“Here’s my New Year’s resolution: in 2012, I plan to spend at least 30 minutes a day without my iPhone. Without internet, Twitter, Facebook and my iPad. Spending a half-hour a day without electronics might sound easy for most, but for me, 30 unconnected minutes produces the same anxious feelings of a child left accidentally at the shopping mall.
For example, I was worried that if I did not capture that beautiful sunset and stuff it into my phone, I’d forget it.
“Even with something as beautiful as a sunset, forgetting is really important as a mental hygiene,” said Viktor Mayer-Schonberger, a professor of Internet governance at Oxford University and the author of the book Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age.
“That things in our past become rosier over time is incredibly important,” he added. “As we forget, our memories abstract and our brain goes through a cleansing process.” Professor Mayer-Schonberger said that keeping a perpetual visual diary of everything could slow down our brains’ purging process.
Constantly interacting with our mobile devices has other drawbacks too. I have no time to daydream. And daydreams, scientists say, are imperative in solving problems.
Jonah Lehrer, a neuroscientist said that our brains often needed to become inattentive to figure out complex issues. He (discussed) an area of the brain scientists call “the default network” that was active only when the rest of the brain was inactive — in other words, when we were daydreaming. Letting the mind wander activates the default network, he said, and allows our brains to solve problems that most likely can’t be solved during a game of Angry Birds.
Jonathan Schooler, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara who has focused his research on daydreaming, put it this way: “Daydreaming and boredom seem to be a source for incubation and creative discovery in the brain and is part of the creative incubation process.” (Article originally from the New York Times)
For those of you who ask what does this have to do with natural play and playspaces the short answer is, everything.
“Benefits of undirected play, especially play in a natural environment have been constantly documented over the last decade to stimulate young minds in a variety of ways.
Children with symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are better able to concentrate after contact with nature (Taylor et al. 2001).
Nature helps children develop powers of observation and creativity and instills a sense of peace and being at one with the world (Crain 2001).
Natural environments stimulate social interaction between children (Moore 1986, Bixler et al. 2002).
Outdoor environments are important to children’s development of independence and autonomy (Bartlett 1996).
(Derived from an article by Randy White, White Hutchinson, article link is here.)