We’ve been playing Oh, Susquehanna pretty much every night on tour. In part it’s a song about how childhood mobilities have been affected by a changing environment. But, as this editorial suggests, its not just the loss of natural spaces that is changing childhood.
Increasingly, American children are in a lose-lose situation. They’re forced, prematurely, to do all the un-fun kinds of things adults do (Be over-scheduled! Have no downtime! Study! Work!). But they don’t get any of the privileges of adult life: autonomy, the ability to make their own choices, use their own judgment, maybe even get interestingly lost now and then.
Somehow, we’ve managed to turn childhood into a long, hard slog. Is it any wonder our kids take their pleasures where they can find them, by escaping to “Grand Theft Auto IV” or the alluring, parent-free world of MySpace?
I think that this editorial definitely writes from a middle class perspective as youth in other communities definitely face different degrees of safety. Still, even middle class culture restricts children out of concerns for their safety without taking on any of the root causes of the things that make us less safe.