The roughly 1,300 children from Oslo who’ve been accepted into a city-run camp on an island south of the city this summer are told to leave their mobile phones at home. Camp officials want them to run around and have fun instead of sitting still and staring at screens.
“Electronic gadgets and social media take you away from the here and now,” Finn Edvid Brøndal of Camp Hudøy told newspaper Dagsavisen. “They take you away from being with people face to face. Even when families go out to eat, they often sit around looking down at their phones instead of meeting each other.”
That’s why Brøndal won’t allow his campers to use phones. “We must allow kids to be kids, away from city streets and allowed to play,” he said, as two girls ran by on a sort of treasure hunt, got to their post and looked up, but neither took any photos, sent an SMS or pressed on a “Like” button. They just ran on to the next post.
Parents aren’t allowed to call their children and vice versa, except in an emergency. The children, many of whom arrive alone, make new friends while swimming, sailing, digging for crabs or playing volleyball. The island is a place for them to relax completely, cut off from their normal networks.
“And we just don’t have capacity to help the kids keep track of their expensive gadgets,” Brøndal admitted to Dagsavisen. “That can have its advantages.”