There was an article in the paper on the weekend about the high incidence of short sightedness (is that the medical term? Im a social worker, science is lost on me) amongst 12 year olds. One of the researchers explained that the increase in screen time, of sitting and staring at the space in front of you, impacts on the capacity to look up and into the horizon. Literally.
This isnt a post about enforcing screen-free time in your house, or the perils of ipads, iphones and other things starting with i. I, more than most people know that without the Bananas in pyjamas app the hours between 5 and 6pm make me wish I had a job that kept me out of the house rather than at a desk in the garage.
As a kid I wasnt someone who jumped up and got excited about the great outdoors, my sister and I spent hours watching videos over and over until we could speak the dialogue ourselves, do the dance moves and practice the final scenes of Pretty in Pink. We didnt once go camping, or hiking or anything else that required insect repellent. We were brave like that.
But we are not short sighted. Well, actually my sister is. But in the metaphorical sense we can look into the horizon and see the great things that lie ahead, our time in front of the tele, or gyrating on the floor didnt impact on our sense of adventure. I think that the key is the fact that we were never told what we could and couldnt do, we just did what felt comfortable, we knew what we were good at and we stuck to that.
Last month we took our kids to the snow for the first time, it was a long drive, some great days spent trudging across giant fields, sailing down slopes and when we were driving home an echidna waddled aross the road in front of us. When my daughter returned to school her essay about her holidays started with ‘on the holidays we went away, we ate pizza for dinner and mum and dada had a tele in their room, I wasnt allowed to watch their tele‘.
No echidna, no snow, no amazing horizons.
Just perspective. Just her.
Short sightedness be damned.
Are you raising your kids to look into the distance?