One of the things we love the most about Vega is its screen-free environment. Ask any of our campers or staff members (or parents!) about what makes camp special and they will tell you: it’s all about the people. The connections made at Vega are honest, genuine and face-to-face, which in today’s society can be rare and hard to find.
As our relationship with mobile devices has grown, the research and evidence about its use is consistent: excessive media use is not good for us physically, mentally or emotionally, especially for kids’ developing brains. Smart phones and social media bring a slew of entertainment, education, convenience and more, but the risks of smart phones and social media are well documented. Even the people who helped develop this technology are wary of its use with their own kids.
Our Senior, Super Senior and Tamary campers often discuss Vega’s screen-free policy and the effects of social media during our weekly Senior Assembly. Hearing them speak about how rewarding it can be to ‘switch off’ from the digital world really reinforces to us why having a screen-free summer is best. They often share how they believe that camp relationships are stronger in part because of the absence of phones and screens.
- It gives our brains a break.
We all need a break from the blue lit screens and the images being shown all day via social media. Stepping away from electronics has so many benefits, and among them is better sleep. The blue light of the screen delays us from falling asleep, meaning less sleep and feeling tired the next day. Instead, Vega campers spend their downtime in more relaxing ways. At night, instead of homework, texting or scrolling though Instagram, campers read books, listen to counselors read stories, or just lay their heads down after a fun day filled with activity.
- It helps children reset priorities, form connections, and develop 21st century skills.
Real face-to-face relationships are far more significant than screen games and relationship shaped by social media. Time off allows campers to focus on the people in their lives and their surroundings while at camp. The connections and relationships they build while at camp will be some of the strongest they will have in their lifetime. In addition, campers learn how to communicate, collaborate, lead, and be flexible through living with others, working together, and learning to solving conflict in caring and productive ways.
- It provides children time to explore other interests.
No electronics allows our campers to do what all children should do – explore, daydream, move, learn and practice skills, and play in both structured and unstructured ways. Gaming and social media lowers kids’ motivation for other worthwhile pursuits. A summer away from this brings out the best in our campers and opens them up to interests they didn’t even know they had.
- It helps children rediscover what real play is.
Appreciating nature and getting the benefits of fresh air and exercise is something that’s significantly compromised when kids are staring at a screen. Physical activity is beneficial for kids’ mental, emotional, and physical health. Even as babies, we do our best learning while playing so stepping away from the screen and into the great outdoors is so important.
Going screen free is one of the best parts of camp. Watching our campers develop new skills, demonstrate so beautifully the Vega Values, play outside, and create genuine relationships, all without smart phones or social media, is one of the many reasons why a summer at Vega is extraordinary.