Technology has made our lives instant. We can text each other in a second, send emails across the world in a minute and even order dinner in a snap — without ever having to have a real conversation with anyone.
Our kids are not immune to the technology takeover. In fact, according to a 2106-2017 study conducted by Stats Canada, children and youth aged 5 to 17 had, on average, three hours of screen time per day — about 1.5 hours spent watching TV or movies, 1.75 hours spent on the computer and 0.75 hours spent playing video games. Boys (1 hour) spent slightly more time playing video games than girls (0.25 hours) while girls (2 hours) spent slightly more time on the computer than boys (1.5 hours).
We’ve all seen our kids spend their downtime on their tablets or smartphones, playing games, watching movies or actively posting, liking and sharing photos on Instagram. Social media is technology’s biggest irony because, as some will argue, it’s making us less social than ever. Not only that, studies are showing that frequent use of social media, including Facebook and Instagram, can also cause depression.
That’s why sending your child away to camp offers a digital detox that’ll be good for their mind, body and soul. Here’s how some time away from tech can help benefit your child, especially at camp.
It puts them in the moment. Muskoka Woods is a place where Children can shape their world. By building meaningful relationships and being present with each other, guests at Muskoka Woods grow in confidence and experience a world outside of what they typically experience at home. Technology is great and makes connection across distance a reality where in a time before computers and devices it just wasn’t possible. And there’s a time for technology, a time for real-time relationship and a time for both to be present. Muskoka Woods tries to strike a balance by making it easy for guests to put down their technology for part of the day but also have access to it. You can read about it in our FAQ.
It helps them sleep better. The blue light emitted from screens can reduce melatonin levels and disrupt our body’s clock, making it harder to fall asleep. Late nights on social media or texting on their cellphones can leave kids feeling sleep-deprived and groggy the next morning. Instead, after a day of play in the fresh air, let them unwind with a book. They’ll fall asleep faster, improve their literacy and be ready to tackle the day come morning.
It encourages better relationships. Take away smartphones and kids are forced to — gasp! — actually TALK to one another. Our kids may be connected with each other all day using their phones and their headsets, but that doesn’t mean they are actually connecting. Having face-to-face conversations will improve relationships as it enables them to fully engage with one another.
It encourages imagination and play. There’s no better opportunity to get fresh air and be active than camp. Too many kids are turning to their devices for immediate entertainment or to soak up information. Switching off the phone and tuning into their surroundings can help kids thrive IRL. It can also help them discover a whole new activity they never thought they would try — or like!
Rachel is the publisher of inBetween magazine geared towards parents of teens and young adults. Mom to her 12-year-old son, her more than 20 years of experience in journalism have been spent researching and writing about issues closest to families. Rachel, a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, she now lives with her husband and their son in Toronto.