October 20, 2013
A Long Island school recently banned all the elements in this article’s title in order to protect the kids from “serious injury.” Perhaps appropriate for preschoolers, perhaps at best, but this ban occurred in a middle school. Kids in middle schools are young teens.
In the TV video report on this ban, a doctor was interviewed claiming those types of playground activities induce serious injuries. Okay, doc, let’s make sure nobody gets hurt by simply restraining them and putting them on drugs when they get too restless. 
Even worse than restrictions on school yards is what’s happening in suburban neighborhoods. Parents are being legally harassed, fined or arrested for letting their kids ride their bikes around, go to the store for them or play outside without supervision.
There was a case in Texas where a mother was even handcuffed and taken away while supervising her two kids, aged six and nine, riding motorized scooters in a cul-de-sac in front of their house.
A neighbor had reported the event to – the police! The mother spent the night in jail despite asserting she was in the same front yard lawn chair watching over them that she was in when the police came. Thanks, nosy nanny state-supporting neighbor (http://thestir.cafemom.com).
As staff reporter Ethan Huff pointed out in his September 15, 2012, Natural News article “Society now criminalizing parents that allow children to play in the yard…,” this isolated extreme incident is part of a growing trend in America of too much state control over children. 
Next thing you know, Child Protective Services will be threatening to take infants away from mothers with breastfeeding issues who use fresh goat’s milk instead of toxic off-the-shelf baby formulas. Well, actually, it’s already happened (http://healthmaven.blogspot.com).
Sometimes psychology gets it right
Contrary to the fear mongering physician interviewed on TV regarding the Long Island middle school ban, Peter Gray, a research professor of psychology at Boston College, warns of the social and personal psychological effects of limiting “free play.”
Gray has written major articles posted in the American Journal of Play, a scholarly journal devoted to addressing the social impact of a 50 year trend of increasingly inhibiting how children play.
One of Gray’s articles, “The Decline of Play and the Rise of Psychopathology in Children and Adolescents,” he examines the researched correlation between declining free play in developed nations with the rise of depression, suicide, feelings of helplessness and narcissism in children and teens that carry into adulthood. 
Drugging kids while restraining and criminalizing free play has serious long term implications. This trend is more about state control than safety for kids and teens. And that control is made easier with mainstream media’s fear mongering reports of isolated horror stories.
This social trend could be rationalized with the way things are now compared to when most of us older baby boomers grew up. Regardless, it amounts to granting more state control over your children and you. The nanny state’s on steroids.
How old are you? The older you are, the more likely you’ll remember how we used to run wild during recess without supervision, how we rode our bikes to elementary and middle school and even (gasp) worked on them delivering papers or going to work bagging groceries.
We explored the far reaches of our towns and neighborhoods on our bikes, climbed trees and used public transportation before reaching our teens. Exciting times. Now, suburbs are real life reminders of the highly recommended movie “Men Without Children.”
Lenore Skenazy is leading the charge with her public appearances and interviews to at least partially return to those “Happy Days” of free play freedom. She also encourages parents to “helicopter” less over their kids with less worry from her site freerangekids.com. 
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This article was posted: Sunday, October 20, 2013 at 7:37 am