I hear you,
I didn't go to camps or do much in the way of activities in the summers when I was a kid (except for GS camp a couple of times), and I didn't sit around watching tv.
I don't think it's about money either.
Yes I know. I was just giving one example of a reason why one might let one's children sit and vegg all day every day all summer long. I would also anticipate that teens would probably do a lot of vegging if they didn't have a summer job. It IS vacation, after all. :-)
If a parent has to work and has young school-age children, what on earth can the children do all day besides vegg at home if the parents don't have money for summer programs? What do poverty-level children do in the summers while their parents are at work? I wouldn't imagine it would be very safe to let them wander around the neighborhood.
Were you home alone or was one of your parents home? That's what I'm confused about. If the parents are at work and can't afford supervised activities for their children, what do the children do all summer?
I don't think it's always about money either, but for SOME people that could be a reason for sitting home watching TV all summer.
Our town has a lot for the truly indigent. There is a community center next to the public housing program with basketball courts, craft classes, tutoring, all kinds of stuff. And different church groups come in and provide lunch all summer because we realized that these kids main meal sometimes was the free lunch they were getting at school.
It's the lower middle class kids, like my foster daughter, who kind of miss out. Her Mom is finally back to work, and so she isn't allowed to leave the house during the day unless she gets an invite from one of her friends or us. We will probably take her with us on a couple of short trips and she's pretty involved in church youth group, but that is maybe ten days of the whole summer where she'll have something to do.
That's the sort of thing I'm talking about.
"There are so many free things you can do to keep yourself busy all summer long."