Tell me I didn’t see what I saw…

I know that Mercury just got out of retrograde or something like that but I know I didn’t just see what I saw…

An exercise bicycle for KIDS, like toddler kids.

Yes, I saw an advertisement for it on TV. It powers some sort of video game.

Okay, this is wrong on so many levels.

Allow me to clarify and say that I do not have kids so I speak from very little experience. However, since when do kids need indoor exercise equipment? This is sort of a two-edged sword because adults really shouldn’t need them either but adults are off making money, paying bills, going to yoga classes, schmoozing and doing important grown-up stuff.

But kids? Kids with exercise equipment? That’s just wrong.

What happened to sending your kids into the yard with an old pot and two wooden spoons? What happened to digging holes and trying to strike water so that you could make a custom outdoor toilet that would really flush? (Okay, did NO ONE else try to do that?!?) What happened to good old bikes and games of chase and hide-n-seek? Do kids really not do those anymore?

I’m seriously asking because I don’t know but, if they don’t, that just seems so very sad to me. Those are all crucial parts of a good childhood. I mean, I know times have changed but when is enough enough? Don’t kids NEED pots and pans, dirt, fresh air, space to make noise and messes, books, wooden toys that don’t meow or bark… time to be just… kids? Don’t all kids need that, whether they are in the 17th century or the 21st century? Have I been this disillusioned all this time?

Perhaps so.

But on some very deep level I know that I’m not disillusioned enough to be okay with an advertisement for an exercise bike for kids. I’m just not.

I need to take my own advice for sure and I’m not shirking that but kids, lend me your ears and listen… Go forth and get the good, ol’ fashioned, fresh air exercise! The bike might look cool but sooner or later, it will just be another thing for the cat to sleep on and the clothes to hang on.

Trust me on this one.

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28 thoughts on “Tell me I didn’t see what I saw…

  1. I’m with you on this one, I think that’s crap! Too many people build ridiculously large houses with no yard for the kids to play in, and I think that’s one of the problems. And as you say, adults are busy, and I think some parents are so busy schmoozing and making money to pay for the too-big too-expensive house, that they have no time to play ball with the kids or go bike riding. I don’t know where the world is heading, sometimes I think people have their priorities wrong.

  2. I totally understand what you are saying.I grew up playing in the yard making mud pies and necklaces from flowers from the clover which my Mother wore proudly.I have 19 grandchildren and I know for a fact only my oldest sons children really enjoy being outdoors.Why do parents let their children stay indoors I will never know.When mine were small they were up had breakfast and headed out the door,I had to call them in to eat,I think all children should play out doors,fresh air,listen to birds,enjoy the flowers,walk in the grass bare feet.I still remember the feeling of grass between my toes.My boys used to kill all the grass in our yard,but like the song says (it’ll come back God and the rain will bring it back)so we let our kids be kids.I just wish all our children would think about those days and get their kids out of the house and away from the tv and computer games and put outside in the sunshine!

  3. You are right. There has been this big movement in the last (I would say) 10 years, unfortunately with the age of the internet, that you dont need to go outside everything you need is right here indoors. Need fresh air, open a window. I think with the newest craft movement there is a new movement of raising children. Look at Amanda from Soule Mama (http://soulemama.typepad.com), she got a book offer for raising her children creatively and many more parents are taking the ideas and are off running. We are starting to realize that how things were done during our parents (and grandparents) time as children maybe wasn’t so bad and we are moving back towards that. TVs are going in the closet (coming out on Thursdays for one special show), aprons are being put on to make cupcakes, and kids are once again enjoying what nature gives us!

    The thing is though for this revolution to come about again parents have to do more then talk about it, they actually have to do it and go outside and enjoy life with their kids. (just my two cents)

  4. I’m with you completely. I certainly hold strongly to the idea that children just need to be allowed to use their imagination and the physical exercise will come.

    The really laughable thing is that I imagine a child would much prefer a “real” bike and a few trips around the block than a silly ol’ stationery bike to plunk on….oh, wait, is that so they can continue to watch the tv AND exercise? Brillliant.

