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Recently a friend of mine shared an article with me warning about the dangers of exposure to handheld devices for children. The article immediately made me think of camp. We are currently drafting a new camp brochure and have been challenged (yet again) to think about what sets us apart in the wide world of camping, particularly in our geographical area. I won’t link to the article because further inspection showed that it was being a bit overly alarmist about all electronics use, however, upon further research, it IS true that many studies by the American Academy of Pediatrics are tying too much and/or unsupervised screen time to poor sleep habits, obesity, psychological difficulties, behavioral and social issues.

When we think about what sets us apart, we keep coming back to this concept of “an escape from electronics”. As the world becomes more electronics-dependent, it is a struggle to stick to this part of our mission. It’s hard to tell a staff member who is a parent that they can’t have their cell phone with them while at camp – as camp leaders, we ourselves want to be immediately accessible to our children. However, this is one policy that I will defend with passion every time it’s challenged.

Sewataro gives campers (and staff) a place where screen time isn’t an option. At home, the temptation is always there and trying to limit time spent watching TV, playing video games and using handheld devices is a constant battle. The temptation is non-existent at camp, allowing us all to fully immerse ourselves in activities that promote healthy sleep habits, healthy bodies and healthy minds. From personal experience, I also feel a certain freedom when forced to let go of electronics – I wasn’t aware that it was bothering me, but once it’s gone, I feel better.

I believe strongly in the importance of technology, but there is a time and place for it. Sunny summer days are for playing outdoors, making friends and trying new adventures. I, for one, can’t wait to escape at camp!