The Last Generation to Play Outside – Not the Last to Have an Imagination

I’ve seen this type of article around quite often. Kids these days, look at them with their technology and social media. They’re sucked into their own little world! It’s like they’re talking to their friends and sharing their experiences with their peers and seeing how others live their life, too. What a travesty.


Huffington Post had an article titled “The Last Generation of Kids that Played Outside“, and went on to say how kids have their imagination limited and are loosing their sense of wonder in the world, and I have to disagree.

We may not be inventing force fields and laser beams (yet), but we have the entire world at our fingertips. Sure, some kids do become addicted to their phones or tablets, but we still have sports teams, gyms, parks, and people who enjoy the outdoors. Its almost as if there are billions of unique individuals who all have their own personal tastes and preferences.

The kids growing up with this technology won’t be bland bots without a thought of their own. We’re still pushing the boundaries of what technology and science can do. We can 3D print living tissue and will soon be able to print organs. A man made an ‘artificial leaf’ that can create clean fuel.

Innovation does not come from running around outside and getting dirty. Don’t get me wrong, that was and still is the most fun, but that’s just me. Some prefer indoors, but that doesn’t mean they lack creativity. Imagination is a human condition, and one that is probably the most exciting.

Before the internet and all of our mobile devices, what you knew came from around you. Your parents, your neighborhood, your friends, your library. It was all something you’ve seen a thousand similar variations of. This was the world you knew, and you could only do so much with that. Your creativity stems from what you already know. You take that and stretch and bend it until you have something new. That is what brings about rockets and cell phones and art. It takes a kid with curiosity and imagination.

This generation has so much more to draw on. We’re now used to typing something into Google and immediately finding what we’re looking for, but what happens when we don’t find it? Do we quit? Do we shrug and settle with never knowing? No. We’re surprised that what we’re looking for isn’t there, so we dig deeper.

Some kids will make what they are looking for, some will look for another answer, and all of them will post their findings. Technology is advancing. There’s no stopping it. With technology connecting so many and more every day, we just have an ever-growing pool of information for us and future generations to draw on.

We still don’t know so much about ourselves and our planet and our universe. The curiosity is still there. There could be a kid who sees the design for something and thinks of a way it could be improved. It could be anything from a recipe to a rocket, but there will be a new version. There are kids who feel alienated by the people around them and not understand why, and find a culture or a religion or a identity that strikes a chord with them and they could pursue that instead of the identity they were given.

Not only that, but if kids today are learning in 5th grade what older generations learned in high school, how long do you think it would be until they started fixing old designs and creating new ones? This generation isn’t grown yet, and while there are still people in the world that would capitalize on others misfortune or bully someone for what they think, the generations coming up are more open-minded and forward-thinking than the past, just like twenty years from now we will (hopefully) be even better as a race.

No, we’re not perfect. Far from it. But then again, we never really were, and that’s okay.

And because the guy who wrote the article was a bit preachy in his quotes, here’s a different (better) one:

Do not raise children the way parents raised you; they were born for a different time.

~Ali Bin Abi Taleb, 599-661 AD (translated from Arabic)

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