Digital addiction is seriously on the rise. – In fact, the World Health Organization now classifies gaming addiction as a disorder. This sweeping online, computer and portable device digital phenomena is now affecting the mental health of both children and adults of all ages, and education and support to help children, adolescents and adults manage their on screen time, is desperately needed.
Reset Summer Camp for adolescents is unique, in that it is the only program of its kind in the US, to help individuals within this age group who suffer from uncontrollable screen and gaming addiction.One great plus, is that Reset has assigned a frequent contributor to the Today Show, leading parenting specialist, Dr. G (Dr. Deborah Gilboa), to supervise family engagement. Michael Jacobus, the organization’s Executive Director, announced that: “We’re excited to start our summer camp season with the opening of the application portal and thrilled that someone of Dr. G’s stature and expertise has joined our team”. The program for both boys and girls, will take place in: Huntington, Indiana; Asheville, North Carolina; College Station, Texas; and Santa Barbara, California; and will last for a duration of 4 weeks, to coincide with the school summer holidays.
Digital Detox & Parental Support
Every site is purposefully situated within a college campus in order to empower participants with a large variety of supervised recreational and social opportunities, while they are simultaneously being instructed in vital life skills and self-care. Jacobus noted that the camp’s goal: “is to create meaningful, technology-free experiences for the teen who arrives at our camp glued to his or her smart phone, or the one who spends endless amounts of time playing Fortnite. We provide them with a digital ‘detox’ and help them learn that there is much more to life. We also offer family education and therapeutic aftercare to foster continued success”. Dr. Gilboa, who is a strong advocate for changing the roles of parents, so they can help their children step up and be responsible for what they are doing to themselves, will head the family engagement aspect. This family inclusion is a crucial part of the support process after the adolescents return from the Reset Summer Camp. Moreover, it is very likely to help the teenagers’ parents who may have their own digital addictions, and who, along with the adolescents’ school friends, may well have been responsible for unknowingly encouraging such negative behavior.
Fostering Healthy Digital Habits
Jacobus makes the important point that the program’s purpose is not to foster total abstention from tech devices, but rather, to suggest moderation. She says that: “We realize that today’s world requires most people to be connected digitally, and that many schools require that students be online for assignments”. So to that end, the camp is designed to generate simple healthy digital habits that adolescents, their siblings, and mothers and fathers can employ at home.