I don’t have children of my own, but I do have a young niece and nephew. As with all generation gaps, the way they are growing up is completely different than my own childhood experience. Even though their parents do the best they can to keep them grounded and well-rounded, there’s no denying that certain things are quite different. For instance, neither child has ever ridden a bicycle without a helmet. They wouldn’t think of it. They just grab their helmet and go. I never even had a bike helmet while growing up.
Like many kids my age, when we got up in the morning, especially during the summer months, we grabbed a pop tart and left the house to find our friends. Together, we would ride bikes, play in the creek, and ride the zip line from platform to platform on my backyard treehouse. A treehouse that would no doubt be deemed unsafe, now.
For lunch, we stumbled into one house or another, where someone’s mother would make us sandwiches of processed meat and white bread. Then, we were off to play again, sometimes not returning home until way after dark, after hours of playing “flashlight tag” around the neighborhood. Most notably, there was little to no computer or video game technology and certainly no smartphones.
Sure, we have a certain amount of nostalgia for the past, but that’s not to say that we were better off. Maybe we were, maybe not, it’s all a matter of opinion. Children today are safer, smarter, and more connected with the entire world around them, not just their neighborhood. I only wish that my niece and nephew has the opportunity to enjoy the kinds of freedoms that are no longer possible into today’s society.