According to a recent article on Fox.com, teen anxiety from social and digital media is a growing concern as kids connect more and more through virtual portals. The article refers to two separate studies indicating that “social media can actually make you feel bad about yourself.” One study from the University of Michigan cites a correlation between the amount of time people spend on Facebook with how negative they feel about their lives.” Much of this has to do with a sense of “FOMO” – Fear of Missing Out. In viewing the highlight reels of their peers’ lives, kids get the sense that they are missing out on the good life. Summer camp aims to place kids in the middle of the highlight reel while simultaneously removing the resources and motivation for unnecessary judgment and comparison.
Summer camp can replace FOMO with SDITMA
At summer camp, Likes and followers of social media are replaced with the audible laughter and the warm camaraderie of scary stories around a late-night campfire. As kids ditch their phones and their iPads and head for the lake, their Fear of Missing Out is replaced by the chance to be “Smack Dab in the Middle of the Adventure”. They unplug from a virtual social life and remember how to actually live in the moment.
Adventure Camps can get you outside and away from the screen
The article suggests that this issue is simply typical social anxiety playing out in the most current model of communications. However, perhaps this is not only an issue of social and peer pressure, but more so indicative society’s transition from nature to the screen. Whether your kids take part in a day camp or an overnight camp, an arts camp or a wilderness camp, they will finally have the chance to get up from their student desks, get away from the electronics to which they are perpetually glued, and reconnect with their peers and their environment in personal, deeply engaging ways. In fact, some camp programs are going as far as actually banning the use of social media, allowing phones only as a means of emergency communication.
Creatively approaching social and digital media through visual arts or computer camp
On the contrary, rather than rejecting social media altogether during summer camp, maybe summer programs (like those referenced in the article) can help kids get a better understanding of it. By attending a computer science or graphics camp, kids can manage media creatively rather than being sucked into the vortex. Opportunities to attend camps like these anywhere in the country can be explored on CampPage.
Image courtesy of Rosen Georgiev at FreeDigitalPhotos.net