School holidays are an ideal time for kids to take a tech vacation. Here’s why you should consider putting your kids on a digital detox.

If your kid’s worried about battery life or linking up to the nearest free wi-fi, he or she may need a break from technology.

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Digital detoxing, when a person chooses to reduce their smart device or internet use, is becoming a bit of a trend for parents concerned about their kids’ dependence on technology.

Our tech-dependent dependants

No one here is saying that technology doesn’t have its benefits. There are apps out there for education and learning development that are engaging and fun for kids. As such, the problem becomes a problem when our dependants become dependent.

Research shows that excessive screen-time can negatively affect a user’s hearing, sight, weight, sleep, and other aspects of physical and mental health. During their key years of development, children are especially affected and the concern here is that the impact may be lifelong, if not intervened.

Our kids are frustrated

“Children […] aren’t able to understand the connection between the two-dimensional world on the screen and the three-dimensional world around them.”

– Dr. Jenny Radesky, (Developmental Behavioural Pediatrics at the University of Michigan, member of the American Academy of Pediatrics)

Communication is an interesting area of concern when it comes to digital detox. A Canadian study found that toddlers who used smart devices “were more likely to have delays in expressive speech”. This has huge ramifications for a child’s ability to connect with adults, each other and convey emotion.

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We’re also seeing more kids presenting sleep problems, which can in turn affect their hormones, mood, appetite, energy levels and ability to concentrate. Any parent will tell you: a sleep-deprived child is not ideal!

Getting the balance right

The internet and social media (somewhat ironically) are full of information on digital detoxing. Something that’s particularly interesting to us is about replacing the negative with a positive. Some refer to it as ‘wildschooling’, but we call it “getting kids back in the trees”.

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The most awesome thing about this replacement of phones for nature is that it is (excuse the pun) entirely natural. Centaurs’ Director of Camps, Charli Bromley sees this first hand:

“Kids are deeply curious about the environment, and getting them moving outside plays to their innate energy. Kids want conversation, to ask questions, to exercise their imaginations, and – most importantly – they want to move. The more they do it, the less exciting a device becomes.”

Digital detox for kids in Singapore

Centaurs Kids Camps precede the smartphone world, and are all about being active outdoors.

“In our 13 years of running kids holiday camps in Singapore, we’ve seen more schools offering holiday camps that focus on academics, and a surge in camps that specialise in robotics or coding,” says Charli. “We’re happy to offer a more ‘traditional’ school holiday of climbing trees and grazed knees!”

Centaurs Camps are not “digital detoxes” as such, but kids are discouraged from bringing phones or tablets on the six-hour, multi-day Centaurs holiday camps. Coaches only use their own phones in emergencies, for occasional photo-taking and some weather forecasting.

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Time in the jungle and exploring are encouraged, as are all those activities that prioritise communication, teamwork, movement and coordination. During these camp days, what we find is that children are at ease, and hey go home happy-tired ready for a good night’s rest, and that Minecraft and Pokemon Go are left in their (electronic) boxes.