Breaking Free from Technology Addiction: How Trails Carolina Helps Kids Reconnect with Nature as a Form of Technology Addiction Treatment

In an increasingly digital modern world, technology use has become integral to our daily lives. While technology offers numerous benefits and conveniences, the overuse and dependency on smart phones and other digital devices can lead to various negative consequences, including technology addictions, compulsive internet use, and video game obsession.

Young people, in particular, are susceptible to the allure of screens, social media, video games, and other online activities, often resulting in diminished social skills, academic performance, and overall well-being. 

Recognizing this alarming trend, Trails Carolina has emerged as a transformative solution to internet addiction in teens, helping them break free from obsessive technology use and reconnect with nature.

This blog post will explore how Trails provides a unique and practical approach to overcoming technology addiction and excessive use.

Understanding Technology and Internet Addiction in Teens

technology addiction

Technology addiction, also known as internet addiction disorder, digital addiction, or pathological internet use, refers to the excessive and compulsive use of technology, leading to negative consequences in various aspects of life.

It can manifest as an impulse control disorder or behavioral addiction to social media, video games, online gambling, online shopping, excessive video watching, or constant internet browsing.

Technology addiction may develop from other preexisting mental health disorders, and its effects can further exacerbate underlying mental health conditions. Technology addiction often results in increased isolation, disrupted sleep patterns, low self-esteem, poor academic performance, the development of another mental health disorder, deteriorating mental health, and strained relationships.

Using a Wilderness-Based Therapeutic Approach to Tackle Teen Tech Addiction

Trails Carolina offers a nature-centered approach to technology addiction treatment that is clinically and empirically proven to address the root causes of technology addiction in kids and teens. Here’s how we do it:

1. Immersion in Nature to Minimize Screen Time

We recognize the healing power of nature and utilize it as an essential element in our therapeutic wilderness model.

Without having a smart phone or mobile device at their fingertips, we invite our students to immerse themselves in a distraction-free environment. The serene and captivating natural setting of our wilderness campus contrasts with the fast-paced, technology-driven world that our students are familiar with, allowing them to slow down, and learn to process their emotions in healthy ways instead of numbing out with screen time.

“Wilderness therapy is an effective intervention for teens who struggle with technology addiction,” comments Jeniveve Rollins, LSCW, Clinical Director at Trails Carolina. “In the woods, teens are completely unplugged. They have no access to social media or video games. Instead, they are given the opportunity to socialize with their peers face to face.”

Spending time in the wilderness helps young people regain balance, fostering a connection with the natural world and a deeper understanding of themselves. The absence of screen media and constant digital distractions allows students to self-reflect, engage with peers in a non-digital real-life setting, and reevaluate their priorities.

2. Therapeutic Outdoor Activities to Improve Mental Health

Our wilderness program involves various therapeutic outdoor activities to help our students develop new skills, build resilience, improve mental and physical health, and foster healthy relationships.

These activities include hiking, backpacking, camping, nature exploration, and team-building exercises. By engaging in these activities, participants rediscover the joy of physical movement and outdoor pursuits while learning valuable lessons in cooperation, problem-solving, and personal growth. These experiences act as a counterbalance to the isolated and sedentary lifestyle often associated with technology addiction.

3. Skill Development and Self-Efficacy

In addition to outdoor activities, Trails Carolina emphasizes developing practical skills that promote self-sufficiency, self-confidence, and personal growth.

Our students learn essential life skills, such as cooking over a campfire, navigating hiking trails, building shelters and pitching tents, and fire-making.

These skills provide a sense of accomplishment and boost self-confidence and self-efficacy. By acquiring these skills, our students gradually reduce their reliance on technology and social media and discover alternative means of fulfillment and self-expression that they can hold on to as they transition home.

4. Holistic Therapeutic Approach to Individualized Treatment

At Trails Carolina, students receive individualized treatment plans and comprehensive therapeutic support from trained wilderness staff, licensed clinicians, and other mental health professionals.

Individual and group therapy sessions allow participants to explore the underlying causes of their technology addiction, which may be related to other mental disorders, so that they can address emotional challenges and develop healthier coping mechanisms with the support of their primary therapist or mental health professional.

5. Community Support System

Our students navigate our program in peer groups segmented by age and gender, which is a major reason why our therapeutic model creates such a supportive community where students can share their experiences, receive encouragement, and learn from one another.

This sense of community plays a vital role in breaking the cycle of isolation often perpetuated by excessive technology use, as well as in helping students gain the interpersonal communication and trust skills that are essential to a healthy social life. 

Break Free from Technology Addition with Trails Carolina

Wilderness therapy may be an excellent option if your teen is struggling with technology overuse. At Trails Carolina, we offer a refreshing and practical approach to combat technology addiction in an age dominated by screen time and notifications.

Through immersion in the healing embrace of nature and providing a range of outdoor therapeutic activities and clinical support, Trails Carolina helps young people between the ages of 10 and 17 who are struggling with emotional and behavioral challenges such as depression, anxiety, defiance, and trauma to reconnect with themselves, develop essential life skills, and rediscover the world beyond the confines of technology.

Give your child the tools they need to lead balanced lives with the holistic and resilient benefits of therapeutic wilderness programs for technology addiction treatment at Trails Carolina.

For more information about Trails Carolina, please call 800-975-7303.

Avatar of Jeremy Whitworth

Jeremy Whitworth

As Executive Director at Trails Carolina, a leading wilderness therapy program for youth and teens, I oversee operations and collaborate with our leadership team. Since 2022, I've also hosted the Common Ground Podcast for parents: With a background in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education, I've managed adventure-based therapeutic programs across the US and Canada. My experiences in competitive athletics and adventure sports have honed my leadership, risk assessment, and decision-making skills, which I apply to running a successful business like Trails Carolina.

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Trails saved my daughter’s life. Amanda is an amazing human and a brilliant therapist. I am so grateful to her, Science Steve, and the other wonderful people who could reach my daughter at a time when I could not.

Margot Lowman August 2022

Great life changing experience for our son. After becoming addicted to gaming during covid he was very depressed. At Trails he experienced the wilderness, Science Steve, learning survival skills and top notch therapy and support etc… I highly recommend! This gave our son and our family a renewed family bond full of love and excitement about his bright future.

Winnifred Wilson July 2022


Outstanding clinical work and superb staff! There’s a great culture at this company and it shows with how they engage with families/clients.

Kristin Brace June 2022


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