Тhе Nаturе Dеfiсit Сhild in Australia Essay Example

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ТHЕ NАTURЕ DЕFIСIT СHILD IN AUSTRALIA 6

Тhе Nаturе Dеfiсit Сhild in Australia

Тhе Nаturе Dеfiсit Сhild in Australia

There is a great distinction amongst children in Australia due to the varying up-bringing. The children get exposed to different cultural and social settings that determine their relation with nature. Generally, children have similar potentialities when it comes to their relation with nature, but differences emerge due to how the parents and educators introduce them to nature. Therefore, it is common to find children with nature deficit due to lack of exposure. The type of children have little information and touch with nature, which hence makes them develop what some scholars refer to as nature deficit disorder. In Australia, the children educators have advocated for children to have freedom to interact with nature despite the continued pressure from parents who have a contrary opinion (Zander, 2004).

The media has continued to report stories of some children who encounter dangers with nature. As a result, some parents have bought the idea and use it as an excuse to deny their children an opportunity to interact with nature. Research indicates that many parents in Australia keep their children indoors as a measure to safeguard them from the dangers associated with nature. The parents warn their children about the dangers associated with nature and convince or otherwise force them to stay indoors. Hence, statistics reveal that there are several children who have stayed indoors following the restrictions that their parents have issued. According to some studies, the children who are kept indoors claim to have received warnings that there are dangerous creatures in land, water and air that can cause them harm (Zander, 2004).

Parental fears have continued to restrict children from accessing natural areas. Alternatively, they have resorted to watching nature as presented by the media on the screen. However, the indoor nature presentation does not augur well with the requirements of the child growth and development. Children love fascination and firsthand experience rather than the use of technology. The collections of films and pictures illustrating sceneries, animals and plants in the wilderness are entertaining to children but do not satisfy their curiosity. The presentation of nature as the “other” makes children to become alien to nature when they should become part of it. It is for that reason that children have varied explanation about nature because of the explanations they get from their parents and media. Some parents instil fear on the children concerning certain creatures until they become totally disengaged from appreciating the unique creations (Robinson and Diaz, 2006).

The paranoid parents have established alternative ways of distracting the attention of children from nature. They have introduced regimented sports and television watching to fill the gap they have created on their children. In Australia, it is common to find several playgrounds where children use during weekends and during school holidays. The avenues have diverted the attention of children but created another challenge of nature deficit that parents have to face in dealing with their children in future. The distraction tactic seems to serve the interests of the paranoid parents who feel that their children are constantly at danger of falling victims of dangers associated with nature. Despite the activism that some civic groups and educators have highlighted for several years, several parents refuse to permit their children to indulge in nature exploration.

In essence, human beings have a liking towards nature, whether children or grown-ups. Denying children the opportunity to connect with nature is a repressive measure that inhibits their learning. Pedagogical research indicates that children who have little or no exposure to nature are not attentive in class. They lack creativity because they are limited to second hand information they receive from their parents and the media. In Australia, researchers have found this relation between performance and nature exposure. They have found that children who have the liberty to explore nature or have the privilege of visiting national parks and other nature sites are better in academic performance than their counterparts. Thus, they have recommended that schools should initiate the programme of taking children to natural sites to encourage better performance (Bradford, 2006).

In Australia, the divergence lies within the cultural differences among the children. The Chinese children, for example, have a better connection with nature due to their Asian upbringing where the people respect and embrace nature. According to some environmentalists, Chinese-Australian children have a better connection with nature because the historical culture of the Chinese people involves the development of education using nature. The diversity has hence become apparent between children of different cultural origins. Robinson and Diaz (2006) explain the concept using the cultural theory where they explain that distinctions occur due to racial, ethnic or other related differences. According to the two scholars, a better way of improving education among children is through harmonisation with nature. The convergence of cultures, the scholars insinuate, will promote a globalized education among children.

The children who suffer from nature deficit have learned to construct their own identities. They have learned to create make-belief stories concerning culture to fill their inadequacies. Their explanations about nature involve the manipulated stories by the media. The children disguise their lack of exposure through the second-hand information they receive from the media, parents and other adults. Other children would listen to stories narrated by their privileged counterparts and later retell in order to supplement their inadequacies. Research also indicates that some children draw imaginary pictures of some nature aspects that they have not encountered due to lack of access (Breen 2005).

Unfortunately, children who cannot adjust to their lack of exposure may become withdrawn and develop stress and even depression. Scientists indicate that children whose parents deny them access to nature may suffer from attention disorders. They begin to feel neglected and hence develop stress and depression. The two results interfere with the academic progress of children. At the same time, experts warn that the children who do not get exposed to nature learning and interaction may develop myopia, which results from lack of chemical signals that prevents elongation of their eyes during growth and development. Therefore, it appears that denying children the opportunity to interact with nature affects a larger part of their lives, health and education (Robinson, 2013).

Evidently, children have varying identities in regard to nature depending on the level of their exposure. The children whose parents and educators expose them to nature become better equipped with creative minds that those who stay indoors. In order to nurture the imaginative ability of children, child experts advise that parents and educators should encourage learning through nature. They further underscore the need for self-exploration of children rather than the monitored upbringing. In Australia, there are high chances that children will suffer from nature deficit disorder if the concerned persons, groups and authorities do not strengthen child liberty.

Reflection

I have learnt that a child in the contemporary society faces a challenge of learning through nature. Technological advancements have made it hard for the child to become exposed to nature. Rather than visiting zoos and other natural places, children in the modern society have relied on television and films to learn. As a result, the children nowadays have little imagination since their parents keep them indoors where they believe that they are safer than exploring the wild. I have noted that most parents and educators have forced children to devise ways of accepting their lack of exposure. I feel that children in future will have nothing substantial concerning nature since they have depended on media more than exploration of nature.

REFERENCES

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Bradford, C. (2006). Writing the Australian child: Texts and Contexts in Fictions for Children. Nedlands, W.A: University of Western Australia Press.

Breen, C. (2005). Age Discrimination and Children’s Rights: Ensuring Equality and Acknowledging Difference. Boston, Mass: Martinus Nijhoff.

Robinson, K. (2013). Innocence, Knowledge and The Construction of Childhood: The Contradictory Nature of Sexuality and Censorship in Children’s Contemporary Lives. London: RoutledgeTop of Form

Robinson, K.H & Jones Diaz, C . (2006) Diversity and Differences in Early Childhood Education. London: Open University Press.

Zander, V. (2004). Identity and Marginality among New Australians: Religion and Ethnicity in Victoria’s Slavic Baptist Community. Berlin [u.a.: de Gruyter.