Technology and Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD)

Technology is changing at a fast pace no one can keep up with. Even the most intelligent and smart individual feels overwhelmed by these changes. Too much change too fast strains people and result in feelings of helplessness and inadequacy, two symptoms of stress.

Technology is erasing our sense of place and community. Feeling that you belong to a certain group is a human need for a healthy development of the young. When using technology for too long we become addicted to mindlessly pressing levers in the hope of receiving social or intellectual nourishment.

Instantaneous devices and the abundance of information people have access to have an impact on the thought processes, obstructing deep thinking and understanding, and impeding the formation of memories. It makes learning more difficult and results in diminished information retaining ability, leaving thoughts “thin and scattered,” according to Eric Schmidt, Chief executive of Google.

In 2008, for the first time in human history, more than half the world’s population lived in cities and towns – and by 2030, two-thirds of human beings will live in urban areas. Less park areas in the city and suburbs in addition to digital screens like TV, computer and smart phones and cultural attitudes towards nature cause Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD), a condition that refers to a wide range of behavioural problems which children experience as a result of spending little time outdoors.

Well-intended parents, motivated by stories they hear on media, are scaring children out of the parks and fields. Our modern cultural attitudes unconsciously associate nature with violence and accidents, and disassociate it from joy and meaningful physical and social activities.

Richard Louv coined the term NDD. He believes that the twenty-first century will be the century for human restoration through the powers of nature. By going to nature and having a nature-balanced existence, we can boost our mental abilities and be more creative, promote health, and build smarter communities and economies. We need to have a balanced existence: the more high-tech our lives become, the more nature we need. Even though a walk in the park is free, we are so caught up in our busy lives that we do not connect with nature long enough.

To have a meaningful relationship with the natural world we need to design new kinds of cities and towns and model participating in outdoor activities to our children.


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