Digital Detox Summer Camp for Tech Addicted Children and Teens
“This is NOT a ‘fix you because you’re broken’ camp, this is ‘learn
how to get what you want in life’ camp.”
-Reset Summer Camp Executive Director,
Griffin was 10 years old.
After his parents got divorced, he turned to gaming.
“I just spent my days sitting in a room with a TV, blinds shut, everything. Games were a part of my life and they just stuck with me and have been a part of me through hard times.”
Games were a refuge for Griff. Like many kids, games and technology were a vacation into another world where he could be the hero and where his only troubles were how fast he could level up and if he was keeping up with his online friends.
However, those momentary vacations into the gaming-verse turned into extended gaming sessions that would last for hours on end. Gaming came first in Griff’s life. Family, friends, school, even basic needs like eating and sleeping only happened with considerable pressure and arguments with his mother. Griff’s mother was losing her son to video games and she needed help.
Griff’s mother signed him up for Reset Summer Camp’s 4-week digital detox program, and with a little convincing, had Griff onboard too. After the triple-screening process coordinated by Reset’s Executive Director, Michael Jacobus, the Clinical Director and the on-site therapist, it was time for Griff to pack his bags and head to camp.
Griffin and his fellow campers were greeted by the camp staff as they settled into their university campus dorm rooms, which they would clean and care for during their month-long stay.
Camp wasn’t easy for Griff at first. He and his fellow campers went through some of the same withdrawal symptoms that other addicts face when cutting out such a critical coping strategy out of their life. However, after a few days, Griff started to see progress.
The many camp activities including cooking, music and art, STEM and boating taught Griff lifelong skills and gave him the opportunity to explore healthy passions and hobbies.
Having a roommate and attending group therapy allowed Griff to make real, in-person friends and begin to value community beyond the one he just played with online.
Finally, through small group and individual counseling, and finding role-models in the camp staff, Griff was able to better understand himself and develop the tools he needed to be successful after camp ended.
At one of Griff’s last therapy sessions, he was asked to set some goals for the future:
“I want to establish a better video games limit, snorkel across the
world and have a better love for myself and get rid of my gaming
With future ambitions in mind and the skills to succeed in his grasp. Griff was ready for the culminating family camp weekend where he and his family worked together to translate the skills and routines developed at camp into life back at home.
For the next 90 days at home, Griff and his family had weekly meetings with RESET clinical interns to provide a steady lifeline and connection back to Griff’s time of success and stability at Reset Summer Camp.
Through this process, Griff was, and is, RESET.
“One of the reasons we need Reset Summer Camp is so we can help
these kids. Because there are too many with this problem - and more
showing up every day.”
-Parenting and Youth Development Expert & Reset Summer Camp
Family Engagement Director, Deborah Gilboa, MD,
aka "Dr. G." (www.askdoctorg.com)
There are many Griff’s out there. A large-scale study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) found 13% of students between grades 7–12 report symptoms of a video game problem, a 4% increase since 2007. A Common Sense Media census report shows that US teens spend an average of 9 hours of recreational time on their devices every single day.
Reset Summer Camp is here to help.
This summer, Reset is facilitating 8 different camp programs on college campuses across the US. Families are encouraged to visit the camp website, or get in touch with Executive Director, Michael Jacobus.
Does your family NEED Reset Summer Camp?
Take the RESET Technology Addiction Quiz to learn more!
Michael Jacobus is an internationally recognized author, child-development specialist and camp professional. He has an extensive background in youth—serving nonprofits, staff training, operations, administration and outdoor education. In the summer of 2018, Michael created the world's first clinical summer camp program for teens and adolescents suffering from unhealthy screen-time and social-media overuse habits and gaming addiction.