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Why Cell Phones Don't Belong At Camp

By paulabernstein |

Get Off the Phone!

As a camper and later as a counselor, I spent more than 10 summers at sleep away camp growing up. Of course, back then we didn’t have cell phones, so there was no question that I couldn’t bring one to camp. Now, my daughter is about to begin her third summer at sleep away camp and there’s no question that she will not be bringing a cell phone.

For one thing, she doesn’t have a cell phone! But, even if she did, I’d make sure she left it at home (she recently bought herself an iPod Touch and she will be leaving that home). Camp is a time for being outside with friends, not for looking at a screen or playing with electronic devices.

It seems that the same parents who complain that their kids spend too much time in front of a screen are the ones who complain that they can’t reach their kids without a cell phone at camp. In the age of so-called helicopter parenting, we need to trust that our kids will be okay without check-ins from mom and dad.

There are a variety of other reasons cell phones at camp aren’t a good idea. Common Sense Media recently published a blog post listing the reasons that most camps have no-cell-phone policies. Here are just a few:

1. Kids can lose them and/or fight about them.

2. Kids are at camp to make new friends, not to text friends and family back home.

3. Hearing your voice just might make them more homesick.

One camp explains on its web site why it bans cell phones and other electronics, such as MP3 players and electronic games: “Camp provides children a chance to live without electronic devices.”

Sounds good to me. I’d happily get rid of my phone for the summer for the chance to return to summer camp!

What about you? Would you feel comfortable sending your kid to camp without a phone?

Photo: Girl Talking on Cell Phone

Follow Paula on Twitter

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About paulabernstein



Paula Bernstein is a freelance writer and social media manager with a background in entertainment journalism. She is also the co-author of Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited.

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