Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Leave No Child Indoors

"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?


Amy said...

I am with you --- bring recess back to school yards, too and let kids play!! Hey and while we are at it ... ADULTS: you get out there too!!! A glorious day to you!

Tricia said...

I'm with you, but we struggle with time and since my little guy doesn't have siblings to play with, it's difficult to send him out alone, and I work. We've been working on this though because I whole heartedly believe children spent WAY too much time inside and with the TV especially.

TheOtherJennifer said...

I can't get my kid to come in - rain , snow, sunshine. She works off every single morsel she puts in her mouth - we run, play (mostly my husband), we built a luge last year to sled on and they were on it every single day. She would be outside every minute if she could. Don't get me wrong - she does her tv and computer but she'd rather be outside gardening or running from the dogs or playing freeze tag or even better - a made up game. I am thankful - even though I pee my pants when I run.

The Fritz Facts said...

I totally agree with you on this. Kids are not outside enough. There were many times this summer when the weather was perfect, and the yards were empty. I would send my kids out, ie kick them out, and tell them they weren't allowed in the house. SO many parents don't do that anymore. I am working to make sure my kids are outside for at least a little while each day. It helps with so many things.

Super B's Mom said...

AMEN sister! I just started the book "Last Child in the Woods" by Richard Louv, who explains how our children are suffering from nature-deficit disorder.

I live out in the country boonies and we still struggle with getting Super B outside to play. Perhaps that ties in with my own blog post today...and I should probably reconsider my thoughts of getting him a Nintendo DS for Christmas.... *shameful look*

Liz@thisfullhouse said...

[raises hand, closes laptop and grabs a bucket]

I'm with ya' Momma - just, like, it's dark outside and maybe, tomorrow - call me!

Zephra said...

Im with you after this show goes off...Just kidding. My neighborhood is filled with kids outside all the time. That does not mean my kids don't spend too much time on games. Did you even notice the personality change with they OD on games? scary

EE said...

I'm with you! I wish I could let my kiddos play outdoors by themselves, but we've got a sleazy 16 year old sneaky, drug-dealing felon living directly behind us.
I'm vowing to do a better job of going out with the kids... I wonder how far my wireless reaches;)

meleah rebeccah said...

I totally agree. Too many kids spend way too much time INDOORS.

Mrs. Schmitty said...

Thanks for all of your comments. We all need to get those kids out of the line of the tv and outside. I'm glad to hear so many agree!!