Our Secret Screenless Life
It’s the long anticipated day of the school field trip. The destination is somewhat irrelevant to squirming third graders because the best part of the field trip afterall, is the bus! It’s all there in the fine print. The icing on the bus ride cake. “Electronics are welcome.” That’s a pretty exciting statement for a lot of kids, except mine. We live in a house free – for the most part – of screens. No DS, no Wii, no Nintendo. Our TV with its over-the-air waves brings us more than we can watch.
When our “alternative” lifestyle is revealed to friends, their reactions range from dread by the children to admiration by the moms. The funny thing is there isn’t really anything inherently toxic in screen interaction. If there was, all of us in our 40s would be blind from staring into those pixelated tubes for all of our childhood. My screen adversity comes not from what the screen does TO children but rather what the screen takes the place of.
Author Richard Louv made the world’s conservation community do a collective head nod when he coined the term “nature deficit disorder” to describe the generation of children being raised now. The kids of today can tell you more about the polar ice cap and the Amazon rain forest than they can about the piece of woods around the corner. They sit more, run less, and are increasingly unaware of the world around them. And soon, we’ll all pay when we raise a generation apathetic to what is happening in their local environment.
Mom, Dad, it’s up to us. Turn off. Unplug. Watch the clouds. Listen to the birds. And if you’re feeling really crazy, may be you can holler an “Olly, olly, oxen free.”
//Jennifer Howard, Summer Corner Communication Director