Devil’s Playground is a documentary following the lives of several different Amish teens in LaGrange County, Indiana. The film shows the teens during a period in their lives known as rumspringa. At the age of sixteen, Amish teenagers can leave the Amish world to experience the modern world. The teens stay in this lifestyle until they decide they are ready to be baptized and officially join the Amish church as adults.
The concept of rumspringa is extremely controversial and has many aspects that seem troubling to outsiders. There are several different issues with the tradition of rumspringa. First of all, this time can be very dangerous to the teens. Another issue is parents not intervening in their child’s life at all, even if they are doing highly illegal and dangerous activities. Lastly, there is the worry that their actions during rumspringa will haunt them after they have jointed the Amish church and committed their lives.
Translated literally, rumspringa means “running around”. Amish children turn sixteen and are automatically granted freedom. This time is meant for teens to experience life outside of the Amish culture before they decide to join the Amish church and be baptized. But, this time can be extremely dangerous for them. Before rumspringa, these Amish teens have never been exposed to the activities and materials of the modern world. Gerald Vutzy, a seventeen year old Amish boy shown in the documentary, states that when kids turn sixteen they go crazy because it is all coming to them at once. If experiencing everything for the first time at once can be overwhelming and harmful to the teens. Another young Amish teen shown in the documentary is Faron Voder. Faron is the perfect example of teens taking the wrong turn and getting into dangerous activities during rumspringa. Faron is shown partying on multiple occasions, and it is also shown that he became involved with crystal meth and other illegal drugs. This not only harmed his health, but his life was also threatened.
When teens are getting involved in multiple...