

Thank you for inviting to your hubpage.

I have left this response to you there:

In the year 1977, on a Duncan Phyfe dining room table in the Berkshires the IMSAI 8080 and IMSAI 8080A were born and introduced through arduous presentations to attorneys, accountants, physicians and school personnel. The response was consistent; "Who would own a personal computer?"

My son was just turning 2 when I put together the 8080A, but even at that age I could see him bonding with what was hardly an inanimate object.

There are still vast woodlands out there, but unfortunately not as vast as yesterday. Here in Florida they are all reserved to that secret society known as National Parks.

In truth, up until 8 month ago, my time was engaged in in-line skating. I see television as I do computers - not much point in either, but now I do what I am able.


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Alice DeWonder! At least we have some land set apart from deforestation and development in the National Parks.

JSMatthew~


alkjr47 profile image

alkjr47 5 years ago from Hagerstown, Maryland

Nice article, I can't however vote on your poll because I'm a bit of both :) I'm 25 years old, lived in the city all my life. With that said, as a kid I was outside carving narrow paths in the grass through the backyard for my Hot Wheel cars, building more roads and buildings in the sand box, and other outdoor things. So while I'm a "city slicker", I was outside as a kid too.

Then came Christmas 1998 when I got a Nintendo 64 (was age 13). That's when the transition to the "great indoors" began. But, the past few years I've started spending more time outside again :)


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Hello alkjr47! Well, it's great that you started getting outdoors again! I miss playing in the woods and with my Tonka Trucks in the dirt! I appreciate your comment. Thanks for sharing!

JSMatthew~


DJProfessorK profile image

DJProfessorK 5 years ago from York, PA

I remember my days in elementary school when recess started to fade away. Going outside should be an integral part of growing up, but now the emphasis is on video games and test scores.

The pressure exerted on them is enormous, no wonder they stay inside.


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

That's a great point DJProfessorK! There is a lot of stress particularly with standardized tests. Another thing too, with all these kids connected to media 24/7 there are additional stresses from bullying, trying to fit in, be cool etc. Thanks for adding to the discussion!

JSMatthew~


Serena Gabriel 5 years ago

The problem is that it simply isn't safe outside for children or their mothers. This has to change, first.


DJProfessorK profile image

DJProfessorK 5 years ago from York, PA

@Serena Gabriel - I wouldn't use that as the norm, but there is areas around the world where it is rough.


Serena Gabriel 5 years ago

DJProfessorK - Unfortunately, it is the norm, even in so-called "safe" places in the U.S. I don't feel safe in my own yard, when I do go out I open carry and since I go out of my way not to invite trouble, I haven't gone for a nature walk since the last time I was chased down and threatened by a carload of men back in the early 1990s. I don't understand how you can say it's not the norm. Read a newspaper - or read some of the articles here at HP by women on the amount of rape and abuse that is heaped on us. Just because it isn't happening to you doesn't mean it isn't happening or that it's not the norm. It has been the norm in my life every place in this country I've lived for the past 30 years! It's why some of us don't have children.


parentsreview profile image

parentsreview 4 years ago from Lansdowne, PA

This is so true. Growing up, my family had a huge yard where we played football and baseball. It was part of my boyhood to spend a day mowing it, and argue with my brothers about which of us was going to do which area. Now I live in a twin, and trying to find a place for my son to ride his bike or just play is a chore. It's a shame.


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

It really is getting bad in some areas parentsreview. My parents still own the house that I grew up in and although the area has depleted the woods, at least my dad has a decent back yard. It's not huge but it is big enough that when he wants to rake leaves or move stuff, he always calls me to come by and help. I hope you find the place that you are looking for. I hope that your son can enjoy the same experiences we experienced as kids. Thanks for your comment!

JSMatthew~


freecampingaussie profile image

freecampingaussie 4 years ago from Southern Spain

It is sad not to see children playing outside much . We used to walk to school in NZ and then play in the street after school. While in Wales my girls would play with the neighbors children outside in the evening rather than be inside .

Thats why they were healthy as everyone needs a certain amount of sun everyday to stay healthy .


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

I know from your Hubs and Photos freecampingaussie that you are a true outdoors person. It is so sad to see kids not want to go outside and experience fresh air and nature. I hope that at some time in their life, they get bored being connected and join nature. I agree that being outdoors is good for your health. Doctors even recommend it for aging and sick patients. There is a natural quality in the air that makes us feel better. I appreciate your comment and thank you for stopping by!

JSMatthew~


ladyauthor47 profile image

ladyauthor47 4 years ago from Texas

I wasn't much of an outdoor person when I was a kid. However, give me a book and I was in another world. I could read anywhere, including outdoors.

That's not to say I didn't play, because I did. My brothers and I (when they were not beating me up) would play with the neighborhood kids all the time. Our block was Kid Friendly. No one parked their cars in the street as that was the only place we had to play. If someone was home, their doors were unlocked (whether they had kids or not) so we could run inside quickly when the bug sprayers came around. Once the air was clear of the smell we'd be back outside again. When my kids came along the neighborhood had changed so much. The only kids that were outside were the ones out stealing or causing mischief.

I used to go camping with my family when my father's work allowed it. I've even gone camping with girl scouts. I know how to cook without electricity, entertain without TV or video games. I do not have a cell phone with all the apps and tv features or texting features. We didn't have a computer in the house until the year I graduated from High School.

My kids do not know what a typewriter is, or how to research without the internet. They say that they know technology. However, they do go outside to play with their friends, ride their bikes in the summer and play little league baseball.

We had to move from the big metro city to a small rural town for this to happen and feel safe about it at the same time.


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Hello ladyauthor47, I've been quite busy this weekend and have been trying to catch up on e-mail and comments! I appreciate all the comments you have left me and I will get to the link you sent me soon! Whew!

It sounds like we had similar upbringings. I think the new era of research is inevitable, but libraries and real books will always be priceless. I love camping myself and plan to go on a trip this coming summer with the wife and kids. We will go to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It is so beautiful up there!

The bug spraying situation is interesting. I never had to deal with that here. At least you neighbors were kind enough to welcome you into the safety of their home. Typewriter? My kids don't even know what a VCR is! I do wish they got out more, but my city is not very safe. It really is sad. I am glad that your children get to enjoy the outdoors. I am the opposite of you; I moved from a rural setting to a city. I am hoping to eventually move back to the "woods" someday. There is nothing like raw nature!

Thanks for all your comments. I truly appreciate it!

JSMatthew~

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