Teens Ask: 'Where Are All The Kids?'

This summer, The Allegheny Front is looking at how kids connect with nature and how that's changed over generations. We hear from Sara Williams and Holly Herman, from City Charter High School in Pittsburgh, who survey their friends and teachers to find out what games they used to play outdoors.

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JORDAN: This summer, The Allegheny Front is looking at how kids connect with nature and how thatís changed over generations. Today, we hear from Sara Williams and Holly Herman from City Charter High School in Pittsburgh.

WILLIAMS:If you took a time machine back as little as 10 years what would be different about your neighborhood? Would there possibly be more trees, fewer homes and vacant lots? One thing that would be different is the noise. Our typical everyday noises like the roar of traffic or the buzz of a teenager's cell phone would be replaced by the sound of laughter and pure curiosity of a kid who is spending countless hours enjoying the outdoors and what it has to offer.

HERMAN: According to our 10th grade Math teacher Robert Harris when he was younger this was the only way of life he knew.

HARRIS: I remember when I was probably six or seven, there were these trees that if you got high enough in the trees, you could make them bend back and forth.I was young enough to where I thought I was an animal. I pretended like I was a monkey. I'd make the trees swing and then jump to another tree.

HERMAN: As Mr. Harris has gotten older, heís noticed less and less children outside and being creative in ways like he was. The games now are more preset.

HARRIS: I see kids out playing, but it's like out playing by the pool. I don't see a lot of kids in the neighborhood just using their imagination or making things up.

WILLIAMS: But can we really blame kids for not being creative? With the constant distraction of our technology-obsessed everyday life how do you expect kids to know that they can be creative? Has anyone ever taught them how to play the games we used to enjoy as kids?

HERMAN: We talked Kali Morrissey, a student at City Charter High School, about her experiences outside.

MORRISSEY: I used to always like to play duck duck goose. You get a whole bunch of people and you sit in a circle. And then one person gets up and pats them on top of their head, and they say, "Duck. Duck. Duck." And whenever the person says, "Goose," then they get up and chase each other and you got to get to their seat before they do.

HERMAN: As Kali got older she became less and less interested in playing outside

MORRISSEY: I used to play it in middle school, a couple of years ago, but I haven't played it since.

WILLIAMS: What do you think is stopping you from going out and playing this game now?

MORRISSEY: Because I'm 15.

HERMAN: We also interviewed Angelo Carr who spoke about the reason why he thinks kids are not outside.

CARR: Kids are just different now. They're way more grown than we were. They donít want to do what we did. They want to do what do at our age. I remember when I was younger, the older kids taught us how to play these games. And then we t aught other kids. I donít see other kids outside playing to teach them how to play these games.

WILLIAMS: It's unfortunate that so much can change is such a short amount of time. No longer are kids like Holly and me outside exploring and adventuring we now spend immeasurable amounts of time surfing the Internet indoors, watching television indoors, and even exercising indoors. From one generation to the next, kid are rapidly losing the ability to play free or restrictions. For The Allegheny Front, I'm Sara Williams.

HERMAN: For The Allegheny Front, I'm Holly Herman.