American babies are being born at an alarming rate without arms and legs according to the National Ambulatory Association (NAA), a non-profit organization assisting families of children born without their arms and legs.
"It's no mystery," says one researcher, "when something is not used, it goes away. In the 60's, we used to be able to blame this phenomenon on drugs, but no more. It's our lifestyle."
The researcher was referring to a generation of children who have been raised by their IPods, MP3 players, microwave ovens, television sets and cell phones.
"They've been raised in a bubble and have no contact with the natural world," said Dr. Poindexter Parrish researcher for the NIH (National Institute of Happiness). "It used to be children, when they got home from school, would go outside. Now, they stay indoors and play computer games."
Poindexter says that they're not getting any support from their bible-thumping, snake fearing, "helicopter parents" either.
"It's not natural for these kids to spend so much time indoors," says Outward Bound Instructor, Moose Furlow who works out of the Asheville OB School. "Modern humans, or homo sapiens, have lived in intimate contact with nature for almost 120,000 years."
Public schools are not helping the cause either. With so much emphasis on academic rigor and keeping the kids occupied while parents work more hours to keep up with the Joneses, paying for gas and McMansions and expensive hologram projectors to make it appear that they are wealthier than they actually are and a greater emphasis on testing, kids are having to spend more time in the classroom and less on the playground.
Between 1981 and 1997, the time that children spend in school has increased by almost 5 hours. And for the same time period the time that US children ages 6 to 8 played in this time period decreased 25%, by almost 4 hours per week (Hofferth & Sandberg 2000).
Researchers say that jungle gym equipment that was so frequently found on the playgrounds of the older schools has rusted.
"Those bars used to stretch children's arms and legs out when they hung on them," says Furlow. "Now, tell a kid to jump up and hang onto the bars and they fall on their faces. There's nothing there."
Some devolutionists say that we need a generation of apes to bring the human species back into balance that if we continue at the pace we're on, there will nothing left of our bodies, except one big head."
"That's the lesson I learned in the Wizard of Oz," says Kansas farm girl, Dorothy Rawlings. "When we become industrialists and work in the big city, we become grouchy. Oh, there's no place like home. There's no place like home."
Researchers also point to other benefits of more outdoor time:
Less ADHD in children and more time with imaginary playmates
More "over the rainbow" sightings of munchkins, fairies and dwarves due to more access to the imagination
Higher scores on tests of concentration and self-discipline
More advanced motor fitness and less time sick at home watching the soap operas
Easier and more frequent bowel movements
More likely to see masturbation as a healthy form of birth control and stress release rather than just "something else they gotta do"
Increased social skills and vocal range from screaming at playmates
Increased skills of observation and attention to detail especially for boys watching girls in dresses shimmy up poles, or go down slides
Increased independence and autonomy (it's what your "helicopter parents" fear the most)
Improved reasoning skills and awareness of cause and effect relationships (well, if I get off of this see saw real fast, my friend is going to hit the ground real hard causing him to cry and get angry with me)