An experience without screens – is it possible?
by Shai Resnick, Director of Camp Kimama Galim, 30, TV Addict.
My whole life has been full of memories of TV.
One of my haziest memories of childhood, based on my parents’ stories, was when I was in kindergarten. Every morning, I’d open up a bottle of chocolate milk in front of a TV show that perhaps some of you remember (and which our campers won’t recognize at all): Bouli the Snowman.
By the time I reached school age, I remember spending a ton of time watching Disney movies (all of them!!) with my big sister.
In high school, obviously I was the number one fan of all the TV romances – Love Life, Game of Life, Our Song, and so many more.
And even in the army, I remember that after two weeks on base, I’d come back home on Friday, have a fast shower, and hurry to spend hours on the sofa, watching Grey’s Anatomy and unplugging from the world – not hearing or seeing anyone else other than the characters on the screen.
And then, I really tried to live without TV. I remember my first year in university, making the brave decision not to bring a TV into my new apartment. Truthfully, it was a nightmare. Lucky for me, the second year came along, bringing with it a new TV, with cable, of course!
But – and there’s a big but – by that point, something had happened. TV shows had ceased to interest me quite so much. I was busy with sports, school, friends, dates, and of course, lots of treks outside along streams and nature, alone or with friends.
What I didn’t mention before was that Bouli the Snowman was the only program I watched, because most of the time, I was busy with board games, tag, and hide-and-seek. After the Disney movies we’d watch only on weekends, the rest of my time was spent riding bikes and scooters with friends from the area, and of course, extracurricular activities, and hiking groups that got us out into nature, for trips already starting in fifth grade. In high school, while I watched lots of TV, most of my week – outside of school – was spent busy within boys and girls, sports, and lots of youth movement activities.
True, we’re not the same generation. Today, there’s a lot more available to kids, and they use more of different kinds of screens, and their ability to learn and develop through this kind of access is a positive thing.
But we have the chance to bring them back, a little bit, to that time. To the period when we learned and developed from watching ants carrying crumbs or just from sitting around on the grass looking around, when we learned about hard work from those ants, when we created our own scooter club because at 4:00 p.m. we were bored and started riding around the streets of the community creating missions for ourselves. We went out at age 17 to hike the “Sea to Sea” route alone because we weren’t scared of being out in nature and we knew we had each other, truly, not just through a screen.
What an opportunity we have at Kimama! To unplug from all the screens and distractions – to focus on ourselves, to look other kids the same age in the eye, to laugh, to be offended, to fall down, to get up, and to talk about stuff. We have the chance to hang out together and just be in a situation, really in it; feel it, grow from it, and not just document it.
I started out by saying I was addicted to TV, and I really am, but I believe that, thanks to the screen-free settings I participate in, I’ve attained the tools for knowing how to moderate my screen time, to understand how to enjoy a moment without needing to escape to a screen.
That’s what I want to provide to all our campers at Kimama – the tools to deal with a social setting, the opportunity to challenge themselves, to be with friends and to know how to enjoy the here and now, the experience of success – without a screen.