- Children today spend an average of 6 hours each day in front of the computer and TV but less than 4 minutes a day in unstructured outdoor play. (Chesapeake Bay Foundation)
- Almost 50% of children aged 8-16 years watch 3-5 hours of television a day. These kids who watch the most hours of television have the highest incidence of obesity. (Word on Health, “Childhood Obesity on the Rise”: Torgan, Carol, June 2002)
- Obesity in kids is now epidemic in the U.S. The number of children who are overweight has doubled in the last two to three decades. Currently one child in five is overweight”. (Word on Health, “Childhood Obesity on the Rise”: Torgan, Carol, June 2002)
- Obese children now have diseases such as type 2 diabetes that used to only occur in adults. (Word on Health, “Childhood Obesity on the Rise”: Torgan, Carol, June 2002)
- Increased study of science and nature, especially in the very young, has proved in studies extremely beneficial for cognitive functioning, reduced symptoms of attention deficit disorder, increased self-discipline and emotional well being. (Chesapeake Bay Foundation)
- Nature Conservancy funded studies correlate a decline in visits to U.S. National Parks with a condition called “videophilia” which is a preference for television, video game and Internet use. (Pergams and Zaradic)
- The effects of videophilia are substantial and include obesity, attention disorders, lack of socialization and poor academic performance. (P&G)
- A report by the Children and Nature Network warns that the mental health of 21st century children is at risk because they are missing out on the exposure to the natural world enjoyed by past generations.
- Studies have shown that people deprived of contact with nature were at greater risk of depression and anxiety. They also never develop a relationship with the natural environment and they are unable to use it to cope with stress. (C&NN: Derbyshire, David)
- “At no time in human history have children spent less time outdoors. Attention deficit disorders, obesity and a variety of other physical and emotional ailments can be attributed to a decline in exposure to the out of doors and the natural environment.” -Craig Whipple, Director of Vermont State Parks
- “There’s a strong correlation to whether people have nature experiences as they grow up and whether, as adults, they will be concerned about policies that affect nature. -Bill Kunze, Pennsylvania state director for the Nature Conservancy (nature.org)
- Declines in per capita nature participation typically began between 1981 and 1991, are losing about 1% per year, and have so far lost between 18% and 25%. (videophilia.org)
- The National Center for Education Statistics had a survey that describes the use of computer and Internet technologies by age group: 67 percent of children in nursery school were already computer users, as were 80 percent of those in kindergarten. About one-quarter (23%) of nursery school children were already Internet users, rising to about 32% in kindergarten. By high school, nearly all students (97%) use computers and a large majority (80%) use the Internet (USDE, 2005). These trends in Internet use at home have direct implications on time spent interacting with children, and indirect implications for parents as role models and gatekeepers of children’s recreation choices.
Yours in challenge and adventure!