It seems that with every advancement in technology the distance between ourselves and nature grows. The newest feature in cars is built in WIFI. When I first heard about this so-called “advancement” I was completely baffled. It never fails to surprise me the lengths we’ll go to in order to stay connected to social media and entertainment. The reality is that many people are incapable of car travel without some form of entertainment, or more likely, some form of entertainment for their children. Technology has become the new pacifier; it’s just one more opportunity to be distracted. Unfortunately, this kind of consumerism does not benefit us, especially kids, in a positive way.
Now please don’t misinterpret this as an insult to anyone’s parenting style. I understand that various forms of entertainment can be helpful tools at certain moments but the way car companies are marketing this is just evidence of how little we value nature and the outdoors. Instead of looking at a screen in a vehicle maybe kids should be looking out the window and taking in their surroundings. Even in cities you can still find beauty, culture, geography and history.
We are encouraging today’s kids to depend on being entertained by everything but nature. This is the first generation that is being raised with technology and it’s scary to think of the consequences if this progresses at the current rate and what future generations could be missing. The implications for nature are discouraging. Kids need to be engaged in the world around them. They need to be bored from time to time. Getting bored is normal, it’s healthy and it can even be productive. When given the chance it can lead to creativity, problem solving and an opportunity to find inspiration.
Kids develop their imaginations in all sorts of ways. Looking out the window of a car, having a conversation with someone else in the car or doing a visual scavenger hunt can all be entertaining. Not being distracted gives us time to think and more importantly it gives us time to discover who we are and what we are capable of.
Maybe the introduction of WIFI in cars is more about selling cars than anything else. But what we need to promote is nature. We need to help kids learn to appreciate nature so they’ll grow up to protect it or one day a generation of kids may look out that car window and nature really will be missing.