Teens are much less connected to the outdoor, natural world than ever before. The connection with nature has been replaced by technology, less outdoor free play, and growing urbanization. While teens can connect to peers across the globe via Facebook or You Tube, most of their days are spent indoors on some type of hand held device. Unstructured play outdoors, or the simple gathering of friends is less likely to occur as more parents worry about stranger danger and the vulnerability of their children in an unsupervised environment.
A recent StageofLife.com Teens and Nature Student Trend Report based on data collected from over 4,400 teens and college students indicates that 88% of teens feel their generation is disconnected from nature. 73.3% of teens went outside more as an elementary student than now, as a high school student, 69.4% of teens would rather listen to their favorite songs on an iPod (or other music device) than the sounds of nature and 30.1% of teens spend less than 3 hours per week outdoors during the school year (whether that's for work, sports, or a hobby).
With obesity and the growing rate of type 2 diabetes in children and teens, spending time in nature can help teens be healthier both physically and psychologically by helping to reduce their levels of stress. People are more likely to engage in physical activity outdoors than indoors.
As concern grows about the environment on both local and global levels, teens who don’t spend time and value the natural environment are more likely to continue the exploitation and destruction of nature.