Go touch grass

There is a growing epidemic of ‘chronically online’ people — those who spend the majority of their time in online spaces and therefore develop their personalities to value internet culture.

According to the National Library of Medicine, there is a correlation between using social media and an increase in mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, which are often linked to cyberbullying and content seen online. 

A remedy to being chronically online is going outside. Vitamin D, which is primarily absorbed from the sun, is a necessary vitamin for physical and mental health. 

The National Library of Medicine explains the regions of the brain associated with depression and anxiety intersect with regions dedicated to vitamin D metabolism. This creates a correlation between the levels of vitamin D within the body and symptoms of mental illnesses.

The term ‘touch grass’ has been used in online spaces as a response to those who are chronically online, suggesting they disconnect from the internet and reconnect with nature. 

The suggestion also includes talking with people face to face and getting sunlight. 

Nickelodeon hosts an event dedicated to touching grass called Worldwide Day of Play. The channel and other Paramount-owned channels do not air shows for three hours to encourage children and parents to turn the TV off.

The event began in 2004 but took a break from 2019 to 2023. The hiatus, while because of the pandemic, could be considered detrimental as this period of time saw an increase of ‘iPad kids.’

These ‘iPad kids’ are children raised to have devices in their hands at all times, conditioning them to become chronically online from a young age.

In a 2022 report from the National Library of Medicine, 20% of people ages 3-17 in the U.S. have an emotional, mental, developmental or behavioral disorder. These numbers have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states participating in at least 60 minutes of physical activity everyday can help manage symptoms of depression. 

Going outside and getting sun is crucial to overall health. An article by UC Davis Health detailed the benefits of going outside, stating “regular access to green spaces has been linked to lower risks of depression and improved concentration and attention.”

Additionally, being in nature leads to better sleep, which can improve depression symptoms. UC Davis Health explains daily exposure to sunlight helps regulate one’s circadian rhythm.

So, this is your reminder to go outside, become one with nature, get some vitamin D from the sun and go touch some grass.

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