Yesterday, there was an article in the New York Times Style Section about the benefits of disconnecting from electronics entitled “Hey Kids, Look At Me When We’re Talking” by Bruce Feiler.
In particular, it highlighted the positive impact of unplugging at overnight camp. Here is the key paragraph:
“In 2012, Dr. Greenfield and her colleague Yalda T. Uhls performed a study of their own. They invited 51 preteens to spend five days at an overnight camp without television, computers or mobile phones. These students were compared to a control group that retained usual media practices. All participants took before and after tests that required them to infer emotional states from photographs and videos. After five days without screens, the children at the camp were significantly better at reading nonverbal emotional cues.”
Last week we heard from one of our campers’ parents, who wrote:
“Last night I drove 3 9th graders into NYC for a concert. As the driver, I remained silent and there was an interesting conversation going on between the 3 girls. Two were from camp… and the 3rd, [was] a non camp kid.”
The camp girls were extolling the virtues of unplugging at camp. They said that it wasn’t easy, but they appreciated not feeling the pressure to stay on top of social media during that time. After the first few days, they really enjoyed the separation. Late night chats with friends without everyone being distracted by their screens are really unique in this day and age. There is great importance in authentic face-to-face communication and that is all you find at camp.
Just 2 days ago, another camp parent sent us a picture of a t-shirt that said “There is no WIFI at camp, but the Connection is Awesome!”