    I agree with Stefanie above about there being a movement toward simple togetherness in our activites, but I see in my own circle of friends, a real dichotomy of beliefs. The majority of my friends (and myself, I’d like to think) are wanting the simple pleasures (baking together, sewing, creating, reading, playing games, hiking), but there’s another group of friends (whom I love dearly) that are really into the worldliness of the “next great toy” or video game or the newest class for kids. They sort of “provide” the experiences rather than participate with them.

    I think that bike thing you talked about is just another marketing ploy……..and see, you’re a savvy mom already, even before you’ve had your babies!! 🙂

  5. I think you should get one for Delali. Dress him up in some lycra shorts and get him a little catty exercise bike.

    You’re right, it is awful. I’m thinking about a worse case scenario where parents live in sky rises and their kids don’t have access to outdoors, in which case it is still wrong, but better than nothing. I’m just being argumentative though, I agree that it is totally ludicrous. I dread to think what will be thought of next.

  6. Wha? You’re joking right? Did you actually see a real commercial for that?

    Wow. That is so scary. And wrong.

    I have a five year old and he is all about being outside and the soccer playing and the bike riding. Sometimes, and I’m not proud of this, but when I’m tired of being outside, I find myself actually saying to him, “Don’t you want to go in and watch SpongeBob?”

    But for the most part, 99% of the time, I’m thrilled that he’s so active and enjoys fun, wholesome, good ole activity.

  7. LOL! I saw it on a commerical a few months back and thought it was ridiculous. Imagine my surprise when my MIL called me to tell me that is what she got my son for Christmas! I was totally opposed to the idea until I sat and thought about it a bit…. he does LOVE video games. Not that we own anything but the educational ones, LeapFrog, V-Tech, etc. And we totally limit those to once or twice a week for 30 minutes. So if he’s going to be playing them anyway, I guess it certainly can’t hurt that he’s moving while he’s playing them. Especially since kids (or at least my kids) are more prone to watching television playing (educational) video games during Winter. Here in the North East there are sometimes quite a few days in a row during the really cold season that it simply not feasible to go outdoors (due to snow and temps). I do actually worry occasionally during that time about how to burn off energy and promote good exercise when we are indoors so much. To me the more that I thought about it, I don’t think it’s actually intended to be an exercise device, but more of a “since they’re going to be sitting anyway, let’s get them moving!”. I actually saw a prime time news interview the other day with a school disctrict in one city that has the same idea — exercise bikes hooked to Wii’s, and what not for actual Gym class. They do not only use this method, but it is in addition to the more traditional methods of P.E. So I guess the idea is catching on in more than one place. Not that I am trying to champion them by any means… just trying to see the good in them since I’m apparently going to own one. *rolling my eyes* I do know that I won’t be investing any money in games for this thing, and the time will be limited. In my mind I see it as another gaming system, whether he is pedaling or not, and it will be limited. I worry that parents will not think of the negative effects of too much tv/video games and just view it as a positive thing. I think it can be a positive thing if people use it in moderation and not view it as an exercise routine, but as what it really is – a video game that makes you work to play it. But I am a firm believer that being outside, breathing in the fresh air, and running the grass is the best form of exercise for anyone… it does both the physical body good and the emotional as well!

  8. I have two kids – and I think the same thing as you. I saw it at Costco and thought it was crazy, then I saw it in a parenting magazine and they were naming it a toy of the year?!?!?!

    1. I think kids should just play outside, run around and be kids
    2. I don’t think kids shoudl play video games, I grew up in a home without them and I turned out fine. My husband doesn’t play them, they are a big waste of time.
    3. I guess the only reason people would do this and the magazine would say it is the toy of the year is IF you are going to encourage video games then make it a good one, like this?!

  9. Ha! This is a pretty silly product. But I suppose if they’re playing video games anyway, they might as well work for it. Not everyone’s got a yard to play in anyway.

