The new summer camp anxiety: Unplugging Angst

QUESTION OF THE WEEK:  If you were to unplug for a week how do you think that would make you feel?

This summer there are many opportunities for kids to be plugged in, but also many are getting the unique experience of unplugging because they are going to away to camps or in day camps that don't allow devices. There was a study done out of UCLA that shows that children who spend even 5 days without their devices, in tech-free camps, have restoration of the capacity for empathy.

I picked up my daughter after 2 weeks at sleep away camp and she seemed recharged and more present. That said, first thing she did when she got home was check into social media to see what she missed.  One of her biggest anxieties about going away to camp this summer was, to quote her, "FOMO"— fear of missing out.  We talked about this on the way to camp and that seemed to help. During that conversation she divulged that she was worried about loosing her "streaks" ** on Snapchat. She told me that some of her friends even give someone their Snapchat password to maintain the streak while they're unplugged. 

** This is how Snapchat explains a "streak":

"You're on a Snapstreak - meaning you and your friend have Snapped each other (not Chat) within 24 hours for more than one consecutive day. ... To keep up a Snapstreak, both people must send a Snap (not Chat) back and forth to each other within 24 hours. "

Here are some questions to talk about this week for Tech Talk Tuesday:

  • If you were to unplug for a week, how do you think that would make you feel?
  • Are you concerned about missing out on what everyone is doing? If so, specifically, what do you think you will miss?
  • If your child is going to day camp where they can't be plugged in or if they've already gone to camp, ask what did it feel like to be disconnected for the day or the week, or the month.
  • If your child is not going to camp talk about fun, creative things they can do that are not online. Maybe you can come up with a list ahead of time to help out if they need ideas.