CINCINNATI, June 26, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A new national survey finds that 11- to 16-year-olds who attended overnight summer camps that ban smartphones nearly unanimously felt relieved by not being able to use social media:
93% felt relieved to have a break from social media
80% felt less anxious and stressed because they didn't have to keep up with social media
Campers also said not having smartphones substantially improved social interaction; they got to know others better, and they experienced a substantially less toxic social environment:
92% felt they got to know other people better because they couldn't access smartphones
57% witnessed less bullying than they normally witness because they couldn't access social media
51% witnessed less drama than they normally witness because they couldn't access social media
44% of campers witnessed less gossip than they normally witness because they couldn't access social media
The 28-question survey --- conducted by Screen Education, the JCC Association of North America, and Stark Statistical Consulting --- queried 1,073 11- to 16-year-olds who attended overnight camp for an average of 4 weeks in 2018. The online survey was fielded from October 18-25, and had a margin of error of + or - 3%.
According to Michael Mercier, President of Screen Education, "Overnight summer camps that ban smartphones are really the only institutions in our society providing kids with a digital detox. This survey shows the kids themselves say this detox is tremendously beneficial."
Campers were thrilled to have time away from their smartphones:
72% said their camp experience would have been worse if they had brought smartphones, while only 8% thought it would have been better
campers rated the magnitude of gladness they experienced by not being able to use their smartphones 4X higher than the magnitude of frustration
Campers also felt not being able to communicate with their parents increased their independence:
90% felt they became more independent from not being able to communicate with parents
64% felt the inability to communicate with parents was harder on their parents than on themselves
"One goal of a digital detox is to decrease dependence on technology. Sixty-two percent (62%) of respondents believe the digital detox they experienced attending phone-free overnight camp made them less dependent on their smartphones than friends who don't attend camp," said Mercier. "This suggests we must urgently find ways to give more kids digital detox experiences. One way to do this is to overcome obstacles to getting more kids to overnight summer camp. At the same time, we must innovate and find other ways to provide more kids with a digital detox experience that is closer to home, that is shorter in duration, and that is more affordable."