I listened to a podcast today from the ABC website about Nature Deficit Disorder. It was an interview with the author (Richard Louv) of the book called "Last Child in the Woods".I found this fascinating as a parent of a toddler who wants to be outside all of the time.
The podcast discussed our innate need as children to be outside and what the implications of not learning and playing in the outdoors in an unsupervised manner was. There were discussions about how parents are now frightened to let their children outside for fear of what might happen to them and legislation preventing children from undertaking activities that their parents or grandparents participated in in their childhood, such as building cubby houses in trees, etc. It also discussed our desire as children to have 'secretive' activities and the necessity of this for mental health, etc.
I don't think I have fears of holding my child's development back by preventing her from going outside because I believe that I will be encouraging her to get out and about as she grows older. The one thing that struck a tune with me, was Richard's discussion on how children no longer are allowed to appreciate and learn about nature just as it is. Rather they can be subjected by parents and educators about the doomsday state the planet is in and thus they become concerned about everything in their environment and don't fully appreciate or learn about the intricacies of nature for themselves. This really struck a cord with me, as I was just telling my daughter last night while she was playing in her bath and having the tap running, that she had to turn off the tap because she would drain the world dry of water. She is under 2 and already I am tainting her exploration of nature due to my "doomsday" perspective of the world's resources.
If I can get my hands on this book I plan on reading it to better educate myself about this perspective because I do think being outside is an important thing for people's general and mental health.