Are there any boys nowadays? We have sometimes been inclined to doubt it. Real, child-like, fun-loving boys, we mean; such as some we used to know in our early days; eager questioners upon subjects of natural history, and upon the mysterious complicities of strange machines, and upon the wonders of the earth and the heavens? Boys whose very immaturity of thought struck one as beautiful! It seems to us there are very few such of late years. In times that we can remember, children were children, and were true to their childish instincts. Their genial frolicsome ways softened slowly into soberness; they grew grave gradually. The shadows of manhood stole over their young faces so imperceptibly that the spiritual still seemed to predominate over the earthly. There is not half so much flying of kites, trundling of hoops and playing at marbles, as there used to be. Even “I spy,” “prisoner’s base,” and “hide and seek,” are fast falling into desuetude. Whistling, the child’s earliest attempt at musical expression, we seldom hear now, either in city or in country. Instead of whooping, hallooing, and those shouts of merry laughter, which were wont to conjure up delicious reveries in aged bosoms, we have now an unchildlike thoughtfulness, or, what is still worse, a chattering pertinacity.
–Arthur’s Home Gazette, reprinted in Albany’s The Country Gentleman, 1853.
Yes, in 1853, they were complaining how kids these days were missing out on all the fun.