August 1, 2007
As I was catching up on a little Google Reader-ing (don’t ask me how large the “unread” number is…), I came upon Will’s post on his recent hike/iPhone purchase. Interestingly, this was a subject that was rattling in my skull when I stalled a few months back.
(I probably didn’t write about this because I wasn’t sure if it “fit” my blog or not. Now that I have done away with those silly parameters…)
As I feel headlong into the rabbit-hole of Web 2.0 last year, I had this nagging suspicion (seem to get a lot of those) that I was sacrificing something else. It was at that time that I picked up Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods. He writes about what he calls the Nature-Deficit Disorder. Of course, one of the symptoms is a preference for all things indoors, electronic, and sedentary. Said one 4th-grader that he interviewed: “I like to play indoors because that’s where all the outlets are.”
I grew up in the woods, practically. Boy Scout camping, hiking, hunting, building dangerously unstable treehouses, slopping through shallow rivers for crawfish. As a family, we still camp as often as possible and I’ve fallen in love with backcountry backpacking again. But am I also becoming too much like that 4th-grader? Do I panic a little when I will be out of wi-fi range on an outdoor excursion?
Will’s narrative about taking his iPhone hiking made me wonder if the two have to be mutually exclusive. I still refuse to wear my headphones while I’m hiking, but I’ll take my iPod for listening to a book or music while trying to fall asleep in my tent.
The bigger, less personal question: Is all the social networking, network gaming, chatting, etc. creating a generation that has forgotten the outdoors? As a parent, what should I be doing to foster in my boys both a love and appreciation for the woods and the social capital to leverage the latest web technologies to their advantage?
Once again, more questions than answers.