Is Tech Camp Right for Your Child?
Camp is a wonderful experience. It’s a time when kids get to explore new interests and make friends outside of school. And for many kids, it’s a chance to get away from technology and see what’s going on around them IRL (In Real Life). But these days, more and more parents are sending their kids to tech camps where they can learn STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills to help them excel later in school and in life. As much as we advocate for kids to spend time outdoors, we also value innovative approaches to teaching them about technology. One may not be better than the other, but one option may be better for your child’s needs.
Regardless of whether the camp is about learning to code or spending time in nature, your child will have a chance to make friends outside of school. If your child is struggling to make friends in school, camp is an excellent opportunity to step into a new environment and find other kids who are in the same boat. This is particularly true if your child is being bullied in school. Friendships outside of the classroom drama are very important to provide support and a safe environment for kids who don’t feel like they have that through the rest of the year. However, if your child is being cyberbullied, be sure to verify with camp administrators that any tech programs they’re running don’t allow kids to access other social media sites. You want to put space between your child and the bullies, not encourage interaction.
However, there is another obvious reason why tech camp might not be right for your child. Many kids today simply spend too much time in front of screens. While that time is probably not spent learning how to code or to use Photoshop, too much screen time, whether it’s educational or not, is not good for children’s development. If your child already spends all their time looking at their phone or laptop, a traditional sleepaway camp will give them the chance to learn what life was like before social media. Besides, when we allow ourselves to put away distractions and be bored for a while, it improves our creative thinking skills.
Since summer camps were first established in the 1880s, they have been a way to escape city life and connect with nature. Tech camps change all that and introduce a new way of thinking of camp. Summer camps are more about making the most of the time spent out of school than enjoying the outdoors. Getting outside may still be the main draw of most summer camps, but now the marketing angle usually has to do with hands-on education in nature rather than just fun. Both tech and traditional camps have their pros and cons and there is no definitive answer as to which is better. There is only what’s better for your child.