NDD Kids in Peril
This latest in a string of surveys over the last few years goes to prove that owls are less familiar to kids than TV characters simply because outdoor play is no longer normal.
NDD Kids in Peril
Were you aware that 25 to 50% of UK children honestly believe rubbish such as cattle hibernating in Winter, and there being no natural remedy for a nettle sting? A new survey has revealed the horrifying facts of most kids today knowing almost nothing about nature, victims of the awful new scourge of modern society, N.D.D.
An astonishing 64% go out of doors to play only once weekly, nearly a third have not enjoyed a country walk for at least 12 months, one fifth have never visited a farm or once climbed a tree, so how on earth are they supposed to learn about the natural world around them?
This latest in a string of surveys over the last few years goes to prove that owls are less familiar to kids than TV characters simply because outdoor play is no longer normal. Where only a generation ago, kids would be off exploring, often miles from home, parental attitudes has shifted dramatically today.
When almost half of all adults believe that kids should not play unsupervised outdoors under 14 years of age, and more kids getting hurt within the home than outdoors, things are pretty grim. Are these parents truly unaware that the childish curiosity and drive to explore is partly fuelled by a natural need to gain exposure natural dangers, helping develop strong immune systems?
Developing a love for nature is not by any means a bad thing, and a growing body of evidence supports the contention that what children know about the natural world is far less important, as what they experience within it.
Respected professionals in all fields are now saying that children not going out play in natural surroundings can impact their development as individuals, their health and their input to society, something American writer Richard Louv calls Nature Deficit Disorder - N.D.D. - and it is a very worrying trend.
He believes, quite rightly that some very profound changes have occurred in children's relationship with nature, so that things normal in his childhood, like climbing trees or building dens and even collecting frogspawn are actively discouraged today.
Fear of abduction by persons unknown is one major factor, but the risk in the UK is quite literally a million-to-one, and this attitude is a problem needing to be addressed, because failure to allow outdoor play is leading to an epidemic of childhood obesity, and having a huge health impact.
Significant improvements in conditions like ADHD and hyperactivity disorders, as well as children's psychological and emotional wellbeing, learning abilities, creativity and mental development are all products of outdoor activity, a mere 5 minutes daily of so-called green exercise producing rapid improvements.
Anyone over 40 should know from experience that free play outdoors boosts focus, self-discipline and problem-solving skills, improving co-operation and self-awareness, reducing aggression and increasing happiness levels. Children are always healthier when allowed regular outdoor play, so why aren't we encouraging it more?