This summer, OARS, one of the largest rafting companies in the world, is challenging adults and children to leave their technology and devices behind for 100 hours this summer. No social media, no Candy Crush, no checking email- just you and the great outdoors for 100 hours. OARS explains that you can break the 100 hours up for the entire summer or spend a long weekend camping to accomplish your goal. It’s not about when you unplug but how. Spend time outside hiking, camping, playing in the backyard, or anything else you can think of!
According to OARS, children and teens spend between six to nine hours a day online. And guess what? That doesn’t include screen time for school! I know I am guilty of assigning technology-laden assignments for homework so I play a part in this tragedy, too. And yes, I think it is a tragedy. I’ve spoken to my students multiple times about how much time they spend outside on a weekly basis and for most of them it’s barely any time at all. They are scheduled within an inch of their lives by school and home and there just isn’t time. Yet we know that spending time outside is good for our mental and emotional health.
Adults are even worse! We spend up to 11 hours a day using technology. (Yup, sounds about right….) So it’s time to start setting a good example. Summer is the perfect time to get outside and start thinking of ways to bring your students outside in the fall. Get comfortable with the parks and school yards in your neighborhood. Observe and play. Relax. And have fun!