How to Stay in Touch With Your Camper This Summer

June 8, 2017

Summer is a great time to take a break from our devices. But when children are away from home, maybe for the first time, staying in touch is important.

Some camps have a no phones or electronic devices policy. What can you do to stay in touch while getting the benefits of a tech-lite summer? Here are a few tips to follow this summer:

1. Speak with the camp beforehand. Ask what their device policies are for campers, and how they recommend keeping in touch. Are there times when campers can check their phones, or use a shared computer or landline? If your child will be using a shared computer or tablet, take some time to go over ways to stay safe on public devices.

2. Speak with your kids. Camp can be a rollercoaster of emotions, and having conversations about what your child is thinking ahead of time is the best way to know what they’ll be feeling while away. Maybe it’s their first camp summer and they’re worried. Maybe they’ll make friends fast and dive into nature and activities 24/7, leaving you the one who’s worried. No matter what their camp experience, make a plan for how and when you’ll contact each other.

3. Go retro. If the camp is strictly no-tech, use letters. Not only are these good for composition skills, but nothing beats written mail. Buy or make stationary with your child before their trip, fill out an address book, let them choose stamps, and send a practice message if they’ve never posted a letter or postcard. See if letter writing is a part of the camp programming, and if your child has a special needs plan, call ahead to arrange for a counselor to assist them.

Talking and planning ahead are key. Wondering how to have these conversations? Tools like the Family Online Safety Contract (available in English and Spanish) are a good place to start.

With this you and your camper will be set for a fun and safe summer!

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Written by

Rebecca Kielty

Rebecca Kielty is a summer intern with the Family Online Safety Institute. She is a graduate student in the Communication, Culture and Technology (CCT) MA program at Georgetown University, with a focus in privacy. Rebecca earned her BA in English Literature from the University of South Florida Saint Petersburg in 2010.