Hey Kids, It’s Fireworks Time! Sort Of. Inside. On a Screen.

Hi Readers! In one English town, outdoor fireworks have been deemed too “dangerous” (and chilly) for kids to enjoy. So now the fireworks are inside, reports the Small World News Service:

Instead of wrapping up warm to enjoy the bangs of fireworks around 100 youngsters will sit inside watching images on a projector screen.

The virtual fireworks are accompanied by sounds of explosions, including ‘bangs’, ‘whistles’ and ‘crackles’ recorded from outdoor displays.

Childrens groups have accused the event’s organisers of subscribing to ”cotton wool culture” and killing off an important British tradition.

But organisers hailed their indoor bonfire night as ‘safer’ than big outdoor events, which must meet stringent council health and safety regulations.

How long before kids come inside after school to watch videos of other children playing in the park? Hey — it’s ALMOST the same thing. And it’s so safe! — Lenore

43 Responses

  1. “The virtual fireworks are accompanied by by sounds…recorded from outdoor displays” LOL Lipsynching fireworks join the ranks of Milli Vanilli and Ashlee Simpson.

    How sad. My kids would be so bored!

  2. Yuck!

  3. You know… I barely have the words to even say what this makes me feel. Let me try:

    Disgusted. (Yes.)
    Disheartened. (Indubitably.)
    Saddened. (Absolutely.)
    Shocked. (Mmm hmm.)
    Outraged. (To a degree.)
    Worried. (The state of humanity…)


    Left in disbelief.

    If this is what life is coming to… why should anyone bother to make more human beings? We are tactile, sensory beings – to deprive ourselves of being able to feel the cold air, to feel the boom of a firework thudding into your body, to be surrounded by fellow humans in the dark while bright explosions flash above you, to smell the pungent stench of spent powder drifting over the crowd like a cloud… because… what… they could accidentally set someone ablaze?

    Maybe a cinder will fall from the sky and catch someone on fire. Or maybe the people who chose for their profession lighting off explosives will die doing what they chose to do as their profession (one, I will say, that seems to be a labor of love not of necessity – and with hope, no one will die and they’ll be able to continue letting us all enjoy the fruits of their labor).

    Let’s just create virtual human beings… we can all interact via screens. Then, when there are no humans left because it’s dangerous and harmful to feelings to interact with other people – we’ll have no more problems. WIN! No wars! WIN! No need for safety measures! WIN! No bullies or scraped knees or need for mental prowess! TRIPLE WIN! We’re already heading down that road.

    Before I fall too far off the mark here, I’d better stop. Let me go back to my simple, one word reply which sums it all up:


  4. Well that’s it. It’s final. The world has gone completely mad.

  5. Well, gee whiz. Why stop here?

    Let’s invent a “virtual swimming pool,” after all, we can’t have wet kids, and who knows what chlorine (or worse, lake water which hasn’t been sanitized) can do to them.

    “Virtual” candy, can’t have a kid eating the real thing now can we?

    How about a “virtual grandma” which simulates the sights & sounds of the kid’s grandparents but without having to actually have a relationship with them?

    Next: a ‘virtual yo-yo,” because, wow, those tight strings really hurt the fingers!

    A “virtual blizzard,” real snow is dangerous!

    A “virtual park,” complete with “simulated” see-saws, merry-go-rounds, and monkey bars–no more injuries!

    A “virtual” bonfire–complete with the crackling sounds of a fire, and a sunlamp to simulate the heat. No more risks of fire! Oh wait, the sunlamp could have the same risks, so we’ll just have the simulated sounds & visuals only.

    Nicola–you nailed it. It is very disgusting indeed.

  6. Why would anyone even want to go to an “event” like that? Fireworks are a full-immersion experience — you’ve got to be there or it isn’t worth it. I’d rather just stay at home.

  7. Bonfire night used to be a time when families would hold parties in their gardens with a bonfire and a box of fireworks from the local shop. And quite a lot of people *did* get hurt. So over the last 30 years or so communities started to organize bigger events which were quite a bit safer (since uncle Bill wasn’t lighting the fireworks after a few cans of beer and there wasn’t a good way for small kids to get in amoung the rockets). But more and more regulation has been added to professional firework events. So now it’s really quite expensive to put on a small community event.

    I’m not saying that virtual fireworks are a good idea or that I would go. Just that I can see how a small community centre might turn to something like this and just push it as a “safer” alternative because they can’t afford to put on the real thing.

  8. Cracker night has been banned in Australia for years (since the 70s I think) because too many kids lost limbs.

    I don’t know if it is entirely a bad thing (I’ve heard what my dad used to do to mice with the fireworks he got for cracker night).

