Sunday, September 2, 2007

It Doesn't Happen Just At Work: Micromanaging Our Children's Lives

An elementary school has banned tag on its playground after some children complained they were harassed or chased against their will. "It causes a lot of conflict on the playground," said Cindy Fesgen, assistant principal of the Discovery Canyon Campus school in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Running games are still allowed as long as students don't chase each other, she said. In 2005, two elementary schools in the nearby Falcon School District did away with tag and similar games in favor of alternatives with less physical contact. School officials said the move encouraged more students to play games and helped reduce playground squabbles.

So what's the real reason. Well out of Attleboro, Massachusetts comes the real answer. Officials at an elementary school south of Boston have banned kids from playing tag, touch football and any other unsupervised chase game during recess for fear they'll get hurt and hold the school liable. Recess is "a time when accidents can happen," said Willett Elementary School Principal Gaylene Heppe, who approved the ban. Liabilty. The word that launched a thousand lawsuits. Now it hits one of the most basic games of being a kid. Tag. "I think that it's unfortunate that kids' lives are micromanaged and there are social skills they'll never develop on their own," said Debbie Laferriere, who has two children at Willett, about 40 miles south of Boston. "Playing tag is just part of being a kid."

Well, that's not the only games getting hit in the press this week. Remember sitting awkwardly in a circle, playing spin the bottle and getting our first kiss with a braces-wearing uggo in a group of giggling school children? Well, the game has gone high-tech. Now you can relive those wonderful days with Toys4Me's Electronic Spin the Bottle. To limit liability I'm sure, this game that takes all the difficulty out of both spinning and getting an actual bottle. The toy also throws Truth and Dare into the equation, adding 130 questions and a "Forfeit" mode that helps you end your humiliation when it gets too steamy or when your lip is painfully caught in aforementioned braces. At $34 dollars, it's a wonder why anyone would spend the money to buy a bottle that essentially spins and asks questions for you, as both tasks seem to be pretty simple to master.

Still, if all else fails, it's a great way to practice fellatio. Tag, you're out!