What We Do
Summerland Camps are the premiere behavior change summer camp for young people age 10-18 that struggle with digital overuse behaviors including treatment for internet addiction, family discord, and related issues. We help with the following issues:
- Video Game Overuse (treatment for video game addiction)
- Social Media Overuse (treatment for social media addiction)
- Cell Phone Overuse (treatment for cell phone addiction)
- Internet Overuse (treatment for internet addiction)
- Related issues such as isolating to watch TV, virtual reality, and so on.
However, digital media overuse behaviors do not happen alone. Almost always there are co-occurring issues such as:
- Anxiety and depression
- Anger / quick temper
- Low frustration tolerance
- Inability to self-regulate own behaviors
- Poor social skills
- Lack of interest in sports, hobbies, or other activities that were once enjoyed.
- Failing family relationships
- Declining school performance
Treatment for Internet Addiction Involves Behavioral Coaching
At Summerland Camps, we take a positive approach. Instead of lecturing your child in their behaviors, we educate them on the effects of digital media overuse. Most campers are surprised to learn that video games, in particular, create structural changes in the brain- something that has been proven through multiple neural imaging studies.
It’s assumed that for most campers before the parents sought treatment for internet addiction for the child, a punitive approach has already been tried. We seek to motivate and inspire our campers for behavioral change. Taking a coaching approach, we discuss life goals with our campers. Each one is required to develop a range of goals, from career pursuits to family goals, health and fitness goals, educational goals, and purpose in life goals.
We then go through the process of breaking down exactly how the camper is going to achieve their life ambitions. We create a realistic plan and see if hours upon hours of mindless video game playing fit into their life plan. Armed with scientific studies and data, we show our campers how only people are able to envision a future reward and will put off temporary pleasure for goal attainment. Generally, the brighter and more ambitions a person is, the more they can put off future reward, and the more successful they become. Rarely do people who chose immediate gratification go far in life. Most young people have never thought about this, so our coaches will help them walk this path of reasoning to develop intrinsic motivation to change their digital media overuse behaviors.
We also have individual therapy services available at Summerland Camps. Campers meet with their therapist weekly to check in on the behavior change process and any issues that might be bringing up for them.
At Summerland Camps, we don’t accept campers that might bully, intimidate or otherwise corrupt other campers. We are not a “catch-all” program. We are specifically focused on “internally focused” campers- that is, campers who have retreated inwards into a world of digital media. They tend to be depressed, anxious, low self-esteem, poor social skills, and can also have issues with frustration and anger. They are not typically bullies or drug users- they are the ones who get bullied in most cases. We will work on those issues as well at camp.
Our Campus and Transferring Commitments Home
This is where we really shine at Summerland Camps. What better place to learn transferable skills than the very setting we as parents wish to transfer skills to? We host our camps exclusively at college campuses. We prepare our campers to be highly self-regulated at college. We use college dorms, and teach our classes in college classrooms.
At Summerland Camps, we are about total lifestyle change. Without digital media to occupy hours upon hours of our free time, we will need to find new healthy pursuits, whether that’s with sports, hobbies, schoolwork, or other activities.
Treatment for Internet Addiction Includes Family Involvement and Aftercare
Don’t even bother considering any treatment programs that fail to involve the family at high levels or that do not provide a step-down treatment option. We host a family workshop at the end of every session for our parents. We want our parents to have the same information we gave the camper at camp. We want to set families up for success back at home.
We provide behavioral contracts and help families decide what works best for them in terms of filling out the contract. We also provide factual information on digital media overuse and also provide handout sheets on how to set limits on digital devices at home.
Campers and their families have the option to decide if aftercare is right for them. Aftercare services are provided online or by the phone with campers and a behavioral coach they worked with at camp.