  10. I’m yet to see the commercial for this, but was scanning the Walmart ad with my son this afternoon (he’s preparing for Christmas already – yikes!) and saw the bike in there.

    I think it’s just another sign that parents would rather toss their kids in front of the tv than play with them outside. People were saying “but if your child watches too much tv and plays too many video games, he won’t get enough excercise.” Ta-da! Exercise and tv in one – perfect!

    *gag*

    Some of my most joyful moments during the day are watching my son run around the house with an imaginary friend using his play hammer as an axe to break windows (our couch cushions) and save people from fires. I can’t imagine having as much fun watching him on his “exercise bike.”

  11. Hi! I came over from NaBloPoMo. I’m challenging myself to comment on as many blogs as possible this month.

    It was recently discovered that children retain more knowledge when exercising. I, by no means, agree with the whole bike-hooked-up-to-a-tv thing, but I believe the video game in question actually teaches children basic math skills (counting and such). I could be totally wrong, I only saw a snipet of said commercial when my local news was doing a story on the study.

    Happy Posting!

  12. Hi, I’m Eve. I found you on the blogroll at NaBloPoMo. I’m trying to visit as many bloggers as possible and leave a short message to say hello. I can be found at Adamswife.Wordpress.com

    Okay, I saw that commercial, too. Had the same reaction as you. I have 4 grandkids who do not need an exercise bike. Somedays, though, they spend all their time on their little tushies at the computer or the tv. Mostly they get a good mix of outdoor fun and indoor veging. Unfortunately, it is not safe for our children to run and play and do many of the things we did as children. You have to worry everytime they step beyond the fence that some predator may be there to snatch them. And there are stories every year of children taken from their own yards, even their own houses. So maybe if you are concerned for your kids’ safety an exercise bike can be useful.

  13. Karen Beth – I just caught up on the last 5 or 6 of your posts and have so much to say – so much of it struck home with me!

    First of all – I am so sorry you had a bad day or few days – I don’t know if it was to do with your ‘internet time’ post but no matter. I hope you are feeling much better and I am sending hugs your way.

    As for the internet – yep I have seriously cut down recently. Blogs and blog reading are really important to me but so is making a living, friends (online and offline) family, my partner, my work, and me time. Balance. Hard to achieve but vital to ‘living’. Your blog friends (the good ones) will still be here whether you comment every day or every few. It is something I have had to cut down on – but I am hoping that folk will understand if I can;t check in every day.

    The shock horror films – oh gosh I am so with you on that – I would never go and see a film like Saw – it’s disgusting, unecessary and harmful in my humble opinion!

    Kiddies excercise bikes – Oh I am with you on this too! Get outside and get some fresh air kidlets! ( I blame the parents myself!) Ok so I am not a parent so I can’t really empathise but kids need to be outside!

    Ok so that is me caught up – I really hope you have a wonderful 50% internet free weekend. If I lived near you rather than over the sea I would take you for an internet free girly day out!

    xxx

  14. I tried to dig to China. : )

    *sigh* The kids toys now a days are a little sad. I see the commercials for the baby computers and have to roll my eyes. Babies that cannot walk, or talk, or read, or write..do not need to know how to operate a mouse and keyboard. ‘They’ want everything to come so young for these children. There is no longer any time for just being a kid. Children have to learn to read and write before they even get into Pre-K. It just seems like so much to me.

  15. As a teacher, I see so much of the issues with overly sheltered children. People bemoan that their kids cannot safely do anything outside, etc. so they have to have things like exercise bikes. It has been my observation that the “its not safe” argument is actually a cover up for the “its not convenient” argument. Think- when we were running around outside, we were running around in streets and areas that had adults within ear’s reach most of the time. The lady down the street would see us or the other kids in the park. Adults spend so much time indoors now- at work, at the computer, with the windows closed and the AC cranked up, etc. – that they cannot/do not divert attention to what’s going on on the block. For kids to be safe outside, adults would have to be aware of them being there.

