Life in widescreen
We’re all guilty of it. None of us are immune to the addictive powers and instant gratification of TV, the internet, and social media.
We all spend too much time staring at screens. Time that, outside of working hours, could, and probably should, be better spent doing something else.
And whilst social media, smart phones, video games and technology are now part of the everyday fabric of life, it can also be damaging to mental and physical health, particularly where young people are concerned. Luckily there is a cure, and sometimes all it takes is getting out the front door.
Screens can exacerbate a sense of insularity. With everything we could possibly need or want at our fingertips, we have access to more information, entertainment and connectivity than ever before, and yet we seem to be increasingly retreating into our online worlds, rather than getting out and exploring the world on our doorsteps. It’s so easy to connect with people to chat, to arrange to meet, and yet we so rarely do so.
Are we really any better off, or have our lives truly been enriched in any way by our screen addiction?
Even pursuits that were once only possible outdoors such as riding a bike can now be carried out from the comfort of your own home, through the use of a turbo trainer and a subscription to a virtual race simulator. And whilst these applications have their usages for the time-crunched athlete, there’s surely no substitute for getting out there and feeling the wind in your hair and the flies in your teeth.
Similarly, visit any gym and you’ll invariably find people pounding treadmills whilst transfixed to some form of screen, when they could be outside enjoying the fresh air and scenery. Admittedly, if you live in a city fresh air can be hard to come by, but surely a gentle jog around your local park or area of woodland is preferable to driving to a crowded gym and running on the treadmill?
The most worrying area where technology has pervaded our lives is through our children. Can any of us truly know what they’re so transfixed by during all the time they spend online? To them, it’s simply the norm. Whereas, as a child of the 80’s I would trawl around various friends’ houses to see who was allowed out to play, they’d rather watch people trawl around friends’ houses to see who’s coming out to play on Youtube. It’s mindboggling.
Where once we’d insert a tape into the deck of our Sinclair Spectrum and wait several painful days for a game to load, kids today can now download any game they like to their phone and be playing within seconds. Most cases of intended computer gaming back in the 80’s would result in us becoming so bored waiting for the game to load that we invariably ended up going outside to play.
When I suggest to my own kids that they might like to go outside to play, they seem to regard it as some kind of punishment. Our modern addiction to screens seems to have bred short tempers and short attention spans, but the outdoors offers so many opportunities to fire your imagination.
The transformative powers of the great outdoors rarely last long with kids. By the next day when we suggest the girls put the phones down and go out for another walk, reminding them how much fun we had, is inevitably met with the puzzled response; “But we went out for a walk yesterday?!”
There’s always a reason not to go outside; lack of time, money, energy, poor weather, the list goes on. Luckily, here at Dorset Adventure Park we can render most of those arguments redundant. Whether you choose the water park or mud trail, you’re here to get wet and muddy, so whatever the weather, it’s always a good day to visit.Here, you can climb,crawl, run, slip, slide, splash, slosh, swing, swim, scramble, paddle, giggle, and gasp.It’s a wonderful way to unleash the inner kid in you, whatever your age. Even if we do say so ourselves.
The modern world can be a scary place for kids and a bewildering place for adults. Social media, peer pressure, body shaming, rising anxiety, exam stress, the pressure to look and act a certain way. But when we can get away from the trappings of modern life and spend time together outdoors, all these pressures and worries seem to melt away. The outdoors is one of life’s greatest gifts, and it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Away from the small screens, life outdoors is happening in widescreen. We hope to see you out here soon.
Published May 19, 2019