Disconnect While at Camp – From your California Summer Camp

January 15, 2016

We´ve all seen it- people so intensely attached to their phone or tablet that they seem only loosely aware of reality.  The constant buzzing, vibrating and ding of notifications, emails, or texts is a daily distraction to us all. And children are as much a part of this world full of incessant screens, updates, and tweets as we are.  According to recent studies by Common Sense Media, kids between the ages of eight and twelve spend an average of almost six hours plugged into various types of media and electronic devices a day.  Even more alarming, teenagers are reported to spend an average of about nine hours using technology each day.  That means that most teenagers are spending more than a third of their day devoted to their phones, computers, televisions, and other sources of media.

All this screen time has made children and teens more capable of using and understanding technology than ever, but this comes at a cost.  The time children spend on their phones and computers is time that kids aren’t engaging in face-to-face conversations or enjoying the company of their friends.  The time children spend playing video games or watching television is time that kids aren’t exploring the outdoors or finding outlets to express their creativity.  The time kids spend using Instagram and Snapchat is time that children aren’t developing interpersonal skills and discovering their sense of self.

In a world so connected by its various trendy new websites and apps, it has become increasingly difficult to take a step back from it all and remember a world without your iPhone in your pocket and the constant urge to check your Facebook account. For the younger generation, most of whom have never lived in a world without constant updates at their fingertips, a need to get away from the constant hustle of the world of Twitter and news updates is even more important.

Children and parents alike are turning to camps more and more as a way to unplug and get in touch with a simpler way of life.  Summer camps across the country have become internet-free retreats in which kids are allowed time to be themselves and to take back their childhoods.

At camp, your identity isn’t based on how many followers you have or how many likes you get; at camp your identity is based on the authentic characteristics that make you uniquely you.  Social hierarchies that are built on internet friends crumble at camp, mandating that campers actually get to know each other- without the buffer of a screen.  When kids are asked to disconnect from their normal way of life, their greatest connections and friendships can be formed.  We often hear that camp friends are the best friends, and perhaps this has to do with the authenticity that goes into making friends without relying on social media as a middle man.

Another great benefit of a technology-free camp experience is the chance for self-discovery.  In our day to day lives, we are so inundated with the latest celebrity gossip and cat videos on YouTube that we rarely get the chance to take a step back and think about who we really are.  For kids and especially teenagers, who are constantly piecing together their own identity that they will carry with them for life, there is a great need for time away from the buzz of the media to figure themselves out.  Creating an identity takes acceptance of who you are and who you hope to become.  Camp offers a safe and supportive environment in which teens can develop their sense of self away from the pressure of their fast paced normal lives.

As a top rated California Summer Camp, we offer their campers opportunities for exploration that is not possible through a computer search.  Arts, sports, music, drama, and thousands of other activities allow participants to develop healthy outlets for coping with the stresses of growing up in a highly connected world.  Camp environments give children the opportunity to challenge themselves and take healthy risks, while often learning to enjoy the beauty of nature.  The experiences and skills acquired through a summer camp experience are not replicable; the lessons learned at camp are unable to be taught by a computer or television program. As Michael Thompson, PhD., renowned child psychologist and author of Homesick and Happy: How Time Away from Parents Can Help a Child Grow, writes, “Camp helps build confidence and identity; it also builds leadership skills.”

While camps have traditionally been offered to only children and teens, many camps and camp-style programs are emerging that provide adults the opportunity to disconnect while enjoying the thrill of the summer camp experience.  Organizations like Camp Grounded give adults the opportunity to engage in authentic relationships with others, find themselves, and take part in activities that aim to reconnect them with nature, just as most camps geared towards children do.

The distractions of life in the ¨real world¨ are endless, and if we don’t take the time to step away from these distractions they can consume us.  Kids and adults alike need and deserve a chance to unplug and slow down.  Summer camps offer opportunities that allow campers to disconnect and grow as individuals, as well as find great enjoyment.
To find out more about how California Summer Camps can help kids disconnect, contact Canyon Creek Summer Camp today.