These days, digital distraction among young people is a growing concern. Parents, psychologists, and even tech CEOs increasingly recognize that the overuse of digital technology by children and teenagers has become problematic. Recent studies demonstrate that frequent use of smartphone, computers, and video games has a number of negative effects on kids:
· Diminishes academic performance
· Impairs the development of social skills
· Contributes to psychological disorders such as depression
· Increases emotional fragility and anxiety
· Increases bullying and other peer-related problems
· Contributes to obesity and other health issues
As famous Silicon Valley CEO Sean Parker publicly admitted, “We really have no idea what this stuff is doing to our kids’ brains.” Other tech titans such as Bill Gates and the late Steve Jobs also heavily restricted their children’s use of digital devices. And yet, despite the increasing warning signs of adolescent dysfunction due to technology, most parents have no idea how to counter such a powerful influence in their children’s lives.
According to recent guidelines released by the American Psychological Association, the first step in combating tech-related dysfunction is to monitor and limit children’s access to digital devices. However, as any parent knows, this is easier said than done. Children are often more tech-savvy than their parents and have become adept at overriding parental controls on technology. Moreover, due to the increasing use of digital devices in schools, parents find it nearly impossible to curtail their children’s recreational use of technology without interfering with the legitimate academic use of digital devices. Of course, most parents lead such busy lives themselves that they cannot monitor their children for much of the day anyway.
If limiting children’s access to technology is impractical, is there another way parents might combat the problem of digital dependency and dysfunction? A number of childhood development experts have suggested that an increased exposure to the outdoors combined with social activities “unplugged” from technology might be a way to counter the negative influence of digital dependency. They argue that rather than focusing on limiting tech use in the home, parents should engage their children in activities that connect them with nature and with other children in an environment that is removed from technology. Doing so shifts the burden away from parents and makes disconnecting from technology fun for the kids by replacing their digital devices with challenging, peer-focused outdoor activities in a stimulating and totally natural setting.
Here at Squad STX, we have made these objectives an integral aspect of our mission. We are a Texas company that offers challenging outdoor adventure programs for adolescent boys. Our program encourages healthy socialization among its attendees through time-tested methods—breaking kids up into groups or “squads” and providing a range of stimulating activities:
· Primitive camping
· Land navigation
· Leadership training
· Capture-the-flag laser tag
· Knife handling
· Basic survival training
· Cooking and clean-up practice
Additionally, Squad STX is owned and run by experienced Army veterans and ROTC cadets, so our camps combine the fun of traditional outdoor scouting activities with the stimulating situational training exercises (STX) utilized by ROTC and military programs. Each session provides a completely “unplugged” experience for boys: campers are prohibited from using digital devices, and all sessions are 100% outdoors in some of the most beautiful natural environments available in the U.S.
Digital distraction, shrinking attention, and physical atrophy are quickly becoming a staple of American childhood, but there are ways to fight back. The first step is recognizing the magnitude of this problem, and then parents can consider tactical ways to stave off this threat to their children’s development. We hope Squad STX can be a part of the solution. #techaddiction #parenting #attentionspan #masculinity #squadstx #outdoors #summercamp