The necessity of connecting children with nature is not just an American concern (as evidenced by the 72 regional and state campaigns here to connect children with the outdoors). Across the globe, nations are seeking to reconnect children with nature.
As reported recently by Richard Louv [author of Last Child in the Woods; Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder] on his blog, Field Notes from the Future, a new movement in Australia seeks to motivate families to get outside and experience nature together. Mr. Louv listed reports of similar programs from such “far flung corners of the world” as China, the UK, South Africa, Chile, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Kenya and across Europe.
However, he warns that progress is not guaranteed, as the “competition for children’s time is increasing.” Varied studies support this. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that American kids between 8 and 18 spend 7.5 hours a day on average in front of some sort of electronic device. Pew Research Center says half of American teenagers text messages 50 or more times a day. Paul Nakamoto, marketing director at the Roaring Camp Railroads in Felton, Calif. wrote to us not long ago saying, “I know a tour operator who has a step daughter who is 14. The tour operator said she got a cell phone bill delivered in a box that was 450 pages long. Her step daughter had made 25,000 text messages in one month. Think about it, there are 30 days in a month, 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour. That’s 21,600 minutes in a month and this kid made 25,000 text messages in a month!? Some of that time she’s in school, some of that time she should be sleeping. I understand sometimes messages are quick like LOL, but still. I think technology in the hands of kids is getting way out of hand.”
Mr. Louv and his Children and Nature Network are doing the good work of combating the ill effects of this trend. The National Parks Promotion Council applauds that effort and suggests that to learn more about their work, CLICK HERE.