This project is born from the need to address two interconnected health and wellbeing issues that affect youngsters around the globe:
- The problematic effects of the excessive use of screen devices (mobiles, computers, tablets…)
- The lack of contact with nature
The abuse of always-connected devices is becoming a matter of concern. Nowadays, teens spend an average of 6.5h/day in front of a screen compared with 3h in 1995, according to research firm Childwise (see link). This translates into an urge for quick access to content, permanent stimulation, generating “continuous partial attention”, which interferes with focus and decision making according to scientists such as M. Firat and E. Rose (see link). Young people (digital natives) are especially vulnerable to developing dependence and compulsive use of technology. This has been linked to the undermining of human relations, creativity, or academic performance (see “The role of impulsivity in actual and problematic use of the mobile phone” link).
Numerous studies have shown the importance of interacting with nature in a way that contributes to the health and wellbeing of young people, increasing their ability to concentrate, and emotional management. Unfortunately, in Europe contact with nature has decreased with urbanization and a sedentary lifestyle. Strikingly, it has been recently noticed by the press that prison inmates enjoy more time outdoors than young people and children. Psychologists have established “nature deficit disorder” (including Richard Louv or J.A. Corraliza see link) as condition that affects young people detached from natural environments, also known as “ecological illiteracy”.
In this context, this project addresses these issues in a innovative way by developing new tools that synergistically combine mindfulness and nature-based methods.