This is a blog, not a book, so I won’t go into all the historical precedents that set the stage for the loss of childhood that started at the end of WWII. Instead, I will lay out the forces, point to more in-depth sources, and suggest ways to protect childhood.
- The imposition of top-down education instead of bottom-up learning has become so ingrained and institutionalized that savvy parents turn to private or homeschooling.
- Homework in the elementary grades, which was nonexistent in the ’60s, has become ubiquitous and onerous, and testing has become the measure of learning.
- The rush to have screens replace books has given rise to a perfect platform for product placement advertising with all its negative baggage.
- Our society has become one big game with infinite fractals branching into every nook and cranny of our lives.
- Rather than use game theory for good, the overwhelming utility is found in it hooking us, especially kids, providing enough reward to keep the play going, and never being fully satisfying.
- One way gamification is addictive is by slicing reality into smaller and smaller slivers which makes critical thinking impossible.
- Rapid-fire imagery is a “feature” of TicTok and is the darling of advertising and far too many children’s programs and games and is used to trigger us.
- The sole purpose of advertising is unbridled consumption, killing the planet and leading to chronic dissatisfaction.
- This short video spells this all out: https://thoughtmaybe.com/advertising-at-the-edge-of-the-apocalypse
I promised at the start I would provide ways to protect childhood. But, as the saying goes, “It takes a village.” So, forthwith, here are the elders of my village of play.
- Maggie Dent Why are We Still Stealing Childhood?
- Krystina Castella Designing for Kids, Creating, Playing, Learning
- Penny Wilson The Playwork Primer
- Lenore Skenazy Free Range Kids
- Dr. Peter Gray Free to Learn
- Suzanne Axelsson Interaction Imagination
- Nancy Striniste Nature Play at Home
- Tom Hobson Teacher Tom’s Second Book
- Dr. Stuart Brown Play: How it Shapes the Brain
- Rusty Keeler Adventures in Risky Play
- Tim Gill Rethinking Childhood – Urban Playground