What’s the best way to get kids outdoors? Filmmaker Meg Merrill’s solution is to make a film about it. Originally screened this spring in Washington, D.C., “Play Again” investigates the consequences of a childhood removed from nature and encourages action for a sustainable future.
“One generation from now most people in the U.S. will have spent more time in the virtual world than in nature,” says Merrill, who works in the Department of the Interior’s Youth Division. “New media technologies have improved our lives in countless ways, but what are we missing when we are behind these screens and how will this impact our children, society and planet?”
At a time when children play more behind screens than outside, Play Again explores the changing balance between the virtual and natural worlds, and asks if our connection to nature is disappearing down the digital rabbit hole?
Through the voices of children and leading experts including journalist Richard Louv, sociologist Juliet Schor, environmental writer Bill McKibben, educators Diane Levin and Nancy Carlsson-Paige, neuroscientist Gary Small, parks advocate Charles Jordan, and geneticist David Suzuki, the documentary follows six teenagers who spend five to fifteen hours a day behind screens. It then unplugs them and takes them on their first wilderness adventure – no electricity, no cell phone coverage, no virtual reality.