Summer camp is filled with so many wonderful experiences.  It’s a place to make lifelong friends, take on new challenges, build self-confidence, gain independence, and have a whole lot of fun.  Fun and experiences that all take place while “unplugged” from technology.  Yes, it’s true…we are unplugged at camp!  What seems impossible during the rest of the year, is not only possible at camp but is a welcome change.  We put the gadgets away, have face to face interactions and experience life with no screen time distractions.  Screen time is replaced with time spent talking, laughing, sharing, and building memories with our camp friends.  There is something completely amazing about spending time face to face.

In an age of mobile devices, and easy access to being plugged in 24/7, it’s difficult to recreate the unplugged environment at camp.  But how nice would it be if we could have even brief moments of unplugged time during the rest of the year?  Technology has many wonderful benefits, but our attachment to it creates a lot of distraction.  How many times a day are we interrupted from work we are doing, a person we are talking to, or an activity we are enjoying, because the phone rings, or a text or email comes in?  How many times a day do we encounter someone distracted by their gadgets, or lose the attention of family members lost in Facebook posts, YouTube, video games, or group chats?  It’s the new reality we have learned to accept, but maybe something we can improve upon.

The upcoming holidays are the perfect time to power down and spend real time with family and friends.  Use the holiday season and time off from work, school, and busy schedules to relax and reconnect to what matters most…building memories with family and friends.  Take the pressure off to be constantly connected to social media, emails and texts, and put the phones down.  Turn off the Xbox, ipads and TV’s, and spend time together.

Studies show that all the time spent on technology is negatively affecting our health, wellbeing, sleep, and relationships.  Researchers recently discovered that one in three people felt worse after visiting Facebook and more dissatisfied with their lives.  David Greenfield Ph.D., founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, reports that “always feeling compelled to check our calls, texts, social media alerts, email and more, keeps adrenals constantly activated and cortisol levels elevated”.  Dr. Greenfield believes that the problem of technology addiction is significant and becoming mainstream.

You may not be able to put the gadgets down most of the time, but accomplishing even a brief moment of unplugged time will be a wonderful break from the constant noise and distraction we have accepted as the new norm of our times. Life’s most fulfilling relationships are those we spend together.