This past Saturday was Nickelodeon’s fourth annual Worldwide Day of Play. In honor of that, the Nickelodeon network hosted a three-hour blackout on its channels. An executive decision to get kids off the couch and outside to play, the blackout spotlights childhood obesity and represents a call to action for parents and kids alike to stop channel surfing and start playing in the world outside their windows.
As you may well have noticed, childhood obesity is a growing story on the national news agenda. Many blame technology, including the Internet, video games, and television, for taking kids off the playground and into a sedentary, often isolated, indoor routine. Author and futurist Richard Louv calls this “Nature-Deficit Disorder,” a condition he claims is the result of kids exploring the Internet instead of exploring their backyards. His books, interviews, and articles highlight an issue beyond the weight and health of the youngest generation–a lost connection between children and their world.
Louv states elegantly and succinctly in his book Last Child in the Woods, “Healing the broken bond between our young and nature is in our self-interest, not only because aesthetics or justice demand it, but also because our mental, physical, and spiritual health depend upon it.”
In today’s increasingly digital landscape, kids must learn how to navigate new technologies and information; but it is also essential for them to learn how to relate to the physical, tangible world. This connection with nature and community will improve kids’ health and help them develop as thoughtful and active citizens in an interconnected world.
Alice for My Wonderful World