There is something wonderful, magical even, about being outside with the wind against your face. The tranquility that nature provides cannot be found in a prescription bottle or on the internet. Today’s society is so in touch with technology that they are forgetting the very basics. We need the sunshine for vitamin D, and we need fresh air to help boost brain activity, get clarity, and improve our learning ability. You don’t see kids out playing in creeks or riding their bikes much anymore. Are children becoming slaves to the technological revolution?
According to The Washington Post, teenagers spend an average of seven and a half hours on technology each day. The average teen only spends 20 minutes out in the fresh air, some spend no time at all outside. Watching television, playing video games, and surfing the web, has become the new normal. Technology can be dangerous. Children are enamored with the “hybrid life.” They don’t understand how wonderful it can be to make mud pies, watch the stars, swing in a hammock in the backyard, or collect rocks. It’s the simple things that the generation of today is missing, and it is causing great problems.
Childhood Obesity Numbers Point To Trouble
Ask any child of the 1970’s – 1980’s and you will find that most spent an enormous amount of time playing outside. According to KidsHealth.org, one in three children today are categorized as obese. Children are being diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, joint problems, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and other weight related issues. When researchers delve deeper into the numbers they find a variety of things that are contributing to the problem. It all comes from poor eating habits, lack of sleep, and not enough exercise.
Another concerning issue is the fact that children of today are not learning the social skills they need to survive. Many can communicate over social media or through text messages, but they have no clue how to have a conversation in person. It’s easy to hide behind a computer screen to talk, but texting and blogging will do little to help tomorrow’s generation with their careers. They need old-fashioned people skills.
Fresh Air Is Just What The Doctor Ordered
Kids of today don’t know what it feels like to play out till you crash from exhaustion. They don’t know how it feels to get your feet dirty, your skin sun-kissed, and your hair lightened from the sun. They don’t know the great feeling of jumping on a bike and having races with the neighbor kids. What about running through the sprinkler? Do kids even do that anymore? Technology has its place. When it is raining, or snowing outside, children need something to keep them busy. However, when the sun is shining and the weather is beautiful, kids need to outside enjoying nature.
Wilderness therapy is becoming increasingly popular as it encourages children to be outside. Children need to learn to appreciate all that there is beyond their four walls. According to The Mayo Clinic, there are more than 50 million Americans, both children and adults, taking antidepressants in this country. “Symptoms of ADD in children can be reduced through activity in green settings, thus “green time” can act as an effective supplement to traditional medicinal and behavioral treatments” says the University of Washington, College of Environment. If these researchers are correct, the remedy for what ails many people would be getting more fresh air.
Encourage Outdoor Play
Children today have been done a great disservice. They don’t know how wonderful it can be to spend the day running and playing outside. The American Pediatric Association recommends no more than one hour of technology for any child, per day. Encourage children to go outside. Save the games for a rainy day.