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HAVE Smartphones Really Destroyed a Generation?

It is an article that has the “back-to-school” interwebs buzzing. The Atlantic’s “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” posits that the “iGen” generation is more risk averse and less independent than any generation in history (though my son would say, “Remember the Croods…”).

As we tell our trip leaders, “Good judgment sometimes comes out of bad experience”–you only forget to pack the frozen food, have to use all of the back up matches in the med kit, or hand out your only spare pair of dry socks once…then, most of the time, you learn. The hands-on, experiential lessons we learn at camp and in life help us grow, establish an understanding of interpersonal dynamics, and remind us not to forget our rainjackets.

These lessons also help us realize we have competence to actually actively participate in the world and in our self development rather than simply watching from afar in the safety of our homes and known social circles.

Melinda Gates commented in a Washington Post article , “Phones and apps aren’t good or bad by themselves, but for adolescents who don’t yet have the emotional tools to navigate life’s complications and confusions, they can exacerbate the difficulties of growing up: learning how to be kind, coping with feelings of exclusion, taking advantage of freedom while exercising self-control. It’s more important than ever to teach empathy from the very beginning, because our kids are going to need it.”

We couldn’t agree more–but we are always eager to learn what others think, too.

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Ariella Rogge
About Ariella Rogge

Ariella started her career at Sanborn when she was twelve. After five years of camper and five years of Sanborn staff experience, she continued her work with kids in the high school classroom. Ariella and her family returned to Sanborn in 2001 to take on the Program Director role which she held til 2012. She and Elizabeth Marable became co-directors of High Trails in 2013. She lists mountain golf, Gymkhana, climbing mountains and making Pad Thai in the backcountry as some of her favorite activities at camp. Ariella received a B.A. in English from Colorado College and is a certified secondary English educator,an ACCT Level 2 Ropes Course Technician, an ARC lifeguard, an AHA CPR trainer and WEMT. She lives at camp with her husband, two sons, 8 chickens, 2 salamanders, 2 hermit crabs and 1 cat.