Think back to your childhood and where you spent most of your free time. Today, the average child spends less than seven hours a week outside. Does that sound reasonable? What if I told you that they spend more than twice that amount of time playing video games inside? As more teens are becoming “addicted to technology,” encouraging them to find outdoor activities that they enjoy can help them stay socially engaged and physically active.
Is This Due to a Resistance to Nature?
In a survey of the recreational habits of kids ages six to 16, OnePoll found that 40% of parents have to force their child to leave their house and spend time outside. Over two-thirds of parents expressed concern that their kids don’t spend enough time outdoors. Kids are becoming more likely to be “homebodies” than to wander around their neighborhood or even bend rules around curfew. Over 60% of parents blame video games for their teen’s “aversion” to outdoor activities.
Comforts of modern technology may satisfy teen’s needs for entertainment and curiosity, but teens are missing out on the physical benefits of spending more time outside. The excitement of outdoor activities may wear off when teens compare themselves to others, feel defeated, or lose energy easily. Technology, on the other hand, offers infinite opportunities for connection. While more than four-fifths (83%) of parents thought it was important their children learned to use technology, nine out of 10 would prefer them to spend their childhood outdoors, developing a connection with nature.
Do They Just Prefer Structured Activities?
Spending more time inside doesn’t necessarily mean that teens are bored more easily. When listing hobbies, most teens claimed that they preferred a number of activities to playing outside, including playing video games, watching TV, surfing the Internet, and listening to music. One in ten even expressed that they would rather do homework than spend time outdoors.
For teens struggling with social anxiety, depression, self-esteem or physical health problems, they may find indoor activities more rewarding than spending time outdoors. Many indoor activities tend to be more individual and protect them from the risk of embarrassing themselves or being rejected by peers when spending time outdoors playing group games. While many teens shape their identity around their media interests, it is less a reflection on who they are as a person than their skills in physical sports may be.
Getting Teens Addicted To Technology Involved in Outdoor Activities
Recently, the US Department of Health and Human Services released the first National Youth Sports Strategy which hopes to increase access to participation in sports and investigate potential benefits for later mental and physical health outcomes. While teens may struggle to be physically active in their free time, teens who join organized sports teams are more likely to stick with a healthier lifestyle.
Although some competitive sports can set high expectations for teens, they also teach important relational skills that teens who are addicted to technology often struggle with grasping. Excessive screen time isn’t necessarily linked to depression and technology addiction. However, teens who spend more time online or playing video are more likely to withdraw socially and struggle with loneliness.
Adventure therapy involves a variety of positive social activities that teach teens how to unplug from technology, collaborate with others, and develop meaningful relationships offline. No prior outdoor experience is required to build confidence in these activities and the lessons they offer for everyday life.
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. Clients 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!