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Rocky View Publishing assistant editor believes parks should be Wifi free

By: Sara Wilson

  |  Posted: Thursday, May 01, 2014 10:28 am

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I come from a family that believed in the power of a simple life, uncluttered with schedules and was raised with a healthy respect for nature, so naturally, our favourite pass-time was camping.

We’d pack up the basics and get away from it all every chance we could.

We lived just outside Victoria on Vancouver Island, so it was easier than most places to camp year round, if you didn’t mind a soggy campsite that is.

My father taught my brother and I how to fish along with the necessary skills required to survive on your own for an extended period of time in the backcountry.

Lighting a campfire, cleaning a fish and how to dispose of garbage so Mr. Black Bear doesn’t come looking for you, are things I will pass along to my kids that I learned from him.

The experience taught us to respect our natural surroundings, but more importantly it taught us as a family and as individuals how to listen.

Listen to each other, to ourselves and the environment around us.

If we wanted entertainment, we made it ourselves. If we wanted food, we got it ourselves.

The only distraction we had was each other.

Nowadays, there are so many technological distractions designed to minimize the amount of thinking a human has to do.

Gone are the days when you had to put effort into thinking about the answer to a question, now all you have to do is Google it.

Minimal effort is required to learn, if you can even call that learning.

The environment children are raised in today is very different than when I was growing up, and it continues to get farther from the quiet peace I’m used to.

Parks Canada announced this week that it plans to launch Wifi service across its networks of parks, as in, the Internet can now come to you in your tent.

Really? Is this something we really need?

The whole point is to get away, not bring the distractions with you.

There is a brilliant commercial for “unplugging” – ironically for RV Canada – that shows a family so completely scheduled with soccer practices, music lessons and gymnastics that it gives me high blood pressure just watching it.

Some will argue, that the access to information is a benefit to raising children, that any interest can be pursued and I will agree with that, but also fear that the constant pulling of technology take us further away from the family unit.

The values that we are raised by somehow become blurred and compared to what everyone else is doing.

I think it’s important take a step back and listen, not to the sounds of a video game, but the sounds that calm us and provide clarity in an ever-changing and hectic world.

Those moments of quiet can transform a person and a family if you let them.

I would hope that even though the access is there, those who choose to get away from it all, actually do unplug and pay attention to what’s around them, and start to think about how they fit into it all.


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