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Unplug from the Digital Grid at a Rescue Camp

The digital grid…should we unplug?

“We text, we tweet, we carry cell phones like they’re lifelines. We check our e-mails, our Facebook pages, our online status six different ways.  And then we start again.  We’ve known for a while now that the digital world – great as it is – could be addictive.  Overwhelming.  An obsession.  A leash.  A prison. Some people are breaking out.  Letting go.  Staying off.”

cell phones pictureListening to NPR the other day, I heard this debate and was surprised to hear that there is a trend right now in unplugging!  Deleting Facebook accounts, silencing cell-phones, and refusing to check e-mail at all hours of the night. Can this really be true?


The other day, NPR featured travel writer Pico Iyer, who moved to a cell-phone free boon dock in Japan so he could be free of the digital grid. I was surprised to hear that so many people are realizing the benefits of “unplugging” that they are paying extra (by thousands) to stay in resorts WITHOUT wifi. Japanese children are being sent to Internet free rescue “camps” because they are so addicted their parents feel they need an immediate break!

We have great news!  Appel Farm=Rescue Camp.

Obviously Appel Farm rescues us from the stresses of school, chores, and real life, but who knew that the traditional camp rules would save us from the prison of the digital grid. Coming to the farm allows all of us to take a few weeks to focus on friendships, face-to-face communication, and social skills. By the end of each session, campers and staff always feel so close to their camp friends, so alive, and so connected. Perhaps, because they’ve all been rescued.

As powerful as a cell-phone and social media free summer can be, we also know and value the access that the Internet provides us to art around the world. We are excited to share the news that Appel Farm is moving towards embracing technology in our arts programs by installing Internet access points in all of our learning spaces over the next three years! Counselors will be able to access places like the Louvre for real-life art examples to help in their lessons.

So, putting all of this together, I think the main question we should ponder today on Thinking Thursday is:

“Are we better off by having cell phones, Facebook, Twitter, and the world wide Internet?” Give us your opinion below!

Listen to Pico Iyer’s broadcast by clicking HERE!