Children unplugging from mobile devices can lessen anxietyOctober 7, 2015
The other day Scott forwarded me an article about a group of teenagers in London who intentionally unplugged from the world of mobile phones and apps for a week. The results were incredibly telling.
“It’s cheered me up for some reason, I don’t know why,” one boy explained in the video. “I feel different. I can concentrate more.”…Some students did report that being disconnected for a while made them feel more relaxed, and “strangely happy,” as one boy put it.
Here at our little summer camp in New Hampshire we’re big fans of technology. Our community has an active presence on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, and during the summer we post daily photos so that our camp parents can see what a great time their children are having. I embrace the online world so much that each day of the summer I write a detailed blog about life at our overnight camp. But as parents and child develpment professionals we also know that there are downsides to technology, especially when it comes to the brain development of young people. This one sentence from Berdik’s article sums up a major downside of our online world incredibly well:
All that online chatting and posting was making the girls extremely self-conscious and deeply vulnerable to snide remarks that are so easily made and amplified in the digital realm.
When we speak with our campers and staff so many of them say that they love how easily they are able to be in touch with their friends and the rest of the world, but how easy it is to hurt someone’s feelings, feel alientated from peers, or get too wrapped up in trivial aspects of life. It also becomes a reflex to check your text and social media portals so often that you can tune out the real world around you.
For these reasons, many years ago we asked our campers to unplug for the summer. No ipads, no PSPs, no cell phones, no accessing the internet. This past year we asked campers to only bring mp3 players without the ability to display photos, videos, or use apps. And just like the students in this article, our campers have found that their summers unplugged are, well, glorious.
During downtime no one defaults to clicking around on Youtube or leveling up on Candy Crush. Instead, they play ping pong or wiffle ball, make friendship bracelets, or just sit with friends and gab. At mealtimes no one is answering their texts, so they look each other in the eye and have real conversations. There are no ambiguous Instagram posts that leave people wondering if it was meant as sarcasm, or if their friends have suddenly turned on them.
As child development professionals we’ve also done our research on why children need time away from their electronic devices. Take a look at this ebook we put together on the subject. We hope you find it thought provoking, and understand why we are so proud to be an overnight camp that insists on our children having summers unplugged. It not only helps them fully experience the world around them, it makes them happier.Download Our Ebook On
The Developmental Importance Of
Unplugging Our Children