It is widely understood that nature engagement benefits human wellbeing. Such benefits have been found for real as well as virtual engagements. However, little is known about the role of nature-based videos in social media on wellbeing. With COVID-19 restrictions limiting people’s direct engagement with natural environments, this study critically examined people’s reactions to nature videos posted on Facebook during the first UK COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. Data consisted of comments on videos containing highlights from the British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) Springwatch 2020 television series, and from a UK television presenter and naturalist’s (Chris Packham) livestream videos, posted on Facebook from March to July, 2020. Looking at the quantitative profile of a range of videos (i.e. views, likes and shares) and a detailed analysis of the 143,265 comments using thematic analysis, three major themes were generated as: (1) engaging with nature via social media is emotionally complicated, (2) cognitive and reflective reactions are generated from social media nature engagement and (3) engagement with nature-based social media as a mechanism for coping with stress during COVID-19. These findings inform understanding of how nature-related social media content and associated commentary have supported wellbeing throughout the ongoing pandemic and their importance as a means of continued support for wellbeing.‘We feel that the injection of wildlife into people’s homes, particularly at this point, would be really valuable and uplifting’.— Chris Packham, 2020



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Publication Title

Frontiers in Psychology





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Organisational Unit

School of Psychology