Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Unplugging is the New Freedom

This Memorial Day weekend couldn't have been better. Sunshine with a bit of rain; outdoor activities, barbecues, and pleasant easy-going conversation with people that matter. I noticed one wonderful thing: it felt good to be unplugged. By that I mean being far from the digital barrage of information, if only for a brief weekend, felt good--even freeing.

Unplugging ourselves on a regular basis is critically important in today's day and age. If we want to live a life of balance, it is important that we create time and space away from the computer and in front of real human beings and nature. The value it brings us is immeasurable. Unfortunately, it is slowly becoming a scarce resource.

The Alliance for Childhood says in their recent newsletter that over the past decade, we have seen profound changes--both good and bad--in the landscape of childhood. We have seen the disappearance of unstructured play, the growth of passive screen time and standardized testing, the rise of childhood obesity, and the disconnection of children from the natural world.

It's time for us to take a long hard look at how much free time we give ourselves and our children and how we can make a conscious effort to uplug more often. One of the best ways to unplug ourselves is to go outside and play in nature. Another way is to play games that don't have batteries or a screen. Our games at Think-a-lot Toys are designed to be open-ended and to be played both outside and in.

Think of all the things you can do without being plugged in. You don't always have to have all the information at your fingertips. In fact, wandering and not knowing are sometimes the healthiest and most creative acts we can do.

I like to think that unplugging ourselves from the digital age once in awhile is the new freedom--and a freedom that is worth fighting for.