Remember the good old days when you and a bunch of your friends would get together and go hang out outside somewhere, whether it was in your back yard or the mall or any other available location?

And then you grew up and noticed how that doesn’t seem to be a thing any more—you don’t really see that happening with the younger generations. Seemingly.

And then you begin assuming how this is a result of things like the internet and social media, and then the internet (well, Tumblr, actually) points out that there’s a whole different underlying reason behind it that makes everyone stop for a moment and rethink the younger generation’s social life.

More Info: Tumblr

Ever noticed how kids playing outside seems like a rarer occasion nowadays?

Image credits: Mitchell Jorstad

So, it all started with a tweet by architect Mitchell Jorstad, who wittily captioned a picture of a kid walking down the median strip of a busy street—if you can even call it a median as it’s also effectively in use and that means there ain’t much space to walk on.

The tweet read “older folks: ‘why don’t kids go outside anymore?’“, and a very appropriate caption “the outside they built:” followed with the above mentioned picture.

A tweet wittily pointing this out went viral and found itself on Tumblr where people discussed it in detail

Image credits: headspace-hotel

Image credits: enchantingcoffeenightmare

And while this is a pretty clever way of bringing the point across, it didn’t stop there as the tweet—besides blowing up on Twitter—also found its way into a now-viral Tumblr thread that elaborated on the whole ‘why can’t I see kids playing’ issue one step at a time.

This led to a string of explanations of how we got to this point, with user enchantingcoffeenightmare first sharing a screencap of a Facebook post that briefly sums up how everywhere became either forbidden, eliminated or simply too much of a luxury for kids to hang out there.

Most agreed that being outside for kids became a bit of a ‘social taboo’ because grown ups ruined it

Image credits: binch-worm

Image credits: berkleymews

Then there was the story by binch-worm how she was homeless as a kid and would often spend countless hours in the library reading books, until someone caught on and demanded that she and her brother quit “loitering” there, so they were eventually limited to an hour per day. Homeless kids, quietly reading the whole day just to avoid the cold outside. Loitering. [sigh]

But among the discussions, one explanation came out as the definitive reason for why this is a thing

Image credits: tacofrend

Anywho, some pictures, comics, and comments later, a user by the nickname of tacofrend said academics have already considered the issue of how just existing in public places is sometimes reacted to with hostility and punishment, pointing to author Gretchen McCulloch, who said they actually want to spend time outside doing social things, but they can’t because there isn’t a place to exist without being scrutinized for it.

Well, Gretchen McCulloch entered the chat to elaborate on several key things, quoting what she wrote in her book Because Internet.

This one writer explained that kids want to go outside, just that many public places became ‘hostile’

Image credits: allthingslingustic

Image credits: allthingslinguistic

Kids want to hang out with friends outside and in person, but these are made difficult because of things like suburban isolation, mall ‘hostility,’ and things like borderline overbooked schedules full of extracurricular activities that don’t really allow true freedom of having fun.

And this isn’t indicative of what they’ll be doing in a decade as the previous generation used to spend hours on phones and in malls and whatnot, but they eventually became adults who got more freedom to do things without parental permission—and this was the key.

Image credits: allthingslinguistic

The reason why they prefer online is because meeting someone physically entails less freedom, more “scheduling,” control and surveillance from parents or guardians so as to keep them safe (this is further explained in her citation of the book that elaborated on it). Whereas online, where there are no parents and any of the above, it’s more fun.

Image credits: allthingslinguistic

The thread received quite a bit of attention, with the original tweet gaining over 103,500 likes and kicking off a discussion on Twitter. It soon appeared on Tumblr, spawning an entire thread elaborating on the issue and gaining another 190,300 notes, and then eventually ending up on Imgur with another 106,000 views and over 7,000 upvotes.

So, let’s continue the discussion—share your thoughts in the comment section below!