Midweek Mental Greening

Despite my thoughts about how some technological advances can help boost your mental health, ideally I think it’s best for people to spend as much time outdoors as possible. New friend requests, message alerts, and the hum of a computer can’t hold a candle to fresh air, sunlight, and the smell of newly cut grass.

Is this why, after it won in the House but failed to pass overall last year, the “No Child Left Inside Act” is getting ready to be reintroduced to the House and Senate? Perhaps. That, and the idea (or fact, depending on who you’re talking to) that America’s children are becoming increasingly detached from the outside (i.e. natural) world – they’re coming close to or already suffering from “Nature-Deficit Disorder” – according to a recent ScrippsNews.com article.

Congressman John Sarbanes (D-MD) and Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) are heading up the bill – one that Sarbanes hopes will mean “kids can learn in nature, not just learn about nature”:

“Basically, in a civics class, teachers can take their students to explore a historic trail or in a history class, teachers can take them to a national park,” Sarbanes said.

The article goes on:

“According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, children are disconnecting with the natural world and are spending more than six hours a day in front of computer screens, video games and televisions rather than outside. Spending time outside is important for children’s physical and emotional health, the study said.”

When I was a kid in school, we had “environmental education.” It was called science, biology, and recess – all of which had us outside learning and enjoying the great outdoors at one point or another. Teachers didn’t need Congress telling them it was okay to trek a historic trail or visit a national park – they only needed school board approval and signed permission slips.

And these “six hours a day” in front of computers, video games, and televisions? After all the stuff I remember from after school (the extracurricular activities, dinner, homework, phone calls with boyfriends and best friends), I can’t even wrap my brain around how kids these days find an extra six hours a day.

Times have changed, though – I get that. When I was in high school, the Internet was in the neonatal stages of becoming a household word. I didn’t even get my first personal computer (i.e. one I didn’t have to pull rank on my sister to use) until my freshman year of college.

However, I do remember how the lure of new e-mails, learning to build a website, and chatting on Yahoo! Messenger called to me until classes were over. “Nature-Deficit Disorder” might not have been in full swing back then, but the foundation was definitely there.

So, what do you think? Upset about what this bill says about the current state of our nation’s children and education system? Happy that someone is trying to do something about it? Let us know below, and in the meantime you can visit these websites to learn more about the “No Child Left Inside Act”:



View Comments / Leave a Comment

This post currently has 2 comments.
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.

    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 Mar 2009
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

APA Reference
Sparks, A. (2009). Congress Aims To Combat ‘Nature-Deficit Disorder’. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 29, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/03/18/congress-aims-to-combat-%e2%80%98nature-deficit-disorder%e2%80%99/


Recent Comments
  • sally: That was a little disappointing, trying to get on and no explanation, I didn’t know where the problem...
  • tom: I was mis- diagnosed by a p.a. at a medical office he wrote in a report a diagnosis of my illness that I have...
  • Janey1: Here I am in bed again at 2pm desperately wanting to get out of bed but cant. Every day the same. Getting out...
  • French2015: Hi T, I know where you are at with not be able to talk with your friends and family. I have been married...
  • Kenny A. Chaffin: Yes, this is a major issue with our (U.S. etc) society. The news, programming, etc. has been...
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code

Users Online: 10293
Join Us Now!