Nature and Cyberbullying

My problem and this particularly area of solutions, on first glance, don’t go together at all. How can nature stop kids from being terrible to each other when they’re on the Internet? What can we really do, by showing them a couple of trees?

Those were my first thoughts about this assignment. But then I thought back to the Urban Ecology Center, and I remembered how exciting the atmosphere seemed to become when the subject of how high school students would use the center as a place all their own came up. They would become protective of it. They’d respect it, and make sure that others would do the same.

Isn’t that what we want kids to be doing for each other? This got me thinking that if we have a place that can build so much community among its young people, then maybe the whole nature thing can be a really beneficial avenue for taking on cyberbullying. Not only would being out in nature get people off their phones and computers for a while, but it would also provide an opportunity to bring people together, to foster the kind of friendships we want kids to be creating. Encouraging people to come out with groups of friends and just enjoy the atmosphere and the refuge it can provide — that could be a real way to change at least some of the way kids treat each other online.

We can get people away from the sometimes-toxic Internet, and outside into nature. It won’t solve the problem completely, but it’s definitely a start.