NOT THE GREAT OUTDOORS: It's hard to get the kids to play outside when there's always something on TV.
NOT THE GREAT OUTDOORS: It's hard to get the kids to play outside when there's always something on TV. Getty Images

When TV's just too enticing

I HAVE watched the sun rise from the roof of our family home, swum in dams and pedalled my bike through the scrub at night.

All before my teen years.

Back then, I simply could not understand the heart attacks I gave my mother.

It was just us having fun.

What else were we going to do when we only had two TV channels (ABC and SEQTV - if you're playing along at home)?

Now, with babies of my own, I can see the risk much more clearly.

Still, the plan has always been for our children to have the same rough-and-tumble childhood, filled with dubious tree houses, unsupervised adventures and an unbridled run of the land that I was lucky to have as a youngster.

Cue our move into the (relative) countryside. But this is no longer the early 1980s and while I would like to imagine things haven't changed all that much ... they really have.

For starters, there is no end to the entertainment available on the Idiot Box these days; or the countless games and videos on the internet.

Outside our house, there is thick scrub which I would have been delighted with in my youth - it has a million hiding places, a plethora of climbing trees and acres of space just to let my imagination wander.

But to my children, they're always aware that there is something better on TV.

To them, that bushland is something to be wary of during the day, and downright scared of at night.

It seems my children cannot leave the house yard without a guardian within earshot.

My mother might have been pleased to see what responsible, careful grandchildren she has. But I must admit, I'm a little disappointed.

I know what fun a little rebellion can be. And truth be told, I'd rather they stretch their boundaries here and now, than say in three or four years' time with some friends deciding to ditch school. And take drugs. Or join the Young Liberal Movement.

Anyway, I am aware of the part we have played in their delicate dispositions.

Before moving here, we were playground parents. The ones that played with the kids, or were never far away, so it's a little rich for us to suddenly expect they would take it upon themselves to play apart from us.

It's nice to be needed, but also a little difficult now we have land to maintain and a house to renovate.

In the end, we're the ones outside doing odd jobs, keenly aware of the children in the airconditioned lounge room watching some dude, playing video games in the UK, via YouTube.

Peta-Jo is an author and mother of three living in the very harsh conditions of the Wide Bay area. Basically like Bear Grylls. Visit her on Facebook.



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