© Marcel De Grijs | Dreamstime.com
We’re finding many summer camps have strict electronics policies. Is this the norm?
Finding a camp where kids can enjoy outdoor adventure and experience new social connections is a great idea; however, don’t assume the week will be entirely unplugged. Many of today’s camp programs recognize the role technology can play to enhance the camp experience, help transition campers, and offer common ground where kids can begin to connect.
While many camps enforce an electronics policy, rules vary. Find out whether these electronic devices are welcomed or unwanted at the camp your child chooses this summer.
Most overnight camps prohibit cell phones. If your camper keeps his music on an iPhone, load music on an alternative device for the week and leave the phone at home. Day camps vary, ask your camp director what the expectations are.
Most camps will allow campers to bring an iPod or MP3 player with them in order to listen to music. Camps have found this to be comforting, relaxing for campers and a conduit for conversation.
This one runs about half and half with camps. While some camps prohibit any handheld gaming devices, others allow them though with time restrictions. Check your camp’s policy and review it with your child before sending a handheld game.
Some camps will allow kids to bring e-readers to use during down time. eReaders with Wi-Fi access will most likely not be accessible, so kids should make sure they have the reading material they want downloaded before they head off for camp.
Traditional outdoor residential camps generally prohibit the use of laptops and do not allow students access to Wi-Fi. Others, like tech or academic prep camps, often encourage campers to bring a laptop. In these cases, make sure to install locator and locking software on the device and record any model or manufacturer’s identification numbers for your records.
Regardless of which devices your camper is allowed to pack, you’ll want to consider the chance your child’s electronic device will get stolen, damaged, or misused. Keeping track of an expensive gaming device or worrying about having an eReader get stepped on can lead to extra anxiety for the camper (or at the very least, the camper’s mom). If this is your child’s first sleep-away experience, he’ll already be busy learning his new responsibilities away from home, like keeping up with clothing and shoes, so why add to the list?
Camp offers many opportunities for kids to learn new skills, practice their independence, and explore unknown terrain. Talk briefly to your child about camp rules, along with the opportunities he’ll have to learn lots of new stuff. Focus on what your child will get out of the camp experience as opposed to what campers will be forbidden to do or bring.