We spend so much of our days online. Be it for work or for leisure, our screen time is ever increasing.
But it’s not just us – it’s our kids, too. According to a 2015 survey by Childwise, children aged 5 to 16 spend an average of 6 hours per day in front of a screen.
If you’ve ever thought, “Someone should really do something about that”, then it’s time you meet Marlene Power, Executive Director of Child & Nature Alliance of Canada. The organization is set to unveil their #wannaplayoutside campaign that harnesses the power of the Internet to encourage kids to get out into nature. And since we all spend so much of our days looking at computer screens anyway, it’s the perfect launching pad.
In this edition of Rebel Stories, we chat with Marlene about the campaign, their creative use of the .global domain name, and how people just like you can get involved.
What’s the story behind #wannaplayoutside and wannaplay.global?
Children are increasingly stressed out, overwhelmed, over-scheduled, over-worked and under-played. As a society, not only have we made a general movement to spending more time indoors, but we’ve also become increasingly uncomfortable with the ordinary risks that come with playing outside. We’ve created a million rules about how children can play: no holding sticks, no climbing trees, no stepping on the ice, no jumping in the water. This campaign is an invitation for kids to get outside, to remember what’s it’s like to knock on our friends door and say, “Hey, wanna play?” But more than that, it’s also an invitation for adults to let children play, to question how we spend our time, and to challenge our assumptions about what is deemed as risky in children’s lives.
Why did you choose the .global domain for your initiative?
We are launching our campaign at an international conference and were attracted to the idea of using a domain that is fresh and, well, global! We believe it will help us to elevate our campaign to a wider audience and grab the attention of people who have yet to think about how play is valuable to their children’s (or their own) lives.
Why did you decide to bring #wannaplayoutside online?
Online is where people are. In our work, when we talk about getting children outside to play, people immediately start talking about how screens have impacted children’s lives and how they’re not playing because they’re simply too busy using technology.
But for that reason, we think the movement to get outside and the use of technology can support one another. There’s a role for both in today’s world, and we can reach people in innovative ways through launching an online campaign such as this.
Why is it important to get outside and play?
It supports creativity, self-directed experiences, development, connection to others, physical activity, deeper learning , resiliency – just to name a few. We also get to build things and feel a sense of accomplishment that we don’t often get in other areas of our lives. Further to that, being outside means we can feel the wind blow or the snow fall in our hair. It helps remind us that we’re a part of something bigger, and it’s through this day-to-day connection that we come to care for the earth and want to protect it.
How can someone reading this help to support what you’re doing?
GET OUTSIDE! Children can invite their friends to play, or you can take a child in your life out to enjoy nature for a few hours without anything structured or planned. And this time, let them take the lead and show you what they’re made of.
Learn more about the #wannaplayoutside campaign and share your invitation at wannaplay.global.