mobile/cell phones on school or summer camps

that sixth graders who spent just five days at a tech-free sleepaway camp developed greater understanding of real-world interpersonal communication cues, including a better ability to read facial expressions, make eye contact, and interpret tone of voice and other prompts, such as posture and keeping an appropriate spatial distance with others.

A recent study on children wanting to take cell phones to summer camp as quoted in the New York Times made this statement.

A surprise?

Not really – most people would this is just common sense. If this is just common sense then why is it a hassle to “ban” the cell phones from camps?

Putting down the phone can be at least as hard for the parents, who are often anxious about separating from their children and are used to constant check-ins, whether they are in the next state or the next room. We may complain that our children are always on the phone but “the reality is that we want that instant access to our children,” Dr. Uhls said.

Ah Ha! It’s about parent anxiety now just as much as it’s about habit with youngsters. Well what’s the effect of this?

With this constant communication, children seek their parents’ guidance and emotional support even when they are not together, leaving fewer opportunities to develop their own confidence and internal compass for decision-making. Wendy Mogel, a clinical psychologist and the author of the parenting book “The Blessing of a Skinned Knee,” tells the story of a college student at a salad bar who texted her mother to ask if she liked ranch dressing, rather than testing it herself. Such dependent relationships can rob children of the chance to trust and believe in someone else besides their parents. Creating bonds with others is one of the most important benefits of camp, and it is more likely to happen without the electronic connection to home.

Well if you thought this was just in America ….. your wrong……. it’s an issue in Australian school camps as well. Last year I did a hands up survey with year 6 students on who owned a mobile phone (72%). Allowing for some peer pressure here its still a high percentage. When I asked who was thinking about taking a mobile phone to camp the numbers went up to about 85%. Again even allowing for peer pressure and taking one’s older siblings or parents phone the numbers seemed a little extreme.

And it’s not just year 6 students but even year 3 students attending their first overnight camp.

Then there’s the peer pressure to photos to post on social media (not I’m not kidding) and some photos transgressed privacy (yikes).

The answer was simply enough NO PHONES ON CAMP. We will supply the digital cameras and download images to the school servers for educational reasons and yes post to parents from camp some photos and a sentence or two on our school messaging system.

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