Date: Fri, 27 May 1994 15:50:04 CDT From: Mike Picone 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