The kids are all right

Children in the Ward, Toronto, c. 1911

Children in the Ward, Toronto, c. 1911

The more things change, the more they stay the same:

“Parents who believe babies can sleep in their arms, in a baby carriage or go-cart while they gad about with them at Hanlan’s Point or Scarboro Beach Park will have a sorry awakening some day. But they will ascribe it to something else, not their own gross abuse of the baby. Most of our children do not get enough rest and sleep; rest should mean complete relaxation of the muscles, and a young babe should be in its bed before seven o’clock, and stay there till morning, except for necessary feeding and care.

There is one thing our children do get enough of, and that is amusement; they get too much of the stimulating, exciting, and unhealthy kind of amusement. A child needs amusement, but of the simplest [kind] and largely in the nature of play. Moving-picture shows, band concerts, days and nights at Hanlan’s Point, Scarboro Beach, the Midway at the Exhibition, and light operas at the theatre are making our children blasé before they are out of their ‘teens, and giving them a weak, unstable, nervous system and a mushy sentiment which they dream is genuine feeling.”

Dr. W.E. Struthers
Chief Medical Inspector, Toronto Board of Education
1912

It should be noted that the generation Dr. Struthers is fretting about later went and defeated Germany and Japan in a globe-spanning contest of arms lasting just six years.

Maybe that lump on your couch playing Halo will turn out to be something, after all.

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