Today we are facing a time when teen depression is on the rise. Young people are struggling with anxiety, stress and overwhelmed by peer pressure. They are isolating themselves – completely immersed in their screens without considering their emotional or physical health.
-An obsession with being online -Frustration, anxiety, and irritability when not able to get online -Abandoning friends or hobbies in order to stay digitally connected -Continuing to spend time online even after negative repercussions (such as failing grades, deteriorating relationships, and even health issues)
Reset Summer Camp offers a fully immersive, clinical program hosted on a university campus, providing a fun-filled summer camp atmosphere. Participants are able to detox from their screen addiction and learn how to self-regulate, as they participate in individual and group therapy.
The Life Skills program cultivates responsibility and builds self-confidence, so campers will be prepared to handle their real-world obligations. Everything from healthy meal-prep and laundry skills to basic vehicle upkeep and a healthy sleep schedule.
Their staff includes experienced youth-development professionals, clinical interns, registered nurses, and private-practice mental health PhDs who work daily with those suffering from problematic use of technology, including gaming addiction and other unhealthy screen-time habits.
With 4-weeks of intensive therapeutic intervention, a full Family Workshop weekend and 12-weeks of individual follow-up with every camper, Reset Summer Camp stands alone as the leader in summer digital detox programs.
Reset Summer Camp isn’t done when your teen goes home. What sets them apart from others is their therapeutic after-care. Counselors will be available to help you, your teen and your family find a healthy relationship at home with technology.
School’s Out: Students Travelling Abroad & Social Media
While parents understand that teenagers may gravitate to spending their summers with old friends doing activities in their hometown, summertime provides a great opportunity for teens to step outside of their comfort zone.
Arguably, one of the most effective approaches to providing a fun-filled summer which stretches teens’ cultural, intellectual and social horizons is participation in a study abroad program. Besides the opportunity to pursue current interests or develop new ones, study abroad programs offer teens the excitement of travel and the chance to participate in and learn about different traditions. Depending on the program that your child chooses to travel with, he or she will have the chance to build new friendships with a group of students who come from a wide variety of states and countries.
Per a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center, 95% of teens have a smartphone and 45% of them are consistently online. Of course, students studying abroad will most likely document their travels on social media. Recognizing that one’s social media profile can provide their first impression to the outside world, especially for high school students who are building their academic resume for colleges and potential employers, most study abroad programs provide a set of specific guidelines for teens regarding their use of social media. Abbey Road Programs has a particularly constructive approach to this issue, encouraging students to use social media for telling stories about their unique experiences abroad in an educational and appropriate manner.
“We encourage our students to maintain a strong yet respectful presence on Instagram and our company blog during their summer travels abroad”, says Arthur Kian, founder and director of Abbey Road Programs. “The members of our Student Ambassador program stay in touch with their friends and loved ones back home by uploading weekly pictures of architecture, cuisine, or landmarks in Western Europe and Quebec. Social media is a great opportunity for students to show colleges and potential employers their experiences immersing with cultures while studying in international universities”.
Student Ambassadors at Abbey Road publish their study abroad activities on Abbey Road’s website, as well as onto their personal Instagram accounts. While the organization encourages student ambassadors to actively publish their happenings on social media, Abbey Road also emphasizes that students should structure their content appropriately for a variety of audiences – not just peers. Blog and Instagram typically submissions occur a few times per week, allowing students to document new discoveries, friends and adventures.
For those of you who are about to send your child to another part of the globe, how can you make sure that your child is making their online presence interesting yet appropriate? Sue Scheff, founder of Parents Universal Resource Experts, Inc, argues that a teen should create his or her social media profile as their ‘Professional Brand’. “As your young adult starts to navigate the professional world, it’s more important than ever to start refining their online reputation”, says Sue. “For some young people, this might mean redefining themselves online. While you can’t redefine your young adult’s online presence for them, you can encourage them, and even take a moment to polish your own social media while you’re at it.”
Social media and blogging are the primary means of connecting with your friends and family when international calling and texting is limited and expensive. How can parents make sure that their child’s content is meaningful and doesn’t harm their reputation for years to come? Never be afraid to discuss with your son or daughter the consequences that can come from posting text or pictures that can convey a negative impression to colleges or employers. However, while there’s a need to emphasize the importance of safety in online behavior, parents should also acknowledge the positive impressions conveyed by documenting new experiences while, for example, studying abroad.
Evan O’Connor is the Outreach Coordinator for Abbey Road Programs and leader of the company’s Student Ambassador Program.
According to CNN.com, new studies indicate that teens spend 9 hours a day using media such as smartphones, TVs, and computers.
Whether this time is spent on social media, playing video games, watching movies, or listening the music, the fact is that kids are spending more time on screens than they are on homework or getting much needed sleep.
While these findings may be alarming to those without children, those of us with middle/high school aged kids are more likely to nod our heads in agreement than question the report’s accuracy. It feels as though we are constantly battling digital media for our children’s attention and quality time is hard to come by.
Check out these fun activities that will get your kids to unplug!
This is an activity the entire family can partake in. Whether you spending time at local beaches, parks, or hiking trails, breathing fresh air is sure to do everyone some good. To make this activity last all day, pack a picnic and bring along some playing cards or games (Apples to Apples is a family favorite) or choose a destination with volleyball, basketball, or tennis courts. But don’t forget to plan ahead and pack the proper sports gear!
Visit an Entertainment Complex
Here’s the perfect opportunity to drop your kids off for an afternoon of fun while you catch up on some necessary errands (just be sure to check the unsupervised age limit). Most entertainment centers offer arcade games, go karts, mini golf, laser tag, batting cages, and more! With all there is to offer, they’ll forget all about their phones and TV screens. If your area doesn’t have an entertainment complex, do a quick online search for a particular activity such as paintball or indoor trampolines as an alternative.
