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Parents? Indeed We Are

By Norman Friedman, M.Ed.

My last B&B SKI-Way blog on texting was in reaction to an AP article in a Pennsylvania newspaper. Those who responded were in agreement with our AMSkier Partner’s position that any and all electronics should be absent during the summer camp experience for other people’s children. Please note the article below which gives details of the problem. Those of us who have raised our children or are in the process of doing so, are parents, but NOT professional parents. However, camp directors and all who serve as caregivers at camp are in fact, PROFESSIONAL PARENTS. By definition, you are expected to care for campers at a higher level than your own youngsters. No room for errors. In addition, your INTENTIONAL COMMUNITY referenced by Bruce Lipton, Jeff Ackerman, and Jennifer Edwards describes the importance of the camp experience as it should really be. YOU MAKE THE RULES…not parents. Not unless they own 51% of your program. The 100th anniversary of camp in the 2nd decade of the 21st Century needs some re-mastering. Our AMSkier camp owner/directors are ahead of the curve. You lead the way.

Parents, set rules for kids media use.

Parents should set their cell phones to “alarm”: The news out of the latest Kaiser Family Foundation study on kids’ media use is one scary wake-up call. The folks at Kaiser added up all those minutes that 8- to 18-years-olds spend each day on iPods and cell phones, video games and computers and reached one eye-popping total. Kids are spending 7 1/2 hours a day — nearly every waking minute — wired to some device. And that’s not counting the 1 1/2 hours a day that they spend texting.

With all that media consumption, the question isn’t just what are they doing — social networking, listening to music, watching television shows on their cell phones, playing video games — the bigger question is what are they missing? Unwired life? Silence? Time for creativity or thought?

Here’s a tidbit from the study that comes as no surprise: Children whose parents set rules about media use consume nearly three hours less of electronic media a day. The trouble is, it’s the rare parent who has been setting rules: Fewer than half of all 8- to 18-year-olds say they have rules about what television shows they can watch, 46 percent; video games they can play, 30 percent; or music they’re allowed to listen to, 26 percent. Fifty-two percent say they have rules about what they can do on the computer.

Well, of course, parents aren’t setting rules: Kids aren’t the only ones distracted by the shiny, jingling, urgent electronic devices. Let’s all enter this note into our cell phone calendars: set rules tomorrow.

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