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A Plea To Abandon Technology

Our children risk becoming a generation of robots programmed by mass media. As a journalist, I'm skeptical of anyone who claims the media are simply a tool of evil people used to manipulate and disseminate falsehoods. So I make that statement only half-seriously.

On the contrary, I believe strongly in the First Amendment as a vehicle for free expression; in the free market for the economic opportunity it creates and the platform it provides for the innovation and development of new products and services; and in technology for its ability to connect people and create value in ways past generations never dreamed possible.

Nor am I neglecting the value of a thoughtfully designed children's tablet game or the joy of educational TV programming, which I consumed voraciously as a youngster.

My point is this: We should encourage our children to spend more time outdoors and less time inside. I heard a tremendous presentation at the Sustainable Brands 2018 conference in Vancouver earlier this year from a leader at REI, the outdoor apparel and supply company. He shared alarming statistics about the years of our lives spent indoors amid artificial spaces that aren't designed for our mental or physical well-being. The company's #OptOutdoors campaign is a great example of a shift in our collective thinking about the value of removing technology on purpose, at least temporarily.

As a parent, I know I've used technology more times than I can count to appease my children, entertain them, and get some work done around the house or on the computer. It's a stopgap, but it isn't a permanent solution. Children need to have their minds stimulated and their experiences widened. They need time to explore, invent, and work together to solve problems.

Challenge yourself to do something with your family outdoors, even if it's only 30 minutes a day. I guarantee it will refresh you and bring you closer to the people you love most.

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