Visit an Amusement or Water Park
An activity for the whole family! Ride roller coasters, enjoy carnival food, and spend time outside at a local amusement park. If you’re expecting a hot summer, considering visiting a water park instead. You won’t regret it when you’re floating down the lazy river under a blazing sun thinking of all the people sweating as they wait in long lines for rides. Don’t forget that many popular parks offer local discounts, multi-day pass deals, promotional deals, or season passes, so do some research on how you can save on your admission tickets before paying full price!
Take an Art Class
Unleash your inner Picasso in a class at a local art studio. Whether you’re elbow deep in clay or learning the latest in photography, this is an activity that is sure to hold your kid’s attention. Consult with them first before choosing the type of class you attend and maybe they’ll discover an interest that will draw them away from their screens for years to come!
Visit a Museum
Whether your children are interested in science, history, cars, or art, it is likely that your city is bursting with museums waiting to be discovered. Create a list of all the local attractions and allow them to choose which you visit. Work your way through the list and make note of your favorites. Don’t forget: Museums are meant to be explored more than once!
The perfect activity for birthdays and just before they go back to school: A shopping excursion. If you live in a warmer climate, seek out an outdoor shopping mall and spend the whole day wandering through stores and enjoying local restaurants. Tired of frequenting the same stores? Try visiting a new district or nearby city that you’ve never been to. Maybe you’ll discover a new shop that you’ll want to return to on the regular!
Attend a Local Sporting Event
Does your child have a favorite sports team? Surprise them with a set of tickets! We can guarantee they’d rather be watching the game live than on a screen at home, and the excitement from the other fans is sure to create an entirely new experience they’ll want to have over and over. If you’d like to make a full night of it, grab a meal at a sports pub beforehand to get psyched for the big game!
Partake in Local Events
Pick up a local newspaper or peruse the web to find out about the events happening in your neck of the woods. Every city has their own local attractions and festivals that you won’t want to miss. These events are also great options for those on a budget as they are often inexpensive or free!
While it is true that tweens and teens today spend the majority of their waking hours with their eyes locked on screens, there are things we can do to keep them active and a part of the real world. Not only is this crucial for our kid’s development, it’ll build the relationship we have with them in the process.
Contributor: Jayson Goetz is a writer from Phoenix, Arizona that is passionate about traveling for all ages. Being a broke writer, Jayson soon learned that if he wants to travel he needs to find the best deals. He loves sharing his experiences and tips in hopes of helping more people and teens travel the world.
The outdoors is the perfect place to spend time with your teen because it’s a world free from distraction. Back home it’s TV, iPhone, iPad and anything digital to occupy a teenager’s mind, but step outside and everything changes.
If you’re looking for ways to spend quality time with your son or daughter outside of the house, here are some great ways to bond with your teen.
This is the perfect introduction to the outdoors. Car camping eases into the wilderness while keeping some of the comforts of home. Parks and forests have designated campgrounds with picnic tables, fire pits and bathroom facilities to accommodate campers of any experience. Simply drive up to your spot, pitch a tent and enjoy a warm fire under the stars.
Hiking & Backpacking
Ready to leave behind the graded campsites for more secluded pastures? Backpacking is a great way to get away from the crowds and explore parts of the wilderness not accessible by any vehicle. The hobby requires lighter, more technical gear, but nothing that is hard to get or will break the bank:
There’s a little more to it, as many backpacking checklists will point out, but these are the bare essentials; strap them on your back and hit the trail. This is a great opportunity to learn skills like using a map and compass and is incredible exercise.
Boating & Fishing
Fishing on the boat is the perfect way to do something while doing nothing. The sound of the water and the crickets chirping around it is one of the most serene experiences on the planet. If you think your teen might get bored with sitting around, waiting for a fish to bite, put a little more fun into the preparation. Shop around together for a new rod and reel, go through and refresh the tackle box and prepare a delicious lunch to take on the boat. Nothing builds up a teenager’s appetite like doing nothing! And when that first fish finally bites, it’ll all be worth it.
Climbing & Bouldering
Pro climber Alex Honnold recently scaled the face of Yosemite’s El Capital without a rope. It’s easy to look at this incredible feat and be intimidated by climbing, but it’s actually easy to get started. First, the teen years are a great time to start and rock climbing gyms across the country accommodate people of all skill levels.
So if your teen can scale the expert wall by their pinkies but you’re barely gripping wood blocks, you can both still practice at the same gym. And when it’s time to finally take the hobby outdoors, it will be easy to find a spot you both can enjoy.
Skiing & Snowboarding
The outdoors doesn’t close down at the end of summer. In fact, it gets even better. If you live anywhere near a decent ski resort (look for man-made slopes too), then strap on some skis or a board. Maybe this is a sport your teen already does with friends or maybe you’re both learning it together. Either way, shredding through fresh powder is its own fun and enjoying it together is just icing on the cake.
Going back to backpacking, some people can be intimidated by the idea of venturing out into the wilderness with nothing but the gear on their back. What better way to trek with confidence than a wilderness class to learn the basics? The National and State Parks Service, local outdoors retailers and various outdoors non-profit groups all have classes that are either free or a low cost. They’ll cover anything, whether for beginners who’ve never camped or for experts learning new skills.
Okay, “volunteer” might not be a word that resonates with teenagers, but volunteering can actually be real fun when done in the outdoors. Anyone can volunteer for trail cleanup in state and national parks, which serves as a great way to see our public lands for free. And, in some cases, volunteers have access to areas of parks and forests most people wouldn’t ordinarily go to, so there is an essence of exclusivity.