Encouraging Families to Trade Screen Time for the Outdoors
Starting today, veteran outfitter, O.A.R.S., is inviting families across the country to turn off their devices and tune into nature together for at least four days this summer as part of the company’s new #100HoursUnplugged challenge.
Multiple studies show that America’s youth now log more than 7.5 hours of screen time per day. By comparison, kids are logging just minutes of time outside—unplugged—per day on average.
In his 2005 book, Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv explored the ever-growing disconnect between children and the outdoors and how it impacts their physical and emotional health. Louv identifies a “lack of nature” as a partial explanation for a growing list of epidemics like obesity, depression and attention disorders in our youth.
“It’s clear that developing a balanced relationship with technology and spending more time outdoors is not only essential for children’s physical and emotional health, it’s the best way to ensure the long-term protection of our national parks and public lands,” Steve Markle, Vice President, Sales and Marketing for O.A.R.S. said. “Providing access to the outdoors and meaningful interactions with nature is at the heart of our work at O.A.R.S. Now, more than ever, we want to encourage kids and families to unplug and explore the great outdoors—whether that’s on a river trip or a backyard adventure.”
The goal of the campaign is simple: get as many people as possible to commit to spending 100 hours unplugged, outdoors and together as a family this summer.
One hundred hours is a long weekend, two separate weekends, or perhaps every Saturday in June. And whether families regularly unplug or hardly ever disconnect together, #100HoursUnplugged is totally doable. In setting out to launch this campaign, that’s what O.A.R.S. envisioned—a challenge that wasn’t completely out of reach for the average person. “With such alarming statistics on technology use, and the ever-growing support for the benefits of spending time outdoors, it’s clear that every single person, but especially our kids, could use a nature break,” said Markle.
The #100HoursUnplugged Challenge:
Families who take the #100HoursUnplugged challenge will commit to turning off their devices and tuning back into nature and each other for at least four days this summer. Whether it’s a rafting or camping trip, a trip to a National Park, or simply a series of day hikes exploring nearby natural spaces, the goal is to plan to spend quality time together in the outdoors.
“At its core, this is about future generations and leaving a legacy—and having some fun while we do it. It’s up to all of us to ensure that our kids and our grandkids grow up knowing wild places, wild rivers and that they develop a strong spirit of adventure—and it starts with cutting the cord every once in a while and heading outside,” Markle said.