Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Nature-deficit disorder

Wil Richardson writes:
When I mentioned in passing our 45-minutes-a-day on the computer policy during a recent presentation, I was seriously amazed at how many people came up afterwards (and even e-mailed me later) and asked about that. There was like a whole ‘lotta angst going on in terms of people wondering if their kids were getting too much screen time and how we came to the decision to limit our own kids. I had no answer for the first part, and I felt like I stumbled through the second part because to be honest, it’s a really complex equation that is going to be different for every kid, every set of parents. For us, I think it’s a combination of having two very energetic kids who love to physically play, a reaction to the struggle for balance in my own life, and an expectation that when we’re together as a family, we’re together as a family that interacts more often than not without media.
You can read his full posting here

Why did this catch my reading eye? Probably because I am reading "Last Child in the Woods" by Richard Louv in preparation for A Love Affair with Books next month.

A sample teaser from the book:
As we grow more separate from nature, we continue to separate from one another physically. The effects are more than skin deep, says Nancy Dess, senior scientist with the American Psychological Association. "None of the new communications technologies involve human touch; they all tend to place us one step removed from direct experience. Add this to control-oriented changes in the workplace and schools, where touch is often forbidden, or at east discouraged, from any kind of physical contact, and we've got a problem," she says. Without touch, infant primates die; adult primates with touch deficits become more aggressive. Primate studies also show that physical touch is essential to the peace making process. "Perversely, many of us can go through an average day and not have more than a handshake.," she adds. Diminishing touch is only one by-product of the culture of technical control, but Dess believes it contributes to violence in an ever more tightly wired society.
Page 67 of the paperback text of Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv

How much exposure to nature do you get daily?

How much exposure to humans do you get daily?