In this day and age, there seems to be so much negativity surrounding teens and their use of technology. Study after study shows the decline in social skills and face-to-face interactions of today’s generation of teenagers. But, is their technology-driven communication really that bad for them?
The positive aspects of technology
New research points out that though teens might have fewer friends than previous generations, they show a decreased in feelings of loneliness. Though social media use for adults have been correlated to feelings of disconnect and dissatisfaction, teens seem to experience the opposite.
Research published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin was a collaboration from two Australian universities, Griffith University and the University of Queensland. Both high school and college students were examined to assess social environment, friendships, levels of social support and correlating feelings.
“The research suggests that while teenagers might have fewer friends these days, they feel more secure in their friendships and experience less desire to form new ones.”
David Clark, lead researcher, attributed the decrease in feelings of loneliness with a technology-driven change in the way people interact. With a cultural shift toward emphasizing personal success, autonomy from family and embracing individuality, independence and self-sufficiency is become the norm. Thus, teens who have grown up in this changing culture have developed a greater satisfaction with a smaller social network.
Wilderness therapy programs
Though some teens are adapting to the change in social structures, we see many teenagers that struggle to develop the confidence and social skills necessary to feel fulfilled and not isolated. Wilderness therapy programs can help kids struggling to develop individually and socially.
Instead of being isolated in a traditional one-on-one therapy sessions, teens are able to interact during wilderness therapy programs. Through daily activities, meals and group therapy sessions, students are able to build social skills in a supportive, controlled environment. Peers can encourage each other to try new activities, provide support during personal challenges and even offer advice from personal experiences.
Many teens that participate in wilderness therapy programs feel isolated and alone in their struggles. Being able to identify with others who have experienced similar emotional or social problems provides proof that they are not alone in what they are going through.
The numerous opportunities teens have during wilderness therapy programs to overcome obstacles and try new activities provides the perfect opportunity for self-development. Being able to build a fire by yourself or tackle a steep accent to the top of a mountain can provide a sense of accomplishment found no where else.