Going Outdoors: Wilderness Therapy as a Technology Addiction Treatment

Wilderness Therapy as a Technology Addiction Treatment

Many teens spend more time with their face buried in an electronic device than they do enjoying the outdoors. This addiction to technology is starting to have serious health consequences as teens are becoming less active in exercising their minds and bodies. Wilderness therapy can correct this reliance by introducing participants to a number of personal coping tools and management skills that can eliminate their constant need to turn to technology. It also introduces them to nature, which on its own has the power to transform a young person’s life.

Approximately half of all teenage boys and a quarter of teenage girls spend more than 40 hours a week in front of an electronic screen, such as a computer, mobile phone, or TV. A strong reliance on technology is generally accompanied with a withdrawal from social interactions and can be an indication of a more severe behavioral or mental problem.  Many components of  wilderness therapy can assist with such an addition including technology addiction. As participants do not have the option in the wilderness of utilizing electronic devices, they are not able to connect.

Too much “screen time” is associated with:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol and substance use
  • Aggressive and violent behavior
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Poor academic performance
  • Poor social skills
  • Depression
  • Emotional disconnection

Teens who have an unhealthy reliance to their technological devices are not going to be easy to treat. Their habits are hard formed and their access to technology is difficult to restrict. They also like their electronic toys. It is challenging to help a teen overcome an addiction to electronics when they do not view their own behavior as destructive.

Separation is key when successfully conquering an unhealthy addiction to electronic devices.

Wilderness therapy addresses this particular issue in a way that no other treatment can. After all, there are no electronics in the wilderness. Participants simply do not have the option to connect with their electronic device; they no longer have the means to engage in destructive behavior.

Participants re-evaluate current values and goals without the crutch of technology to distract them and they are forced to address the issues that prompt them to turn to electronics. They reflect, write journals, and discuss the reasons for their behavior, and by doing so they develop new habits to take home.

The process facilitates independence and self-control, and upon returning home, participants are equipped with the tools to make better choices and manage their lives in a healthier way. They leave with an ability to balance their activities and behaviors appropriately and the desire to make good decisions when it comes to their technology use.

Being in nature can be transformative for a teen that is addicted to technology.

With nature as the background for treatment, wilderness therapy is particularly effective. Being outdoors is shown to increase physical and mental wellbeing. Nature can be very challenging, which helps to develop strength of will and determination. It is also peaceful and calming, and is the perfect setting for mediation and personal reflection.

The power of nature coupled with therapeutic treatment can help teens to overcome their reliance to technology by transforming the way that they view their place in the world. To learn more about wilderness therapy as a technology addiction treatment, contact Rites of Passage Wilderness today at (800)794-0980.