Birthday Greetings
M.D.-Free and Lovin' It

What Happened to Playing Outside?

I grew up on a street with lots of kids.  Among its many advantages, my best friend’s family got a TV way before we did. 

Except in the winter, we were outside after dinner playing the games that children played back then.  One of my clearest memories is of practicing the piano with a clock above the keyboard so that the minute my required half hour was over, I could join the gang outside in whatever activity was underway.

According to Jonathan Haidt in his new best-selling book The Anxious Generation, childhood has been phone-based rather than play-based since 2012.  Haidt reports that children spend approximately five hours a day on their phones, mostly on social media and to a lesser extent on games.  Haidt asserts that this is a cause of increased mental illness among children.

Obviously, there is another side to this story, but still…

It’s troubling. 


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Jeanne Cronin

I agree! The fun we used to have outside and the skills we didn’t even know we were learning playing together is something my grandkids miss out on. I am glad my children and I grew up before the internet was invented.


We were lucky to have been able to play outside so freely. I think my mother also liked having us out from underfoot for awhile. These days I see many children being active in sports programs. Most of the parents are very involved, too. I am also aware, though, that many families do not have the money or time to have their kids so involved in sports.

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