Since my last post, I have done more research about how social media can and cannot positively influence people and their use of the outdoors.
According to several articles, including one by the Africa News Service and another by the Scotsman, social media has become a major distraction. Our person to person contact is now very limited. Our senses are being diluted because of our constant and accessible screen time. Social media has also upped the teen depression, cyberbullying, and loss of self confidence. Although this has less to do with the outdoors, the New York Times discusses how troubled teens and youths are leaving their social media and technology behind and heading out to the Utah Wilderness as a therapeutic treatment. This is another way we can use the outdoors to free ourselves from technology, go ‘unplugged’. We need too stop exploiting the outdoors and fully appreciate nature.
Another way we can use media, as discussed on NPR’s Morning Edition, is by making accessible to the youth, and creating healthy competition. Britain’s National Trust created a list with 50 Things every child should do before they reach 11 3/4 . They promoted this list using social media, to get more ideas and create a longer list for kids to accomplish. They did this program in order to get kids outside and off technology/social media, which seems a bit hypocritical, but the list worked. We need to promote nature, National Parks, and outdoor recreation, without exploiting and abusing the natural landscape.
People need to be aware of what is out there, and to go and enjoy it, but they must also be aware of the risks and how we must be careful of our impact and choices.