Where Are You Kids?

Claymeadow Recreation Ground
Claymeadow Recreation Ground

I took this photo today of Claymeadow recreation ground in Hounsdown.

It’s a summer’s day, in the school holidays but completely empty.

One advantage of being old, like me, is that you get to witness social trends over half a century or more.

When I was a schoolboy, much of the holidays would have been spent in the local recreation ground.

It was where you met up with your friends and played football or cricket all day long.

My local was Testwood recreation ground.

It was barely ever empty and sometimes there would be over 50 of us, just playing football with jumpers for goalposts.

I have a few theories as to why kids of today make much less use of recreation grounds.

I would be interested in hearing you view…

My theories are :

1. Fear of abuse

(I don’t think that there is actually any more risk these days than 50 years ago) but we are constantly informed of every incident that ever happens, giving the perception that stranger danger is much more common than is actually the case.

2. Play Station / X-Box / tablets and mobile phones.

Kids are at home, playing on screens rather than exercising and engaging directly with their friends.

3. Affluence.

When I grew up, going into town (usually by bus) was a special treat and it was rare indeed to eat out or do anything by way of paid for leisure activities (perhaps only the cinema).

I am not sure there is any easy answer to recreation grounds being under-utilised.

I would certainly like to see them being used more, not least because of the growing problem of obesity.

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