Dr. Michael Thompson, consulting child psychologist at our brother/sister summer camp in New Hampshire, recently shared this excellent piece in the New York Times titled "Seven Ways Parents Can Help 13-Year-Olds Start Their Social Media Lives Right". This information is incredibly important, since, according to the Pew Research Center, 57% of 13- and 14-year olds use Facebook, 44% use Instagram, and 21% use Twitter. As even the most savvy adult has learned, successfully and safely navigating this world of social media isn't always easy. Far too many young people fail to grasp just how vulnerable they can make themselves on these platforms, or how truly permanent their photos, videos and postings are in this virtual world. It's just one of the reasons why our camp community requires our campers to spend 7 weeks of their summers unplugged from the internet.
Our summer camp in New Hampshire prides itself on giving our campers "summers unplugged". We ask them to spend 7 weeks of glorious life without their laptops, ipads, cell phones, or even ipods. No Facebook, no email, nu Netflix, no Snapchat. The research is pretty clear that developing brains need extended time away from electronic communication devices. Anecdotally we see every summer how a vacation from mobile devices leads to kinder, more empathic campers who create deeper, more meaningful friendships.