    But virtual fireworks altogether is insane, what good could possibly come of this

  9. I think that “cotton wool culture” is a very apt phrase. I am adding it to my vocabulary!

  10. oh goodness me.

    You will be pleased to know that children around my neighbourhood had proper fireworks. They get louder and more dangerous every year though.

    Guy Fawkes night however does seem to be less celebrated nowadays than the more commercial hallow e’en
    We didn’t “do ” fireworks when my children were small because they didn’t like the bangs.

  11. @debbie: “Cracker night has been banned in Australia for years (since the 70s I think) because too many kids lost limbs”. If that’s the case you could put a ban on kids actually setting them off, but I would expect an official display to meet safety regulations to the point that anyone can enjoy them outside – from safe distance.

    I have watched and used fireworks for years on New Year’s Eve and I still have all my limbs.

  12. Yes, Australian cracker night has been banned – you have to have a license to purchase fireworks (so pulic displays are still running.

    I grew up in the last bastion for cracker night, we weren’t banned until into the 90s. Ours were fairly carefully managed with detailed explanations and many reminders to not pick up unexploded crackers etc, and attempting to locate the letting off in a central point in a clear sandy riverbed. Still, I remember quite a few grass fires that had to be put out, that the boys had ‘un’-intentionally created. I thought the adults were so gullible, but maybe they thought it harmless. I remember it very fondly.

  13. Oh no! Clearly they haven’t read this report on the dangers of falling TV sets. http://www.news-medical.net/news/2006/06/01/18194.aspx
    “The potential for tragedy exists, so adults need to be made more aware and take better precautions. Eighty-five percent of parents interviewed for the study said they weren’t aware of the potential danger.”

  14. You’ve got to be kidding!

  15. I’d rather just skip the fireworks!

  16. Weak. Lame. Stupid. Dumb. Idiotic. Foolish. Crazy. Did I say stupid already?

  17. omg the “fear” has got to the British! The British!! Who, while I am bundled up in a zillion layers, 3 hats and 5 scarves their 5 year olds were marching out of the park covered in mud wearing shorts and t-shir after a game of rugby in freezing cold weather! I am disappointed!

  18. @Elisa: You know that study is rubbish, don’t you? You would’ve ruined your eyes by sitting to close to the TV first… (sarcasm)

  19. Good grief. Words just fail me….

    Nicola said it best. Thanks.

  20. The whole premise here is a tad confusing. What is “dangerous” about kids attending professionally managed public fireworks?

    I guess now and then, kids do get hit by falling debris if something goes amiss or is done wrong.

    However, it’s so uncommon that I wonder how that compares to the incidence of children being injured in some way while sitting around inside. 😉

    And since when is BEING COLD dangerous? When was the last time a that child who was not neglected, lost or in the midst of some kind of emergency suffered hypothermia?

  21. “Bonfire” night? It used to be Guy Fawkes Night, an excellent holiday consisting of stuffing old man’s clothes full of flammable materials and then chucking the real-sized puppets in a gigantic bonfire. Die, you terrorist, die…
    So much for complaining about “killing off British traditions”; they have already changed the name…

  22. Why not raise everyone in pods where everything we experience is not real, like in The Matrix? What would make this more complete is if Ritalin was a blue pill.

  23. @pentamom Yes there are dangers of sitting indoors. To name one, when we were at an auditorium at school, plastic parts from a melted light fixture fell onto the audience. I never had anything like this in a fireworks show i attended (neither professional nor amateur/pirate one)

    And another word for the mention of cold. I have seen kids who grew sheltered from cold. They literally depend on air conditioning, switch it off and they are sick the next day. Unlike many kids on the other side, who are in tees for the large part of the day and nothing happens. Perhaps this is seen as a problem by somebody ?

  24. Redonkulous! Snowball makers, now this. What’s next, a service where you hire people to pose as your kids so they can go out and have fun FOR your kids?! Is that really the intention, to raise automatons? That would be a very sad and bleak future for the human race. Seriously, why have kids in the first place, if they aren’t allowed to grow up as kids. If these people wanted pets, they should have just gotten a dog or a cat. Geeeez!

  25. Fireworks are dangerous. At least one person was seriously injured at a large organised fireworks display this year – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-11705682 – but thousands and thousands of other people attended similar displays without being harmed in any way.

    The bottom line is that the small – but non-zero – risk involved does not warrant this rather extreme form of mitigation. Projected images of fireworks with recorded bangs and whizzes are not a substititue for the real thing.

    My three small children attended two foreworks displays this November. They were probably more at risk in the car on the way there and home again.

  26. My kids have seen fireworks on TV and on the computer. They’re bored with them. Real fireworks in the sky are exciting.

  27. Some of my only memories of one of my grandmothers (she died when I was 5) was sitting on her lap at the lakeshore watching fireworks. There is no way I am depriving my kids of that joy.

