In today’s post I would like to talk about something that has weighed on my heart for quite some time now.
As cliche as this may sound, our generation is really screwed up (I’m a millennial).
First, I want to start off by telling you just how much of an impact my participation in outdoors activities has made on my life, specifically fishing. At a very young age I was given a rod and reel, and from the moment I first threaded a red wiggler onto my hook, I was enthralled.
The excitement of watching a dry fly get inhaled, or your line running sideways in the water before setting the hook, these are things we outdoors enthusiasts live for.
It is for the love of these very things that I ask whomever it is reading this that you please take what I’ve said into consideration – as the very things we love about the outdoors depends on it.
What keeps us inside?
According to a study by the University of Michigan, kids aged 6-11 spend an average of 28 hours per week in front of a television.
In my own words, the study proved that excessive amounts of television aid in the deterioration of our brains.
Now, before you get disgruntled by what I am about to say, let me clarify, social media does have it’s place in society. But for the most part social media has destroyed the physical interactions between human beings that are critical to the well-being of our psychological state.
Many social media users today care more about how many likes or followers they can get than the grade they got on their last test.
However, as I said before, social media does serve a purpose; reuniting with friends halfway across the world, reading posts such as this, and participating in groups that otherwise wouldn’t exist are a few that come to mind.
The point is, we put way too much mental strain our minds through the excessive use of social media; it again must be used in moderation. To get a better understanding of the effects of social media on the brain, I read this study by UCLA.
The purpose of the above information is to show that while television and social media (two of the average American’s largest time-hogs) are exciting, excessive engagement in the two pose some significant risk to our mental and physical state.
How can we fix this?
Ultimately, for those of you who know someone described as a homebody, or electronic-addict, you will fail if you try to force them to completely remove themselves from the electronic realm.
However, for those of you with children, you start by giving them incentives such as, “if you go outside and kick a soccer ball for an hour, I will allow you to play Xbox for thirty minutes.”
Limiting the time kids spend on things inside frees up time for them to explore what’s outside.
Another very simple solution to this problem is for those of us who are outdoor enthusiasts to go and encourage these electronic-addicts to join us on our trips. It is absolutely essential to the preservation of outdoor recreation that we enthusiasts pass on our skills.
I would not be the man I am today had I not been shown the amazing things beyond the walls of my home by many great friends and family members.
For those of you who identify with outdoor enthusiast culture and/or are employed by businesses who identify as such, I ask you this:
What current issue could be more important than the fate of the activity/activities with which many of our lives revolve around?
By getting our friends and family members off their computers and outside, we would only grow stronger as a nation. Friends would be closer, more time would be spent with family, the physical interactions lost through the excessive use of social media would be regained.
The benefits are unlimited.
But it all starts with us.
We must, for the sake of the outdoors, take it upon ourselves to educate our friends and family members about the benefits of being active outside.
Do we want to be a nation defined by the amount of followers we have, or the experiences we’ve shared with those we treasure the most? Our future depends on it, so really – our future, the future of outdoor recreation, depends on you.
I encourage you – get outdoors with the people you love.