    The other thing that freaks me out is the number of children who are driven to school. I’m not talking about bus riders- they ride because they are usually more than 2 miles from the school. But so many of us walked or rode bikes to school. Many schools don’t even have bike corrals anymore. the traffic around schools is crazy and the time constraints that adults impose upon themselves to transport the kids makes even more stress. The antidote to this would be parents taking the time to teach their kids travel and home responsibility skills so they could safely be at home alone when they were of the right age. People criticize the latch key kid concept, but we all seemed to survive both the latch key and the great out doors.

  16. Wow, the exercise bike is pretty scary, I agree! I’m reading a great book right now called “Last Child in the Woods,” and it’s a very interesting look at how children (and adults too, for that matter) are getting more and more disconnected from nature, and outdoor play, and what that means for their own social, psychological and neurological development, not just their physical health. It’s very interesting – and very sobering.

  17. Listen…
    I HAVE kids – 3 of them and I think this thing is RIDICULOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I just saw it on TV the other day and I had the SAME reaction you did…”what the%^&*(?”

    I think it is sad that kids NEED to be entertained…these days we actually have to TEACH them HOW to be imaginative…

    I don’t know about you but I didn’t LEARN that anywhere when I was a kid! It was ALL me!!!

  18. Pingback: Digging my way out « Zazazu

  19. I am totally in agreement. We had the opportunity to test this “bike” before it was on the market, and i am so glad that we did. Yeah its cute, but come on…go outside and teach your kids to ride a real bike. We had to return it, for it wasnt ours to keep, and the kids didnt even miss it. They see it on tv, and they say, we had that, but never ask for it.
    Thanks for voicing your opinion. Now if only more people would.

  20. I wholeheartedly agree with you on this. It’s true, being a kid with all the distractions has completely changed for many families but not all. Kids spend entirely too much time inside either watching tele, playing video games or spending time on the computer. That’s why obesity is such an epidemic. There is nothing that will replace outdoor activity. I remember begging to be outside longer than I was allowed; after the street lights went on.
    I, too, need to remember this and get outside. I always prefer walking than driving and do it as often as I can.

  21. It’s like killing two birds with one stone, the kids get their video games still but they get the exercise they need. It’s really sad that it’s come to that. I have almost no memory of TV shows from my childhood because I was outside all the time. A swing set and a bike was heaps of fun.

  22. Hmm, at first I was thinking that was silly, but, if it gets kids exercising who don’t have a yard or space to just run about and play (sadly there are so many that don’t live within walking or driving distance of a park, at least where I live), and have a video game thingy anyway, it might be good for them. Of course, it would be my hope that it would encourage them to develop a love of healthy activities. I’d probably be more supportive of this if it powered an educational video game (does it?) and even more so if it gets them away from the violent video games that are out there now (and I’ve seen kids playing online at the library).
    Great post!!! This really got me thinking and feeling grateful that I was lucky enough as a child to be able to ride my bike around the neighborhood and that I always had a big yard to play in.
    I’m so glad I’m not a parent having to deal with this kind of stuff these days! I’m so not ready for parenting! And I thought cats were tough to raise! 🙂

  23. I think You are absolutely right on this. this is ridiculous… and sad…..
    Is this really what we are leaving for our next generation? I thought we are learning something from our mistakes. Obviously not……….

    I`m happy to see my elder son go out after school and return shortly before dinner time, but I know what is going on in the world.

  24. Egads! I just saw a picture of it and it is beyond tacky and it’s all plastic-y. Ugh. I was thinking of a cute little bicycle a la Lance Armstrong for city-kids, but this, it clearly is not. 😦
    I love what commenter Eva wrote, “Is this really what we are leaving for our next generation? I thought we are learning something from our mistakes. Obviously not….”
    Right on! 🙂
    Oh–don’t get me started on the toys seen in a Toys R Us ad! What happened to good books, or crayons? And every child should experience the magical baking of mud-pies, even if I have to cart them off to a farm myself! 🙂

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