Paulette Dotson is an adventurer who spent some time as a leader of a girl scout troop. She thinks about how she can help kids experience the thrill of the outdoors all the time rather than spending too much time trapped behind the screens of their computers and cell phones.
Is there a Technology Problem?
In a world full of technology, it’s easy to forget how great the outdoors can be sometimes, or how refreshing it is, or how much we need it. It’s also tricky with kids, on one hand technology is advancing and making life easier more and more every day, and its great kids are learning so fast how to use and harness that technology. It’s also pretty impressive how fast they can learn how to use it. Now-a-days even most three to four-year-olds can use an iPhone and go onto their favorite apps with ease. Being tech-savy will be important as children grow up and establish their careers, however, it is also important to be well rounded in all types of experiences.
Then the question is though, what do they lose along the way? Is it an appreciation of the outdoors, to just be outside and take in some fresh air? Are phones just soul sucking tools that make it impossible to get our kid’s attention? Paulette Dotson is trying to find the answer, where is the disconnect?
What Exactly Do Kids Do on Their Phones All Day?
Well let’s try to see it from the child’s perspective. What are they doing on their technological devices? Are they playing games? Watching videos? Taking selfies? Scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter? If they’re playing games or watching videos they could find those more entertaining than anything they know to do outside. Could you imagine being a kid and having fun only to be told you must stop having fun and do something else that’s less fun? There would be some reluctance there. So, how do we fix that? The easiest solution is to find something that’s more fun or just as fun outside, something that gets them excited and want to go.
It’s not as simple as just telling the child to go outside. Then what if they’re playing online games with friends or taking pictures of themselves to send to their friends? That’s also something simple, with all this technology surrounding us it makes it easy to connect and talk to someone. It makes it a bit harder to be lonely. And going outside can be lonely without someone to share it with.
What makes nature and the outdoors great is that it’s a shared experience, much like snapchat or video games. So, the solution would be to make sure they’re not alone. Make a playdate or plan a camping trip with their friends. It’s the responsibility of the parents to be involved in their children’s lives.
So Why is Spending Time Outdoors So Important?
Going outside is more beneficial than you think. There are studies that say going outside can improve brain power, make people happier, and other benefits. If your child is creative, going outside could give them a boost to creativity and focus. The question is why? How? It’s all in feeling and feeling good. Adventurers like Paulette Dotson experience a feeling of awe whenever they see something new.
It comes with a feeling of accomplishment, productivity, and wonder. Feelings boost brain activity, being happy boosts immune systems. Together, parents and children can be thinking faster and feeling better by experiencing more of the world together. It isn’t the fact of just being outside, it’s the experiences they have outside with the fresh air, with the green, and with the people they love, and also sunlight and a lot of vitamin D helps.