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It's what they eat, not what they play
We live in less-innocent times

 Despite Miss America's advice, video games are not the root cause behind kids' lack of physical fitness today.
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Date published: 2/6/2010

"WE NEED to get our kids back outside, playing imaginary games with sticks in the street, like I did when I was little" in the mid-'90s, new Miss America Caressa Cameron of Spotsylvania County told judges when asked a question about physical fitness and childhood obesity.

"Take away the TV, take away the video games," she said at a press conference after being crowned.

Um, yeah, Caressa. I completely understand what you're saying. But my family lives in Spotsylvania, too. Back in the mid-'90s, as a parent you would definitely have wanted your kids carrying very large sticks if they were going out into the street to play unsupervised. Maybe a Taser, too. And pepper spray. Tragically, that was a time when the county was being terrorized by child-killer Richard Marc Evonitz.

And then there was the beginning of the next decade, when you couldn't let your child go out in the front yard without fear he or she would be shot dead during the sniper spree. A businessman from Philadelphia was cut down for no reason while he was filling his tank with gas three-quarters of a mile from our house here in Spotsylvania.

Sadly, like a lot of other parents, my wife and I have come to feel that telling little Johnny and Sally, "Run on outside and play--just be back in time for dinner," borders on criminal negligence today. Unfortunately, life is no longer as carefree as it was on "Leave It to Beaver."

We live across the street from a playground, and it's often empty, even on nice days. And the reason for that is more complex than the notion that parents are irresponsibly allowing their kids to be lazy, sitting on the couch eating chips, watching TV and playing video games.

Sadly, an endless series of news accounts about child abductions and murders has responsible parents across the nation concerned about letting their children go outdoors unsupervised.

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