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January 29, 2009

Wake up, parents

Children today don’t have a clue how to be kids without a laptop computer, iPod, Xbox, Nintendo Wii, Blu-ray player, MP3 player and high-dollar cell phone to use just for texting.

I think it’s great that our children are learning how to use all the latest technology, but do they have to be shut up in their houses six hours or longer each and every day?

This Christmas when the kids were out of school, I was driving around and noticed that there were no kids outside. They are in the house, playing with their gadgets and gizmos while eating junk food and drinking soda or power drinks like Red Bull with enough caffeine to keep these little obese adolescents awake for days.

All the while, both parents are scratching their heads wanting to know why Billy and Jennifer are so hyper and strung out and either seeing a child psychologist for mood swings or an orthopedic surgeon for carpal tunnel syndrome.

Parents, wake up before we have a generation of adults who have no common sense or communication skills.

I admire these kids for wanting to master all these gadgets, but at what price?

Mike Trinastich Sr.



Mike, as a parent of 2 boys I can say just because you don’t see kids in their driveways doesn’t mean they are being lazy. I suggest you try checking out the skateboard park on 7700 Mission road or the Lenexa one on 87th. On any good day they are packed with kids. Or drive out to the Okum gym on Johnson Drive or the Tomahawk Dome on Midland. Evenings, weekends, and during holidays they are packed all day with basketball and soccer games. Or try the Matt Ross center and see all the kids packing out the pool. There are also kids involved in scouts, youth groups, dance, service projects, and clubs. Just wait until spring and you’ll see the kids out playing soccer, baseball, tennis, and even golf. If anything our kid’s lives are too busy with school, sports, and clubs so I don’t think a little Christmas break is out of line.

Finally don’t accuse parents of letting their kids veg all day eating junk food or Red Bull. I am around kids all the time at school, church, and activities and its darn rare to see one whos obese or not involved in something.

So next time please, try looking around a little harder and don’t make assumptions about all parents and kids.

Pub 17

Oh, I love this letter.
I loved it in the fifties, when kids were hooked on TV.
I loved it in the sixties, when kids were-- well, forget about the sixties.
I loved it in the seventies, when kids were listening to taped music all day.
I loved it in the eighties, when kids were glued to their Atari 2600s.
I loved it in the nineties, when kids were glued to their computers/video games.
I've loved it this decade, when kids are glued to a bunch of devices with interfixed capitals in their names I can't comprehend.

Mike, you've grown older but not wiser. Your contention that everybody played more competitive sports in the fifties is simply crap. Remember "Where Did You Go? Out. What Did You Do? Nothing"? Thought not. For those of you who weren't there, THERE WAS AN NYT BEST-SELLER DEDICATED TO TEACHING KIDS IN THE FIFTIES MUMBLETY-PEG, FOR GODSAKE, BECAUSE KIDS IN THE FIFTIES DIDN'T KNOW NOTHIN' FROM ALL THAT TV THEY WATCHED.


One middle age guy to another, thanks for stopping in Mike.

Papa Mike

I'm NOT trying to generalize anyone or anything. I grew up in the mid 50's to early 60's, and I promise you, not many adults, and hardly any children, were over weight!! I don't think 'obese' was even a word way back then..LOL

I guess you didn't read the last sentence in my article where I said, "I admire these kids for wanting to master all these gadgets, but at what price"? I realize times have changed from when I was young when we didn't have all these gadgets to keep us in the house all day. Mom and dad made sure we ate 3, MOST of the time HEALTHY good meals a day,at HOME,and had very few high fat and high caloric treats. TREATS,the only treats or snacks we had was what we bought from our allowance...NO we didn't walk 10 miles to school, up hill BOTH ways!

One thing that we had going our way back a long time ago...LOL, was we played a LOT of participation AND competitive sports, Not just one or two.It would not be unusual for most kids to play basketball, baseball, football, track, golf and swimming in the same year. We didn't have to work out, lift weights, jog or anything like that and very,very few were out of shape. PLEASE do NOT get me wrong, I'm NOT saying all children today are fat or obese, and I am aware the times and technology have changed, their future depends on them learning all they can and I would be the first to say it...They just need to put the 'gizmo's down for a bit and get out of the house and enjoy being with their friends, face to face, without TEXTING them while iPod ear buds are hanging from your necks..LOL. Take it from me, when you become old there's no going back in time to do things different.

I believe the main driving force behind my generation growing up was.....our PARENTS LED BY EXAMPLE.

