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NWF Green Hour

Commentary on what parents should know about and can do to counteract common "nature deficit disorders" in our TV-watching, video game-playing children including encouraging a daily "Green Hour" of outside play and learning. A program of the National Wildlife Federation

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Parents: How Safe Is It Out There?

The real dangers may be inside.

Richard Louv, author of the highly-regarded book Last Child in the Woods, had a provocative commentary in the New York Times on Sunday, September 25th. He noted how often adults say they keep kids inside because it is no longer safe outdoors. But is that true? Richard runs through a number of findings on how comparitively safer the outdoors are today than in the 1970s and 1980s. Noteworthy among these are that violence toward children is down by one third and child abductions are down roughly 50% since 1988. The importance of this information for someone recommending that every child needs an average of a outdoor 'green' hour per day is evident. It seems children outside today are safer than we might think. But, it is also worth noting the the common alaternative -- television -- has been proven to make children angry and violent. And, on the Internet lurk many thousands of child predators. It has so many, in fact, that some anaysts say 20% of kids will communcate directly with a predator on line at some point. Richard's advice on all of this -- tell your kids to "take a hike."

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