The consequences of a generation growing up in a virtual world and spending less time playing outside are explored in a documentary that screens in Kamloops later this month.
"Unfortunately it's not good for us humans to sit in front of a screen most the time," said Play Again director Tonje Hessen Schei.
Schei heralds from Norway, but was in Portland, Ore., promoting Play Again when The Daily News caught up with her for a phone interview.
Her film plays at the Paramount Theatre on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m.
Through making the film and her research prior, Schei learned of the serious physical and psychological damage if children spend too much time in front of a computer.
Studies suggest children spend 90 per cent of their waking time looking at a screen, she said.
"Obesity is a serious issue," she said. "Attention deficit disorder is also a concept that is on everybody's mind right now because we are seeing the effects on kids' health."
ADD makes children impatient and easily bored, said Schei. When most of your experiences with the outdoors come from nature programs, the reality of being outside isn't as exciting.
As a result, many children don't know how to spend their time out of doors, she said.
"When you go outside you aren't necessarily going to see a wolf chasing down a deer," said Schei. "We're raising a very impatient generation that is used to being bombarded constantly."
Parents need to teach their sons and daughters how to enjoy being outside, she said. We can't expect children to appreciate and want to protect the environment if they don't have a connection to it.
Schei started researching Play Again in 2006, and the documentary went into production in 2008. It premiered at the Environmental Film Festival in Barcelona, Spain, in 2010.
Play Again has screened all over the world and won 11 international film awards. Fiona Clare, a literacy outreach worker in Kamloops, heard about the documentary when it played during a literacy week in Salmon Arm last year.
She thought the film would be perfect for Unplug and Play Family Literacy Week, which takes place Jan. 20 to 27.
Clare said Play Again is inspiring and timely, given how few children she sees playing outside during drives through her neighbourhood.
"It's time to get back to nature," she said.