Most of us say, say over the age of 40, have in their mind a recollection of things like playing outside with friends for hours on end. Being inside was to be avoided at all costs. Not only that, being inside meant you were in proximity of your parents, and really, who wanted that?

Kids keep “schooling” me on how different it all is now.

Take young Jack, a charming 8th grader. When I chatted with Jack about his playing habits and whether he played outside with his friends, he responded, “now and then.” (Translation: “now and then” = very rarely).

Jack explained that even when the kids in his neighborhood do on occasion go outside it usually breaks up with all of them scampering to go back to their individual homes (remember when we used to all hang at someone’s house when we were not outside), so that each one can be on his individual game system so they can “meet” in some place of virtual reality, like Grand Theft Auto.


Jack also schooled me about how he spends his Saturdays. Since he is limited during the week from having free rein on his video game playing, he figures Saturday is the day to make up for the lost time. So, he gets up bright and early, logs on, and then spends gobs of time interacting in virtual land. When I say “gobs,’ he explains that when he doesn’t have the interference of something like a soccer game, that he may be on his system all through the day into the night. Of course, this sort of behaviour is normal for young people these days. They spend the majority of their time on their gaming consoles or computers, playing so many different games. Apparently, they can even access older games now by using gaming roms. This allows them to play the game on their computer. So, if people wanted to play Paper Mario, they could just learn how to make paper mario rom work and then they could play that game. Maybe they are the sort of games that Jack plays.

Jack’s mom raised my schooling one level when she explained that these kids are so into their screen time interaction that even when Jack had a friend for a sleepover, the kid left early in the morning so he could be back in his own house to log and join Jack from his virtual landing place. This consistent use of electronics can cause problems, such as a reduction in melatonin that can make it harder for kids to sleep. If they are glasses wearers but don’t wear them much, this can cause issues for their eyes too. Looking online at websites such as can help parents find glasses for their child that can help stop blue light from affecting their sleep.

I know. I can hear all of the refrains from Parent Land about, “You need to set limits” or various permutations of moderate limit setting like, “We only allow seven hours a week after he has earned 12 tokens for each night of getting his homework in.”

Modern childhood is a “different ball of wax.” (How’s that for a term from Granny’s lexicon!)

Socializing as you knew it is not what it was and the kids do not view it that way. They think they are hanging with their friends even though they are all in different houses.

They think a sleep overs is probably more fun when it breaks up early so they home and play with each other on their systems.

They think outside has just too many elements that are beyond their control, like temperature.

Takeaway Point

The old norms don’t apply.

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