    I grew up in a neigborhood that sounded like a war zone for about 2 weeks before and after the 4th of July. We had the neighbor with one hand who blew it off with a firework as a child. So with that example (the fact that he was nuts added to it), we were all very careful with our fireworks. Somehow, we let off bottle rockets, firecrackers, and lord knows what else and survived to adulthood. I’m not saying I would necessarily encourage private firework use – some of my friends escaped injury through the grace of the almighty alone – but to say that professional displays are too dangerous? That’s insane.

  28. Well, we were lucky enough to live in an area that still has an outdoor bonfire and fireworks. My son piped up (in the middle of ‘wows’ and ‘awesomes’) “We should do this every week. No wait a minute, every month, that way it’s still special” (he’s six). I said I would put a submission in to the council, and various adults around me only half-jokingly said they would be happy to sign! So it might be unsafe according to some, but as Andrew said, my child was probably more at risk walking to and from the display (in the dark! How could I!) than he was watching it.

  29. @ Elisa–LOL!!! I absolutely love it!
    You know, this fireworks-by-screen thing is so so very sad. Although, if it was in place of my crazy uncle’s annual fireworks show–which just about gives me a heart attack every year–I might be all for it (just kidding…sort of. He’s really a mad man)! But there’s no substitute for how real fireworks light up your kids’ faces in the night darkness.

  30. Good Lord! It’s Demolition Man virtual living except for kids.

  31. I love fireworks and one of the things I love most about them is that, unlike many other spectacles, fireworks still look best in real life, much better than on TV.

  32. Since nobody mentiond this yet, there was a serious prosect of a firefighter strike in England this year. The fireworks ban should be seen in that light.

  33. I bet this’ll destroy one of the best learning aspects of fireworks: when you watch them live, close to where they’re being set off, you get a great opportunity to show that light travels faster than sound. It won’t have the same impact or believability on TV.

  34. That old proverb “Wonders never cease” couldn’t possibly have foreseen this type of wonder – I wonder what the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks people are thinkin’! Our library shows videos of books during story time. It’s almost the same thing….they say. The LI-brary!

  35. “But organisers hailed their indoor bonfire night as ‘safer’ than big outdoor events, which must meet stringent council health and safety regulations”

    and the real reason is revealed! They don’t want to have to meet health and safety regulations. It’s too much work, it costs too much. They don’t care about the kids at all!!!

  36. In the U.S., fireworks laws vary widely state by state. I remember how disheartened I was to find myself in Connecticut one year, Kansas the next, and Pennsylvania the next – all states where setting off your own fireworks is illegal – for three 4ths of July in a row. I was so glad to be back in the Old Dominion of VA last 4th of July, where we can still light off morning glorys and jumping jacks and fountains and sparklers and snakes in the like in our own driveway (although firecrackers and roman candles are now illegal even here). But the idea of actually getting rid of a PUBLIC, ORGANIZED display of fireworks for safety reasons? That’s quite over the top.

  37. Crazy. Some of my best (and most terrifying in hindsight) memories growing up were around the 4th of July when my dad would let us light our own fireworks off (just like every other American kid).
    And man did we do some dumb things. I’m so glad none of us got hurt. The one time I was nearly killed by fireworks: I was sitting in my garage with my parents tying bricks of firecrackers together when my dad lit one of the packs that jump around and threw it out the door. One jumped back in and lit all the firecrackers off that were sitting in our laps. I was 8 and all I remember was feeling the burning pops on my legs and the deafening noise. I climbed out almost a minute later unable to hear, coughing uncontrollably from the smoke, my eyes burning.

    We don’t personally do fireworks any more so it’s never been an issue with my kids but I’ve never stopped them from watching other people do fireworks. Sure it’s still dangerous (especially with the mix of alcohol that goes on with the American holiday) but we take precautions like everything else. Sitting inside watching pales in comparison to seeing the real thing.

  38. […] Hey Kids, It’s Fireworks Time! Sort Of. Inside. On a Screen. […]

  39. That’s completely absurd! Wonder how many ooohs and ahhhs there are in THAT room.

  40. wow, just think about it….we could go to the BEACH virtually, no worry about a shark, just bring the tv and the video player into the bathroom and dangle your feet in the tub. Ooops watch out! Don’t trip over the cord! zzzzzzzzzttttttttttttttttt

  41. […] A British town replaces an outdoor fireworks show with indoor images of fireworks on a projector screen, prompting critics to warn of a “cotton-wool culture” of child overprotection [Free-Range Kids] […]

  42. Are you kidding me?!!!!?????!

  43. […] Alex Scrivener: Hey Kids, It’s Fireworks Time! Sort Of. Inside. On a Screen. (freerangekids.wordpress.com) […]

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