Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fat, Feeble and Feckless? Not the Children I Meet; Columnist

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fat, Feeble and Feckless? Not the Children I Meet; Columnist

Article excerpt

Byline: Bernard Trafford

YOUNG people nowadays!" We've all heard it said, with a sigh, generally by people of a certain age and intolerant disposition. But, let's face it: kids today truly are a mess.

Evidence the recent media feeding-frenzy about the catastrophe, the health time-bomb, that's waiting to happen. Children are fat, feeble and feckless. They're weak-willed, live on pasties and chips, and are so obese that they're in imminent danger of heart attack, stroke and early death. Boys do nothing but play video games, never shifting their oversized buttocks from the couch. Girls are forever on Facebook. All social intercourse is digital. Kids are losing the ability to speak to one another face to face.

Their attention span is now too short to cope with that great board game Monopoly. Our family games took all Sunday afternoon. My wife would engineer an early bankruptcy so she could cook the tea while I endured a few more hours. Now Monopoly has a new 30-minute version; kids can't deal with anything longer.

A report back in July predicted a school holiday plague of cyber-bullying, a veritable tsunami of offensive teenaged messages flooding the Twittersphere. Blame schools: teachers spend the summer lazing around on the Costa Brava, while parents are nowadays too preoccupied and hopeless to do anything interesting with their own kids. The result is they are left to their own, invariably nefarious, devices.

It makes grim reading. Young people with the attention spans of goldfish are conversely spending countless hours creating internet mayhem while frying their brains and stuffing their faces. Forget the Olympic legacy. Tomorrow's sport will be played by immobile wobble-bottoms waggling a remote control in front of an enormous interactive screen.

What nonsense! What do newspapers get up to in the silly season? Sure, there's an element of truth in all the stories I've alluded to above, but I don't accept there's an all-out crisis.

There are indeed kids who truly are fat, feeble and feckless, and we should worry about them. …

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