Children, Parks, & Technology

The other night at the park, Fringeman’s technological toys were mocked by a nine year-old.

It was a warm, sunny evening – the kind of evening that makes staying inside wasteful, so we decided to take the kids to the park.  They could run-amuck on the playground while we took a spin or two around the track.  There’s nothing more invigorating than a good brisk walk in the fresh air.  So after two ten full laps, we headed over to the benches to check on the kids. 

This park of ours is a great place.  There’s a paved path winding through the fields that takes you on a walk totalling .7 miles once around.  This walking trail is both fun and dangerous, but I suppose that’s what gives it charm.  While strolling along, you must watch for packs of bicyclers, roller-blading bullets, and three year-olds on those razor scooters.  The Little ones are the most dangerous of all.  They are quite fast and dodging them takes the skill of a statistician.

The playground is not only physically engaging, but provides personalized fall-protection equipment and an optional insurance policy.  Not really, but my exaggerations are not far from truth. 

As a child I played on concrete more often than not.  When I fell, I busted large gouges in my knee that resulted in blood, scabs, and gauzy band-aids.  We got concussions and lived to tell about them.  We thought helmets were only for motorcycles and knee pads for professional football players. 

Today kid’s heads are protected with insulated plastic and their knees with padding thicker than my mattress.  We don’t allow them to play on concrete and the playgrounds use feathers below the swings in place of grass.  In this day of lawsuits and overprotection, I wonder if we take less trips to the emergency room for broken bones, stitches, and lost teeth.  Just curious.

 Back to the point. 

There’s not much of a point and if you’ve read this far, you deserve a prize.


You’re also out of luck.  No prizes.

By the time we sludgedsped our way around the walking path, our kids had found a gang of hooligans to play with and my son and his cohorts were devising a complicated and intense game of tag.  They were trying to locate a rock to use as base; however, all rocks have been removed from the playground along with splinters and sand.  DANGERS.

That’s when this kid, who is about my son’s age, whips out his cell phone and momentarily considers using it as base. 

FringeMan looked at me like a puppy who’d just had his diploma from obedience school revoked.

“That kid has my new phone.”  He whined.

Deflated. Defunked. Bummed. A Loser. Unsavy. Flunkee. Has Been. Out of Date. Underdog. FringeMan.

FringeMan has been hanging onto this hockey puck of a cell phone for five years.  He’s nursed the battery along, spoken to it kindly, and prayed over it.  Finally he broke down and purchased a new phone – a flip phone.  He was so proud when he came home flipping his phone.  Although it didn’t have a camera or any ‘extras’, it was certainly a step above the hockey puck. 

Harsh reality struck when this mere child flipped his phone on the playground.

I don’t think FringeMan’s ego has recovered.

I’m just amazed that I had to wait 31 years to get a cell-phone.  Since I’m only twenty-seven, that’s longer than I’ve been alive!  What happened to little boys getting race cars and soccer balls?

Maybe I’m old-fashioned.  Maybe I just think scrapes and bruises build character.  Maybe I think grade-schoolers don’t really need cell phones.


29 thoughts on “Children, Parks, & Technology

  1. Merryheart

    BTW, my almost 17 year-old still doesn’t have a cell. She’s angling for the Blackberry we just picked up at a yard sale. But I expect she’ll get my old Virgin mobile instead. I haven’t decided between the BB or a flip-phone with camera for myself. The flip is nice and light, but I know the BB would make web-surfing easier. What’s great is I can try both without the huge outlay that usually results. We got each for only $5!

  2. Merryheart

    Wow! I’m with you on 9 year-olds and cell phones, FringeGirl! Poor FringeMan! What a bummer!

    But the cushy surface under playground equipment is a blessed improvement. I was with my cousin when he fell off a monkey bar onto concrete. He was rushed to the hospital with a cracked skull. I still remember my mom putting lipstick on me for the first time so I would look grown-up enough to visit him in the hospital. Young teens didn’t wear makeup in those days!

    I’m all for seat belts and helmets, too.

