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Nature-Deficit Disorder and More in American Journal of Play

Nature-Deficit Disorder and More in American Journal of Play
ROCHESTER, New York—Nature-deficit disorder—a disconnectedness from outdoor play—may have grave consequences for today’s often sedentary, over-protected youth, according to an interview in the current issue of the American Journal of Play with noted journalist Richard Louv (author of the best-selling Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder) and conservationist Cheryl Charles (who helped launch the Leave No Child Inside initiative along with Louv). Louv, famous for coining the term “nature-deficit disorder,” says it is not a medical diagnosis, but rather a term to describe the human costs of alienation from nature: “These include diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, and higher rates of physical and emotional illnesses.” Charles describes childhood today as “virtual, vicarious, electronic, passive, and cocooned.” According to a Kaiser Family Foundation report, children spend about 50 hours a week on average with electronic media, and increasingly experience nature through computer or television screens without human interaction. In addition, many are restricted in their play by overprotective, well-intentioned parents. These problems cut across all settings—urban, suburban, and rural—worldwide, and across all income groups; they contribute to childhood obesity and increases in violent behavior and depression. Louv and Charles point to various studies that i…
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