Feeling connected after experiencing digital nature: A survey study.
van Houwelingen-Snippe, J., van Rompay, T. J., & Ben Allouch, S. (2020). Feeling connected after experiencing digital nature: A survey study. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(18), 6879. Full article
Digital nature can provide a substitute for real nature for those who have limited access to green space, or are confined to their homes, for example during the worldwide COVID-19 lockdown. In a large-scale online survey, respondents (N = 1203) watched videos of digital nature, varying in terms of type of nature (wild versus tended nature) and spaciousness. Results show a significant increase of feelings of connectedness to the community after watching digital nature. Furthermore, tended nature scenes elicited more social aspirations than wild nature scenes. A multiple regression model further shows that living further away from nature was a significant predictor for loneliness scores, while number of nature interactions during a week was not. Results of this study confirm the importance of nature interaction for mental and social wellbeing for the general population and stress the potential of digital nature as a complementary strategy. These findings are of particular relevance to those who lack access to nature due to old age and related mobility constraints or a lockdown.