The Power of The Outdoors
Is there a better time of the year to be outdoors than the month of October?The clean crisp air, foliage, and perfect weather for walking or taking a bike ride will be gone before we know it. This is a special time of year in New England.
In addition to the seasons changing, as time moves forward, life is changing, socializing is
changing, communication is changing, and it is all being influenced by technology. How do we teach our students to navigate through this? It is hard enough for adults who need to learn to how to use Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, Google Hangouts, or other ways to communicate for work. Technology can make paying attention more challenging as the skills we have taught for so many years, such as eye contact, are competing with our devices. We were once obsessed with teaching everyone how to use social media, are we now at the point where we need to unlearn it?
Some of our students are struggling in this new world. How do they keep up?
Should we allow unlimited iPhone use because this is our world today, or do we limit it? How much is enough, how much is too much? Is this a contributor to our anxiety epidemic?
There are no definitive researched-based answers to these questions, only theory, perceptions, and opinions. As parents, we struggle with how to monitor this. I have a 16 year old daughter, and I am ambivalent about her iPhone use. If I structure this, does it really matter because she is going to be in college in a few years. Will I teach her anything by limiting it? Will I be taking her out of social circles where her friends are communicating?
We know why our devices are an addiction. We use them everyday and we have created a habit, a tick, an urge to check it even at the most unusual times. I hear cell phones going off in meetings, during presentations, and at funeral services. A smart phone does what it is suppose to do. We can't blame the phone! We can shut it off, or leave it in the car, but for some reason we don't or are not willing to.
Our device was built to notify us without judging where we are, what we are doing, or how important the meeting is. It has no social skills, and we are being shaped by its bad habits.
Maybe some day technology in our iPhones will be able to make situational decisions by the information it is taking in around it. "
Patric is in an important meeting now, I should not interrupt him."
It would also be a great feature if iPhones would shut off automatically, and right before it shuts off say, "
You are using me too much and you have been inside the house all day, time to go outside for an hour, I will be available for use then!"
We don't get outside enough, perhaps this is why everyone is so low on vitamin D3 or we are not building resistance to germs. A little dirt can help this! You know how it feels when you get outside; it could be a bit chilly and you go for a walk and it just feels invigorating! You think to yourself, "Why don't I do this everyday? It feels so good!" Leave your iPhone at home, and as you walk and get further away from it, the stress begins to lift.
If we could do this everyday, the power of the outdoors would positively impact our kids' lives and wellness. We can't underestimate the benefits being outside can have.