"American children, ages 3 to 12, spend 27 percent of their time with electronic media, 1 percent outdoors.
The average American 2-year-old spends more than four hours a day with electronic devices, and 29 percent have a television in their room.
Unstructured activities account for 30 minutes a week.
Half of all American children will be overweight by 2010.
And by the way, did you know that 80 percent of the Ritalin in the world is consumed in the United States, mostly by kids?"
All of the above statistics were quoted in an article published by a local newspaper. I received this link today from my friend and neighbor who attended the conference - "Leave No Child Indoors: Nature in the Lives of Young Children".
The speaker, Ken Finch, an environmental educator from Omaha, Nebraska, points out that children today are not left to be, just that; children.
"Childhood is not about cognitive learning, it's about play," he says. "The good news: We're starting to understand this.
"The other good news: Kids haven't changed. It's there innately, the love of nature. But it has to be activated."
The man is completely on target. I know with my own children, they some times get so caught up in video games, television, and iPods that I almost have to throw them out into the fresh air.
Do you remember when you were a kid? I know when I was young, I was out from morning until dark. I didn't go home, except for meals. We climbed trees, biked, roller skated, played tennis and baseball, and we formed teams for manhunt. We got dirty.
Look outside your window on a sunny day. You don't see that, do you? I've commented more than once that kids just don't do those things, as much, anymore. Instead they will play baseball using a controller and a television set.
Now, I like my computers and my electronic devices too. I understand the appeal of technology. What I also understand, after thinking about this article, is that I too have forgotten about getting out into the fresh air. I've gotten lazy and too dependant upon my gadgets. I need to take my children and go for a hike. Dig for earthworms. Work up a sweat. And interact with nature.
So, who's with me?