My 2 cents, don't blame the kids...blame their parents. If you want kids to put down the phone and pick up a putter then it's up to the parent to expose them to the game. I have 3 young and very active childred (ages 9, 11, and 14) and its not like they suddenly woke up one morning, drove themselves to the driving range or soccer field, and suddenly fell in love with the game. Yes, the days of kids playing pick-up games after school are gone, but that doesn't mean that as a parent you can't find other ways to get your kids exposed to other sports/activities. Take them to the range with you, sign them up for lacrosse, introduce them to drums, violin, art classes, etc. If they take to one of them, great, if not, keep looking.
Kid's these days are absolutely NO different then when we were their age, they ALL want to be engaged in something fun but if we don't introduce them to those things then shame on us as parents when the only activity they're good at is texting their virtual friends.
OK, I'll get off my soap box now...lol
Actually It must have been different for you than it was for me. I'm not sure that my parents ever introduced me to any activity. We found/made our own fun, and not by getting into trouble either. We played unorganized softball in a vacant lot or nearby schoolyard. We rode bikes everywhere, even played a game on wheels we called "Ditch", sort of hide and seek on steroids. We fished and swam in the summer and skated in the winter, sort of mandatory activities for kids growing up in Minnesota in the '50s.
I wasn't introduced to golf, I found it on my own, but not until I was in my 20's and had my own source of income. We didn't even remotely have the money for anything as frivolous as golf when I was growing up. So my situation was little different from what this thread is lamenting. It seems that all such leisure pastimes have peaks and valleys as far as participation is concerned, and the trends of a game like golf is going to follow the general trend of the economy because of the expense involved.
People who are just making ends meet aren't going to take up golf, no matter how much you try to make it look attractive, and those who do play occasionally may drop the game in favor of a pastime that they would rather spend the money on (like maintaining a boat for fishing, or restoring old cars, or raising a family). They are going to find cheaper forms of recreation (or reduce their participation to only one instead of doing two or three activities). If the financial climate improves, then their ideas about that might change too. I don't think that making 15" holes in greens (or any of the other proposals) is going to do anything to change that outlook.