Kids & Technology

The world has changed so much in the last 30 years.  Technology has brought us to a new place where we have endless information at our fingertips all day, every day.  Social media keeps us connected, and in the know of news happening in our neighborhoods and around the globe.  Gone are the days of having to reach out on the home phone to catch up with friends or put on the television to get the latest news.  Kids today don’t need to meet up with friends to socialize, they can go on snapchat, Instagram, or twitter to connect. They can play video games with friends through a headset, without anybody ever leaving their couch.

The convenience and immediacy of technology is quite remarkable, but it’s constant use is also leaving us to have less authentic relationships and experiences.  Having hundreds of friends on Facebook and getting tons of “likes” on our posts may not be giving us the security and happiness we thought it would.  What seems like a great way for kids to connect and feel a part of something, often leaves them feeling lonely, isolated, depressed and anxious.  Overuse of technology is robbing young people of authentic connections and development of their self-esteem.  Kids are not challenging themselves with real life situations and therefore not feeling the sense of accomplishment that is felt when you step outside of your comfort zone and take on new challenges.

I think of years ago when we didn’t have the technology we do today.  We met our friends outside for a game of kickball or to hang out at the park.  We rode our bikes to each other’s houses, we played board games, and even watched television when we wanted some downtime.  The biggest complaint our parents had was to not sit too close to the TV in case it damaged our eyesight.  When we ate dinner we talked, there were no cell phones to distract us.  We went to the library when we had a book report due and did our research by combing through books.  We had to wait for information and learned to be patient.  We learned life skills naturally.

But here is where the “good old days” comes in… summer camp continues to give our kids what we had 30 years ago. Changes in camp life may be present in the facilities and program activities from years ago, but the traditions and philosophy are the same.  Camp is about friendship, building independence, taking on new challenges, finding your voice, using your imagination, and developing life skills.  Campers have the opportunity to interact face-to-face, share their thoughts, resolve conflicts and learn to work together, just like they did so long ago.  Parents today wonder how their kids will ever be able to unplug, but campers appreciate the break from constantly checking their smartphones, scanning social media sites and responding to group chats.  Camp takes the pressure off and lets kids be kids.  Without the pressure of constant technology, kids can focus on friendships, building independence, and achieving goals, like their parents did so many years ago. Camp life is about the people, building memories, and finally understanding what parents are talking about when they describe their days growing up without technology.