Summer Camp Can’t Keep ‘Kid-Sick’ Parents Away
Insomnia is a drag, but not if you’re Lauren Rosen. With two kids away from home at a summer camp in Maine, Rosen turns her middle-of-the-night wakings into opportunities to log on and see how they’re doing without her. Just anticipating a glimpse of her children makes her giddy. “If I can’t sleep at 3 a.m., I will check,” says the Massachusetts mom, who keeps her iPad next to her bed for this purpose.
When she spots them in camp photos posted online, the content analysis begins: is her son by himself or in a group? Does her daughter look happy or sad? Who braided her hair? And what’s that bandage around his ankle? Says Rosen: “I totally am stalking my kids.”
Summertime’s rite of passage — sleepaway camp — looks very different than it did a generation ago. No longer are children’s weeks away marked by subdued parental longing and the occasional piece of snail mail. Camp used to be a place kids went to learn self-reliance and discover themselves away from the watchful eyes of mom and dad, but now technology is allowing parents to keep tabs on their kids even from afar.
In a nod to helicopter parents’ inability to cut the cord, overnight summer camps are hiring staffers to take pictures of campers and post them on their websites or on their Facebook pages, or on the website of Bunk1, a service that hosts camp photos, facilitates emails between campers and their parents and exists solely to allay — or feed — parental anxiety.