The average American child is said to spend 4 to 7 minutes a day in unstructured play outdoors, and over 7 hours a day in front of a screen. This is particularly true for teens who live in cities with limited access to nature in their neighborhood. They are more likely to socialize in indoor, public spaces than to seek out green spaces, especially in areas with limited wifi connection! As neighborhoods become more metropolitan and teens spend less time exploring nature, psychologists are noticing signs of Nature Deficit disorder, particularly in city teens. 

Why Are Teens Deficient in Nature?

Nature Deficit Disorder is the idea that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors and the belief that this change results in a wide range of behavioral problems. It seems we live more and more in a culture that favors safe sports and structured activities over imaginative outdoor play. 

Reasons for this include:

  • Parental fears
  • Safety issues
  • Restricted access to nature
  • Increased screen time on personal devices

What does nature deficiency look like?

Teens who are nature deficient are more likely to have excess energy if they don’t have appropriate outlets. They will find anything to throw or kick around, they have trouble listening, they complain and whine, they can misbehave, and they are more likely to be addicted to their screens. Many of us label these kids as easily distracted, can’t sit still, difficult, ADD, or as having too much screen time. While these may seem true, there may be other explanations. 

“Nature Deficit Disorder is a problem because kids who don’t get nature-time seem more prone to anxiety, depression and attention-deficit disorder,” explains author Richard Louv, who coined the term in his book Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children.

Increasing Interactions with Nature

According to a University of Illinois study, interaction with nature reduces symptoms of ADD in children; “exposure to ordinary natural settings in the course of common after-school and weekend activities may be widely effective in reducing attention deficit symptoms in children.”

Some studies suggest that even spending more time sitting outside shares similar health benefits as engaging in outdoor activities. Most studies agree that kids who play outside are smarter, happier, more attentive, and less anxious than kids who spend more time indoors. Immersing city teens in the outdoors may be a difficult transition if they are not used to nature, but wilderness therapy can be particularly transformative for them as they shift the way they think about the world and adopt healthier coping mechanisms. 

blueFire Wilderness Can Help 

blueFire is a wilderness therapy program for students ages 11-17 who struggle with mental health disorders. We offer experiential education and adventure activities to help students remove themselves from their fast-paced lives and stay engaged in a peaceful and natural setting—the wilderness. Students will learn skills that will help them develop their independence and gain a newfound sense of self-awareness, responsibility, and confidence. blueFire offers the opportunity to learn new healthy activities, nutrition habits, and communication skills; all things that are transferable to the real world. This program is dedicated to inspiring a positive change in the lives of young men and women and helping them step their best foot forward towards a bright and healthy future. 

Contact us at 1-844-413-1999 to learn more about video game addiction. We can help your family today!

Previous reading
What Makes blueFire Wilderness Therapy Unique?
Next reading
Boys and Girls Appreciate Values Learned From Adventure Activities