MARS HILL, N.C., June 4, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- For the first time, families struggling with children and teens who are unable to pull away from their iPhones and Playstations have a solution. Today, Summerland North Carolina began at Mars Hill University in North Carolina with 20 participating campers. Summerland California, located at Westmont College near Santa Barbara, California, commences next week.
Summerland is the first residential treatment program designed for the treatment of videogame and screen addiction in children and adolescents. Summerland's behavioral change program was designed in association with leading researchers from universities like Iowa State, New York University, and UC Santa Barbara. Campers participate in cognitive behavioral therapy sessions and a comprehensive after-care program with Summerland behavioral coaches in order to effect change from within. Parents attend educational sessions to be prepared to continue the work at home. All this occurs in a fun summer camp environment on a college campus where campers get to rock climb, surf, ride a zip line, go whitewater rafting, learn to cook and be successful without technology.
"Technology has upended our lives, but none more than kids who have yet to develop the necessary self-regulatory behaviors and impulse control to put down the phone," says Summerland founder Dr. Michael Bishop. "Many children and teens are spending 10 hours each day staring at a screen rather than interacting with their peers and adults. Gaming and social media are habit forming, and the Summerland program trains them to break that habit."
Summerland campers range from age 11-18 and come to Summerland North Carolina and Summerland California from all across the U.S. In total, approximately 150 campers will attend Summerland this first summer. Summerland has been featured on NPR, and in Forbes and Quartz.
"It is so frustrating for a parent to see their child missing out on formative experiences because they're unable to put down the phone," says Summerland California Director Michael Jacobus. "While most summer camps are 'tech-free,' Summerland is the only program specifically designed to help families make sustainable changes, so when campers return home, they're able to control tech – not the other way round."
Dr. Bishop noted that he started Summerland because excessive screen time can lead to severe problems at school and at home, but before Summerland, families had no good options for help. "They could send them to a residential treatment program intended for substance abuse, but that's not a good solution for kids struggling with technology. Summerland provides campers with the self-regulatory skills they need to succeed in a digital world, and it all happens in a safe and fun environment. We're really looking forward to changing a lot of lives for the better this summer."
Enrollment for summer 2019 begins in September. For more information, visit www.summerlandcamps.com or call 800-390-6986.