Date: Fri, 27 May 1994 15:50:04 CDT


Subject: games kids play

It dawned on me during this discussion of games kids play that the

social context of a lot of this might be quite special and culture

dependent, even though when I was in the midst of it, this possibility

never crossed my mind. What I mean is that I remember spending seemingly

endless quantities of hours totally unsupervised by adults, roaming the

neighborhood until dark (and later sometimes), networking with an

extensive `parallel' society of kids that would organize itself for the

purpose of all sorts of contests, games and other activities of our own

invention. I don't see my own kids here in our present Alabama context

doing anything on this same scale. Certainly part of it has to do with

the urban environment I grew up in. The number of kids available

within a certain radius must be sufficient to hit critical mass and

permit this kind of thing. But there's more to it than that. For one

thing, `networking' may be more peculiarly American than we know. The

French typically have more restricted circles of friends, and I think

this is reflected even at an early age. I did not see activity of a

similar type and scale among French kids in urban areas of France.

But that isn't all.

Parents today, including me, are paranoid of letting kids have that much

lattitude. I think it is true that we are living in less innocent times.

This is regrettable. My memories of that freedom are fond and may well

have been very formative.

Do other people have notions about this?

Mike Picone

University of Alabama