Here is a short article from "Kid's Health For Parents" if you still think I'm picking on all your children while not knowing a little about what I'm talking about.

The percentage of overweight children in the United States is growing at an alarming rate — 1 out of 3 kids are now considered overweight or obese.

Many kids are spending less time exercising and more time in front of the TV, computer, or video-game console. And today's busy families have fewer free moments to prepare nutritious, home-cooked meals, day in and day out. From fast food to electronics, quick and easy seems to be the mindset of many people in the new millennium.

Preventing kids from becoming overweight means adapting the way your family eats and exercises, and how you spend time together. Helping kids lead healthy lifestyles begins with parents who lead by example.

you can read more about this subject here:



The generation before mine called television "the boob tube" because it was going to make idiots out of us all. Today's kids have swapped television for computers. Life goes on.

But the obesity thing...I think that is caused as much by poor nutrition as anything else. Fast food and processed prepackaged foods are so popular, and they're marketed as being 'all natural' and 'healthy' when they're nothing but poisonous swill. Did you know you can now buy mini cookies in a tall plastic cup so you can just pour them down your throat? UGH!!!

Shop around the perimeter of the store because that's where the fresh stuff is. Spend as little time going through the aisles as you possibly can. Better still, take the kids to City Market and let them help pick out fresh produce and meats. Introduce them to the ethnic grocery stores. You will eat healthier, have more energy, sleep better, think better and you might be amazed at how much less you spend on the family food bill.

And for heaven's sake, TEACH YOUR KIDS HOW TO COOK.



I know what you mean, my dad was a great man, person and father. I am one of six siblings who would all the same. BUT, after him working a 10-12 hour day you did not want to be underfoot when his station wagon pulled up



Same with us, summer days and weekends, and in the school year you'd hurry home, do your homework and hopefully still have an hour to get outside before the streetlights came on. We'd wear out the tread on our bike tires, and everyone knew how to fix a flat.

mike d, you grew up in the video age. Visiting my 8 yr old nephew last summer he has a Wii and kicked my but on every game.

mike d

Nice over generalization of what you think is going on in everyone's houses, Mike. I grew up in the 70's and I knew plenty of fat kids who played outside every day with other kids who were complete idiots. We had Walkmans and video games and we could buy cigarettes and all of the good things in life. And we turned out fine(?).

Seriously, We bought a Wii with Wii-Fit over the holidays and we have played it as a family almost every day since. It has truly brought us closer together as well as given us a fun way to exercise. If you don't have one I strongly recommend it.

Since the dawn of man people like Mike have predicted mankind's demise because succeeding generations are growing up "different" then they did. And yet we somehow roll on.


I wonder what NMMNG's take on this will be. I can hardly wait!


"Could it just be a matter of perspective?"

Doubtful, since there are hard numbers backing up the fact that kids weigh more these days.

When we were kids, we hit the door every summer morning by 8:00AM and were off to run the neighborhood with friends until a 30 minute break for lunch. The afternoon progressed the same way, and we usually had to be dragged into the house when the sun went down.

I would point to the lack of physical activity as a cause of the increasing obesity of the younger generation.

T. Hanson

It is hard to say why kids are getting fatter and lazier. Could it just be a matter of perspective? Or is it because most parents can afford cable in every room of the house (including the kid's room)? Is it because the school's need to send more homework home with kids b/c they are too busy during the day teaching them how to take test?

Many things have changed since the 80's for me at least. But one of the key things that would get kids out is a good mean father. The one that you did not want to be in the same house with after he got home from work. That worked for me to go out and play when I got home. :)

Joking aside.. he was a great dad.

T. Hanson

Why are you asking those poor parents to do work?

I figured once they get a kid toilet trained and how to use the remote on the TV their job is done. Now it is the responsibility of the school district and the internet to teach him/her everything they need.


Studies show that kids are getting fatter, and most point to a lack of physical activity as the biggest culprit.

V-V, your neighbor is to be commended, but he seems to be the exception, not the rule.


Good morning v-v,

I would think most kids fall between your neighbors kids and those the letter writer describes. Your neighbor kid, sad to say, is not the average kid.


Complain much Mike? Every generation is convinced the next generation of kids is growing up the wrong way.

Our neighbor's kid is 16. He mastered every "gadget" you can think of -- cell phones, computers, MP3 players, etc. But he also works out four days per week in off-season conditioning for football, practices his baseball skills often and plays in Youth Symphony as well as his school orchestra and a quartet with friends. Did I mention his Boy Scout and church and other activities?

But I guess you're only interested in condemning the whole generation.

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