For T-Day: Save Yourself from the Digital Zombie Apocalypse

“Kids should be outside for an hour or two every day between school and dinner. That doesn’t mean parents have to drive them someplace. Unorganized playtime is fine. Give them the freedom to find their own games and make up their own rules. Teachers should make a point of giving regular homework assignments in the real world: Describe five trees where you live. Follow a squirrel for 45 minutes, and take field notes on what it’s doing. Count how many birds you can find on your street.

“The rest of us need to walk away at regular intervals (and especially at dinner time) from our alluring but soul-sucking lives online. According to a Nielsen report release earlier this year, Americans over 18 average 11 hours a day on electronic media. Given that most of us are awake 16 or 17 hours a day and presumably spend part of our waking hours in school or at work, adults are not providing a great example. Think of it as an addiction because that’s exactly what your Internet suppliers have designed it to be. Facebook, Twitter, and the rest mean to keep us compulsively clicking, in the words of Nir Eyal, web consultant and author of the book Hooked: How to Build Habit-forming Products, so we end up doing so “over and over, in the same basic cycle. Forever and ever.”  More at: strangebehaviors.wordpress.com

GR:  Excellent family advice.  Essential appreciation of nature will not come from screens.  Information might, but the reasons for applying the information come from outdoor experiences. One might add that if your neighborhood isn’t safe enough for children to be out doors, you are in the wrong place to raise a family.

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