Voices Of Youth

Parents, lead your children outdoors

I grew up in a family that loves the outdoors.

Our weekly treks through parks and nature reserves were what brought us together, and gave us a deep sense of affinity with nature.

Today, Singaporean children spend most of their time looking at electronic screens. They have never been more disconnected from nature and the outdoors, and I am saddened by this.

Going outdoors is transformative, leading to self-discovery and personal development. Enjoying the outdoors keeps us healthy and can bring warmth, when explored as a family.

But there are more benefits.

As people immerse in and feel a sense of connection to these outdoor places, they naturally develop an instinct to be protective of nature. 

In a country where climate change is becoming increasingly felt, we will need people who have strong interests in environmental issues and in protecting the planet.

When it comes to riskier outdoor places, this could mean defying our risk-averse culture and letting our children explore the outdoors.

Letting them experience nature in an unadulterated way is certainly better than supporting their dependence on technology.

Perhaps, parents could consider spending their weekends with their children at the Labrador Nature Reserve, MacRitchie Nature Trail or the newly opened Coney Island Park.

Tang Hwee Wern (Miss), 20, second-year university student

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 23, 2015, with the headline ''. Print Edition | Subscribe