Were the ‘good old days’ really that bright?


When people speak of ‘the good old days’, ‘when we were kids’ or ‘when times were simpler’, you can usually sit back and be rewarded with a great tale of childhood. A childhood when it was not just safe to play outside from dawn until dusk, but where (if you believe the fond memories), children spent every waking moment building tree houses, collecting bugs, and learning core skills to equip them for life.

In truth, it probably wasn’t anywhere near as idyllic to be a child in previous generations as it seems that those who lived it recall. With the advent of technology, we benefit from longer lives, better medical care and pioneering gadgets which make life much more simple in many ways, than it used to be.

However, there is a key theme which recurs when considering the positive childhoods of the past.

The outdoors.

Can technology outshine nature?

For every benefit which technology brings, it seems that there is one thing which it cannot ever fully replicate. This is natural light. We have artificial daylight simulators, tanning beds, and all manner of complex technologies designed specifically to compensate for the fact that our world has too much technology, and not enough time to spend outdoors.

While the affectionately-recalled memories of outdoor childhoods may make us roll our eyes from time to time, there is a simple reason why people may remember that time as being more positive. It was. Positive in terms of society leaving the home or office to gain natural light, clean air and the benefits of sunshine. Positive, in that young people preferred nature itself above virtual reality simulations where you grow farm produce through a screen, rather than through earth.

The benefits of a technology-rich childhood

The plus side of technology is undeniable. Literacy, teamwork, numeracy and a myriad other skills are all improved through use of apps and games for kids (and adults). It is genuinely possible to learn skills such as gardening, den-building and much more through a screen. However, there is no technology yet which is able to replicate the honest old-fashioned benefits of time outdoors.

The undeniable impacts of natural daylight

When it comes to tracking child development, research evidences that students receiving high levels of natural light achieve test scores up to 18% higher than those receiving minimal amounts. This means that cognitive ability, application for learning, retention of knowledge and ability to apply this knowledge all significantly improve when children get outdoors, or access natural light indoors.

So, while the rose-tinted days of den-building from morning to night may not be possible to achieve in today’s tech-rich world, we can at least remove our shades when it comes to maximising daylight for our newest generations. Design carefully, pulling in natural daylight wherever possible, to bring the benefits of the past into the future of tomorrow. Not sure where to start? We can help. We provide consultancy, advice, information, and a host of products all designed to give your schools, homes and commercial buildings the benefit of light, all year ‘round.

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