Today I bought my son a wrist rocket and ammunition. (marbles, I guess.) We set up a box in the backyard and took aim with 2 rules:
1. Don’t aim it at a person.
2. Anything you break, you pay for.
He asked about animals, I told them he might kill one and Karma’s a bitch.
Lately I’ve been thinking about the changes since I was a pre-teen. I lived on a lake from age 2 until 18. For hours, my parents never knew where we were. We swam, sailed, canoed, fished and wandered in the woods. No one drowned. No one was abducted. Some frogs died. Today, though, life is different, right? Wrong, according to Don Tapscott, author of Grown up Digital.
Since the early 1990s, crime-both property crimes and violent crimes including murder – has been dropping. The number of violent offenses committed by juveniles ages 12 to 17 declined 61 percent from 1993 to 2005, while those committed by persons older than 17 fell 58 percent. And when it comes to nightmare crimes like sexual assault, statistics show that the perpetrators are rarely strangers. Nearly all the time, they are people the victim knows, and often they are people the victim knows very well.
Fear, Tapscott agrees, is not the only problem. Parents these days have plans for their children. Plans and ambitions and schedules. We drive them to piano, soccer, tutoring, give them mobile phones, then expect them to answer whenever we call. So kids move indoors, where they are in control. Many can operate most of the electronic equipment in our homes better than we can. Forget the blinking VCR, kids are programming home computers from the car to tivo the football game at home. Tapscott believes that this net generation is changing family dynamics, shaking up the typical family hierarchy.
Whew! And that’s just the chapter on family. His book covers how the net generation’s brains work differently, how education and the workplace are changing, shopping, democracy, it’s all there. And soon, I’m going to read it.
I picked up the book because we are having trouble with screen time and our boys. They are glued to an electronic device most afternoons and weekends, so I’ll admit, I started with the chapter on family. Then I started reading Last Child in the Woods.
Then I bought the wrist rocket.
I don’t think he’ll kill a squirrel.