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Kids at camp

A Screen Free Summer

We all know the importance of wearing sunscreen, especially in summer.  But do we recognize the importance of no screen, especially in summer?

In these COVID times, our kids have spent an inordinate amount time on their screens, from school to gaming to socializing to television and more.  In fact, one study showed that kids between the ages of 8 and 18 are spending an average of seven and a half hours a day in front of the screens. Seven and a half hours!  Of course, not passing judgement…as I type I’m in front of my own screen.  But as we head into summer vacation, the importance of keeping kids programmed with outdoor activities - and off of their screens - is more important than ever.  YMCA Summer Day Camps provide the perfect opportunity to get your kids enrolled in a fun, engaging and educational activity. Here are a few thoughts & tips on the how & why to do just that:

Spending too much time in front of a screen can create numerous issues in a child’s development, including problems with attention span, sleep interruption, vision complications, reading comprehension and more.  This is not to say all screens are bad, by any means.  It simply means the old adage “everything in moderation” holds some water. 

Beyond all the negative elements associated with too much screen time, including behavior and other, there’s another element that can stem from sitting around too much, regardless of screen or not.  Obesity.  If kids are spending too much time on their screens, not only are they not getting proper exercise, but there’s a good chance their snacking and drinking while they’re at it.  Kids need to get up, get out, and get active.  Lucky for them, there are plenty of summer options to do so!

Summer Camp, in all its tradition, is a rite of passage for most every kid.  It’s a great time to get outside (meaning, off their screens), meet new friends, gain confidence, connect with nature, promote teamwork, and a host of other beneficial takeaways.  Did I mention time away from their screens?

Important note of clarity, that screens are in fact ubiquitous and an everyday element of life for kids.  So this is not to say that the YMCA summer camp is completely screen free.  Rather, responsibly reduced screen time that facilitates and promotes active play, educational exploration and important social connections. While it’s very important to responsibly reduce screen time for kids, and YMCA summer camp is a great place to do just that, there’s still opportunity to embrace and utilize in a positive manner. And let’s be honest, after your kids meet all their new friends at camp, you can be sure they’ll be gaming together soon enough!

So as you explore options for summer fun and alternatives to summer screen time, check out this year’s YMCA summer camps and get your kids plugged into fun, exciting, educational and beneficial play they’ll remember forever.

Learn more about YMCA Summer Day Camp

Image of a Y employee, John M

John Monson serves as Chief Advancement Officer for the YMCA of Greater Omaha, leading sales, marketing and funding development efforts for the organization. A graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder, John spent the majority of his career in the mountains of Colorado and Northern California serving in various ski resort management and ski town parks & recreation roles, before returning to his native Omaha in 2019.