Treat your kids (and teachers!) to a digital detox in 2019
When looking ahead to a brand-new year, we often think of detoxing to improve our health – cut down on alcohol, eat healthier, meditate to reduce stress etc. Now of course there’s another type of detox to consider – the digital detox. Necessary due to our growing dependence on technology, this not-so new idea extols the virtues of switching off for a short time for the benefit of our physical and mental health.
Why digitally detox?
With a typical family owning 7 different devices, and spending 9.5 hours on screens collectively every day, it’s clear to see why, as The Independent reports, half of all families are prioritising the importance of time away from screens when planning their summer holidays and family time.
Technology for children: the pros and cons
Parents and teachers agree that technology is invaluable for improving efficiency both in the classroom and for homework. But they also agree on the downside. Technology can enhance learning, but it can also make children lazy – many children don’t know how to use a dictionary, and Google’s ability to pinpoint information so accurately means they’re not learning to take in and break down large quantities of information, because it’s all done for them with a simple click or swipe.
Then of course there are the negative effects of social media on young people’s mental health. Issues like cyber bullying, negative body image, the negative impact on sleep and self confidence – these are all issues well documented in the national press, and ones most children will face.
The challenge is to find that balance – using tech to enhance and improve children’s education and social life, without tipping too far into unhealthy territory – gaming / social media addictions, as a replacement for actually communicating with friends and peers etc. And sometimes it takes a few days away from technology altogether to help put things in perspective.
The benefits of unplugging
On a Wildchild Adventure, we have a ‘no phones / electronics’ rule. Children (and teachers!) are encouraged to immerse themselves in the great outdoors. To appreciate their experience, have a go at every adventure that comes their way, and really enjoy their time on camp, with their friends, making memories they will remember for many years to come, without needing to capture it and share it on social media.
Children can enjoy the many benefits that come with a few days’ screen downtime, including
– Uninterrupted time to try new activities and take on challenges they wouldn’t otherwise have attempted.
– The opportunity to improve social skills and build relationships with their peers and teachers through teambuilding activities and through day-to-day interactions on camp. The focus on real-life activities and interactions builds connections with peers that may otherwise have relied mainly on social media, text messaging etc.
– A release from the pressure of keeping up to date and connected on social media, and a reminder of the simple pleasures to be found from a mindfulness approach to your day. The ability to focus on each activity and experience as it takes place, without the multi-tasking and distraction that comes with screen time.
– A recent Guardian survey showed three quarters of UK children spend less time outside than prison inmates! So for a few days, our residential adventure guarantees some much needed time outdoors connecting with nature.
A Wildchild Adventure provides a rare opportunity for children to really engage with each other as they switch off from the outside world. With the exponential growth of social media, and the increasing need to stay ‘connected’ reaching children as young as 9 and 10, it’s more important than ever that we recognise the importance of having that time off. Time to climb trees, to rely on your senses to find your way around, and to sing songs around the campfire.
By Popular Demand…
Teachers and group leaders are the most enthusiastic proponents of our ‘no technology’ rule. Like parents, they are often vying with screens to get children’s attention and to inspire and motivate them. So a few days’ digital detox is a welcome treat that gives teachers the opportunity to really engage with pupils, and to see their capacity for learning outside the classroom and away from the screens.
“The trip was just what the kids needed. No sweets / phones was great!” Elthorne Park School.
“It has allowed children to challenge themselves and helped them realise there is a life outside TV and video games.” Trinity CE School
Book your digital detox today…
Wildchild Adventure offers immersive outdoor adventure experiences for Primary and Secondary school students and youth groups tailored to foster a love of the great outdoors in children of all ages. Through a combination of bushcraft survival activities, teambuilding games, outdoor adventure experiences and built-in downtime for socialising and relaxing, we create a space for children to explore, to challenge themselves, to build friendships and to experience the world in a new and different way.
Contact us for more information and to book your Wildchild Adventure.
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