Children’s ability to "roam" has been destroyed, and they congregate on social media sites

From the the NYTimes:

Danah Boyd, a senior researcher at Microsoft and an assistant professor at New York University: “Children’s ability to roam has basically been destroyed. Letting your child out to bike around the neighborhood is seen as terrifying now, even though by all measures, life is safer for kids today.”

Children naturally congregate on social media sites for the relatively unsupervised conversations, flirtations, immature humor and social exchanges that are the normal stuff of teenage hanging-out, she said.

Moreover, grown-ups’ panic about teenage online behavior distracts from the potential benefits.

Let kids be kids - unstructured play time may be more important than homework, suggests a childhood psychologist. "Children have lost 8 hours per week of free, unstructured, and spontaneous play over the last 2 decades due to homework. Decrease in unstructured play time is in part responsible for slowing kids’ cognitive and emotional development. Today’s 5-year-olds had the self-regulation capability of a 3-year-old in the 1940s; the critical factor seems to have been not discipline, but play."

Video: A life cycle in 90 seconds:


Cracking Teenagers’ Online Codes. NYTimes, 2012.

Image source:, public domain.

1 comment:

  1. Great post - and brilliant advert to accompany it. I think children's play time is extremely important, it does stop them from sitting in on the computer for hours.