  3. Mindy

    I have enough scars to prove that falling down won’t kill ya. And I was one of the last hold outs on a cell phone. Only got one about 5 years ago, shortly after moving to the country. It seemed wise then. Nope. Mine won’t take a picture or do anything fancy. It rings and I answer. Simple. And no. Kids don’t need cell phones. Period. ~Mindy

  4. Erin

    Oh Fringegirl, I’m with you on this. I don’t think kids need cell phones for any reason. NEED. That’s the word. Is it convenient? Sure. But not need. There are a lot of health risks involved with cell phones and I’m convinced that even though I look like a crazy lady now, I’m going to be one of the only ones with all of her marbles not addled after years of use. Some countries have outlawed cell phones for kids under 16. Now why do you think that is? huuummmmm…

    And they all need a few good bumps and bruises, too! Character building!

  5. Dani Joy

    Ha! What´s up with the biting apple? LOL
    I don´t know though I seem to feel safer knowing my son has a phone to call me when ever. He is hardly away from us though but here in the city it just helps my sanity. 🙂
    But other wise, not necessary.
    Poor Fringeman! I hated it too when the kids had better phones than me. I finally finangled a great phone. I love cell phones! and I love technology.. ok.. maybe not love it .. sometimes it is frustrating but It intrests me enough to keep me coming back for more. 🙂

  6. Kara-Noel

    LOL! Times are a changing.

    Random but relates (kind of): We rented the cartoon Alvin and the Chipmunks and wow it is not PC and there aren’t a million learning tools inbedded in the movie. Just a good old show w/ an adventure, loads of laughs and the bad guy drinking a Bloody Mary (really).

    Poor fringeman. My hubby is top of the tech ladder… it’s his job. But we can afford all the fancy stuff… he just drools over it.

  7. Blond Duck

    I like the finger nibbling evil apple. Queen Bitty would approve.

    Dude, we went shooting the other day and there were a group of 8 year olds with I-Phones. I-Phones. And they were pulling out I-Pods and blackberry storms and all sorts of crap…

    I felt so old and conservative. I was like, “My phone doesn’t even have a color screen. You’re barely up to my ribs. Why do you need a I-Phone?”

  8. Hat Chick

    I read somewhere that the playground is where children learn to assess risk….a skill that follows you throughout life. Cell phones for elementary aged children are just electronic leashes.

  9. Lois Lane II

    Amen!! When I graduated from a phone that just made calls to one that has txt msging, I thought I was high-tech. THEN, two years ago, when I got a phone that took PICTURES, too!!! — it was paradise.

  10. caprik

    Mousey SWEARS she is the only freshman she knows who doesn’t have a cell. She may be right. But she can borrow ours when she needs one. We like to say we are giving her something to look forward to!

  11. Mama Belle

    My 11-year-old has been begging us for a cell phone for a year now. To which I quote a famous line from Ghostbusters, “Who ya’ gonna call?” Seriously. I tell her she’s with an adult who has a phone at all times & she’s way too young. She tells me everyone in her class has a phone. I say, “So. You won’t.” What’s wrong with parents nowadays? Cell phones for children … ridiculous.

    I told her when she has a job and can pay for her own cell phone, that’s when she can get one.

  12. Pilar Stark

    I don’t get the kids with cell phones either. I didn’t get my first one until I was about due with my first baby so i could call anybody in case I got in labor in the middle of Walmart! 🙂 haha… of couse now, I can’t live without it :).. Still, my kids are not getting one until they can pay for the bill 🙂

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  16. Debbie York

    Dirt and splinters at the playground have gone the same way as balloons and pin the tail on the donkey at birthday parties. These poor kids are going to be lining up for cts surgery at 13 with all the texting. I’m with Fringeman…it’s frustrating when 8 yr. olds have cooler gadgets than me….and know how to use them!

  17. Jo@Mylestones

    I don’t feel like I’m old enough to start saying things like “Ughh….Kids these days….they have it so easy.”

    But I guess if I’m old enough to remember riding cross country, seat-belt-less in the back of a crowded station wagon….then I’m old enough to be old-fashioned.

    I miss those days when helmets were just for motorcyclists and the “5-point-harness” was only used for taming animals, and not for children riding in cars….

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  21. robinaltman

    We waited until the boys were 13 to get them phones, and then caved to pressure. The only good thing about them is that I can nag them by phone whenever I want. I’m with you – grade schoolers do not need phones.

  22. Mel

    oh can i just say i agree with you!! bumps and bruises, gouges and stitches those are indeed character building…as to 3rd graders having flip phones i don’t get it who do they call? and my 8 year old would drop it, lose it, throw like a baseball, find some dirt and water and use it as a stirring stick…

    hey guess i am old fashioned too!!


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