Working on the children’s zoo project for the Dallas Zoo back in the second half of the 1990s made me acutely aware that children are losing touch with nature. But it is also true that children and families need “safe” places to visit to enjoy wildlife, and to build an appreciation and greater understanding of it. If children do not develop an appreciation for nature, there are consequences. Here are a few additional resources I find helpful!
- K. J. Dell’Antonia posted in The New York Times, “Turn Off That TV and Go Outside and Play” (January 10, 2013). “Going outside, though, and spending significant amounts of time there, is worth it.”
- Kimberly Holland for Healthline, “Too Much Technology: Children Growing up With Weak Hands, Fingers” (March 7, 2018).
- George Monbiot in The Guardian observes, “If Children Lose Contact With Nature They Won’t Fight For It” (November 19, 2012).
- Regarding those in the workforce, Oliver Burkeman of The Guardian has written for Business Insider, “Even Short Engagements with Nature Boost Productivity” (March 17, 2013). Oliver notes, “… a clutch of recent findings have begun to demonstrate how even the tiniest kinds of engagement with nature deliver a psychological boost. When you can’t climb mountains, it turns out, merely blurring the boundary between indoors and out may suffice. Office workers who glimpse a tree or two are both happier and more productive; in one analysis, of a university building in Oregon, workers on the greenery-facing side took 19% fewer sick days.”
- Net Nanny is a wonderful resource for parents needing help moderating their family use of “gadgets.” You might enjoy reading, “Setting Boundaries for Tech Addicted Kids (And Parents)” (September 1, 2017).
- Todd G. Buchholz and Victoria Buckhholz wrote a thought-provoking article in The New York Times (March 10, 2012), “The Go-Nowhere Generation.” They note:
“Perhaps young people are too happy at home checking Facebook. In a study of 15 countries, Michael Sivak, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute … found that when young people spent more time on the Internet, they delayed getting their driver’s licenses. ‘More time on Facebook probably means less time on the road,’ he said. That may mean safer roads, but it also means a bumpier, less vibrant economy.”
- Here is a book you might want to read, “Raising Digital Families for Dummies” by Amy Lupold Bair. A helpful review comes from the blog, Colorado Moms (April 30, 2013). “My kids are very plugged in. From iPod to iPhones, laptops to online playing with the playstation, it seems they are online, or have the ability to be, at every moment of the day. Teaching them, and myself, how to properly use the internet, keeping them safe and keeping up with the technology is no easy feat.”
- On a personal note, I once worked with the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas, which oversees numerous counties and which is based in San Antonio, Texas. Here is an article from Reflections magazine, “Breaking Out of Babylon” by Rev. Lera Tyler (Fall/Winter 2011). “In spite of our many gadgets and machines to do much of our daily labor, in spite of all the computers to assist us in thinking, we are a weary and anxious people.” Rev. Tyler makes a persuasive case for observing the Sabbath, and taking a break from our “gadgets.”
- From another reputable source, Pew Internet Research Project, come results of a telling study, “The Internet as a Diversion and Destination.”
- Susan Davis on WebMD has posted an informative article, “Addicted to Your Smartphone? Here’s What To Do” (June 21, 2012).
“But ‘we already know that the Internet and certain forms of computer use are addictive,’ says David Greenfield, PhD, a West Hartford, Conn., psychologist and author of Virtual Addiction: Help for Netheads, Cyber Freaks, and Those Who Love Them …. Computer technologies can be addictive, he says, because they’re ‘psychoactive.’ That is, they alter mood and often trigger enjoyable feelings.”
- Scholastic.com shares insights in, “Why Kids Need Nature” (n.d.).
- Courtney Seiter on Marketing Land writes a helpful article you might enjoy, “Short Attention Spans and Social Media: How to Fight Back” (January 3, 2012).
- Randi Zuckerberg has addressed technology use in her book, “DOT Complicated: Untangling Our Wired Lives.” Follow the link to Goodreads and my personal review.