General Question

willbrawn's avatar

What happened to the old school neighborhood?

Asked by willbrawn (6609points) August 3rd, 2008 from iPhone

when everyone was friendly and kids played in the streets?

What has/is changing in society?
Women in the workplace? The media/videogames, obesity?

Was it better then or now? Can we get back to those days?

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12 Answers

marinelife's avatar

1. Moms were at home full-time not working. That meant kids were at home instead of at an after-school caregiver’s, which might or might not be in the neighborhood.

2. There were no computers, video games, VCRs, DVDs, and not much on afternoon TV (if you were allowed to watch it) that kept kids indoors and glued to a solitary activity.

3. Children did not have organized afterschool and extracurricular activities at the exponential level they exist now and calendars that rival a CEO’s.

sndfreQ's avatar

The only constant is change-whenever we have family get togethers, the same statement can be made by my parents of their generation, my grandparents of theirs, etc.

Secondly, everything Marina said, plus the idea that kids are overly protected these days from failure; a colleague of mine coined a phrase (not sure if it originated from him): “the age of esteem,” whereby kids’ self esteem trumps learning of life’s “hard lessons.” This pattern is perpetuated early on in our kids’ lives, to the point that it is internalized.

Underperformance in school, lack of motivation, apathy, lack of individual voice are all symptoms I get to see when they hit high school and college (I’m a college professor). Somehow, there is a common denominator in all of these things-parenting skills.

Indy318's avatar

Fear and Isolation. I moved into a new neighborhood last year (you know the ones with fresh green grass and a two-car garage for every house) and noticed people rarely come outside to play or even socialize. They don’t go outside to cut their grass (of course someone else does it for them) and their kids stay locked inside (too busy on Myspace and Call of Duty 4). With the increase of resgistered sex offenders and unwillingness to leave the safety of our homes, will my street remain absent of children enjoying stickball and waterballoon fights? I rarely conversate with other neighborbors but I respect their choice of privacy. Still, how hard is it to leave your couch and enjoy a vintage barbaque and game of football (for God’s sake its summertime at the Jersey Shore)

SuperMouse's avatar

Rest assured, the old school neighborhood is alive and thriving in my little corner of the mid-west. We have lived on our street for just under two years and my favorite thing about this house is the neighborhood. There are tons of kids and they are out playing together until dusk from spring through fall.

This is actually a marked contrast to my growing in Southern California in the 70’s, we sat inside and watched television most of the time and didn’t know any of the neighborhood kids.

aisyna's avatar

When i was younger (im only 17) kids were always outside playing, we had woods and a lake behind our neighborhood (now apartments) but kids were always riding there bikes out there, we had a giant tree fort and everything

andrew's avatar

Though I am loath to blame video games, I heard a great quote from the kid who was the naked baby on Nirvana’s Nevermind album:

(paraphrased) “I think it would have been cooler to grow up in the ‘90s. Then you’d get a bunch of kids together and make a band. Now you just get together and play Rock Band.”

Oh, technology.

Mizuki's avatar

ipods, cellphones, and text messaging in addition to everything else said above——if you can be always in contact with close friends, no need to play with the kids on the block.

mrjadkins's avatar

@andrew – Wow. The kid who was the naked baby on Nirvana’s Nevermind album! How old is that kid now?? He speaks??? Geez, I am old!

susanc's avatar

I agree TV is a huge change agent, but this is another change since WWII: no one leaves the house except inside a car.

mzgator's avatar

In my neighborhood, kids are always outside and in the streets playing. Sometimes kids are out way too late and after dark. The parents go to work and leave the kids alone and they play all day and into the night until their parents come home. On any given day, you will see 10–20 kids gathered up at the end of my street.

2madifab's avatar

i think tv had a great change on american society and the way we dress, the kind of music we listen to, and the way we talk to our parents has affected our society.

derdriu's avatar

I think there has been an erosion of the “authority” of parents. Used to be, that parents decided what was best for their kids. Not that they were always right. But now, everyone knows (parents, teachers, neighbors, and kids themselves) that there are limits to parental power. In the case of clear abuse, like inflicting burns or other injuries, these limits are an improvement over the past. However, it’s a bit 1984 Orwellian if a parent then thinks that someone might report him/her for lesser “crimes,” such as “leaving the kids alone all day to play into the night until their parents come home.” My dad was a divorced single dad with 4 kids, and even a 8 years old I was out until 10pm playing with the other kids in the neighborhood. I bet something like that would be considered child abuse/neglect by some Big Brother these days.

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