If there was ever a year with an abundance of screen time, it 2020 into 2021, the year of the COVID-19 global pandemic. From sheltering in place to social distancing, virtual school to the usual game/TV time, in many homes, screen time became the norm. Even before the pandemic, statistics showed children aged eight to 10 spent approximately got nearly eight hours a day of screen time. Older children, averaged more, nearly eleven hours on media, every day of the week. In the digital age, there are a number of concerns for America’s children, from obesity to anxiety, and more, as a result of so much screen time.
In today’s world, kids seem to never unplug, responding to texts (Snaps and DMs), taking selfies incessantly, posting updates on social media, playing video games, watching YouTube videos, following peers and celebs obsessively on Instagram. Living the digital lifestyle means a rise in anxiety and depression for children and teenagers leaving parents and guardians (who may be struggling to unplug themselves) wondering how to combat devices and digital media from overwhelming the family. For children and teens, the added pressure to “keep up” and craft the “perfect” post increases the attraction to devices and thus media. Adults can relate, as remote working environments and digital living, make it challenging to disconnect and enjoy life away from the screens.
Nature Deficit Disorder
Nature Deficit Disorder describes the trend of humans (particularly children) to spend less time outdoors than previous generations and the behavioral problems which come as a result. Scientists agree, today’s sedentary, screen-filled lifestyle can lead not only to physical health issues (obesity) but mental health (anxiety, depression, shorter attention spans) issues as well.
Heading outside into nature with your kids can help. Going for a walk, a bike ride, or heading to the local park for a game of tag, can be the first step toward helping parents and kids avoid screen time overload. Other ways to get active outside include planting a garden, playing sports, hiking, swimming, basically whatever you and your family enjoy. Don’t be afraid to try new activities together and make memories! Summer camp is another great options for kids – let’s explore how it can help with screen time overload.
Summer Camp – Help for Screen Time Overload
Obviously, summer camp isn’t a standalone solution to screen time overload, but when used in conjunction with the ideas above can help kids realign with nature, breath in the fresh air, and connect with peers face to face (aka make new friends). Summer camp is a great way to help kids relax and enjoy themselves without the digital pressures that accompany screen time overload. Here’s how!
Allowing your kids to unplug at summer camp is much like a cleanse. Kids can disconnect from the screen as they are entertained and engaged, having fun all the while! An added bonus is that because everyone is unplugged at camp, it is easier to do. The new unplugged perspective allows teens and children to enjoy outdoor fun while they develop new friendships which, in turn, often leads to less screen time by choice when camp is over.
Camp also helps kids not only reconnect with nature, but also develop a new appreciation of nature and the great outdoors, as well as activities they have been missing as a result of increased screen time. From scanning the night sky for meteors to close encounters with nature, playing games to discovering new activities, camp affords great opportunities to fall in love with nature and all the great outdoors has to offer!
Camp also offers excellent opportunities for the development of social skills. Kids meet face-to-face, learn to interact in person, share stories, resolve conflicts, and most importantly build their own self-confidence. With newfound confidence and enhanced social skills, after camp children and teens will likely pursue more genuine face-to-face friendships!
Camp Live Oak is ready to deliver the camp experience this summer, helping kids make memories, meet new friends, explore nature, and enjoy new activities, unplugged from their screens.