I know that seems dramatic, but this was a thought I had on my run tonight: is true childhood innocence lost? I often times run around a large park in my neighborhood where there are always people outside enjoying physical activity. Tonight, there were families playing on the playground equipment, soccer games and volleyball games taking place, baseball practice, pick-up basketball games, and many families walking and jogging around the paved area of the park. As I came up on the basketball court there were several children of all ages playing basketball. I suddenly hear one kid yell, “hold on I just got a text message.” This child was about twelve years old and he was jogging up and down the court with his cell phone in his hand. I am sure he had been texting throughout the game as well.
Call me old-fashioned, but I was truly disturbed by this. Can kids not play outside without checking their phones these days? What has the advanced technology done to our children? I often times see the little girls in my neighborhood riding their bikes with their cell phones in hand. I understand that we are in a different time now and that most children have phones. However, have we forgotten to set limitations on the phones? Do we as adults set such a negative example that even our children feel they can’t be detached from their cell phones?
Playing outside, a pick-up game of basketball, or even a bike ride with friends isn’t what it used to be anymore. I used to play outside for hours without communicating with any friends beyond the ones I was with. I checked-in with my parents every couple of hours and that was fine by riding my bike back home and telling my mom or dad that I was fine.
As a soon-to-be parent, my husband and I are very old-fashion and we struggle with these issues. We know our kids will have cell phones and the latest technology. But how do you keep it in perspective? How do you set limitations? How do you keep that childhood innocence that we had when we were children?