Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options


Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

The University of Michigan Library provides access to these materials for educational and research purposes. These materials may be under copyright. If you decide to use any of these materials, you are responsible for making your own legal assessment and securing any necessary permission. If you have questions about the collection, please contact the Bentley Historical Library at bentley.ref@umich.edu

August 30, 2012 - Image 20

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-08-30

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

The Good, the Bad - and the Oy Vey.



Join us.

*Special membership rates for new members
under 36 years of age.
Please call the synagogue office: 248-432-2729 for details.

mo. m

1 7N- lu I 7D

All Israel is responsible for one another


August 30 Q 2012

ike many parents I was concerned
that my son wasn't getting enough
sleep while he was away at sleep-
away camp. As it turns out, it was my
wife's lack of sleep that posed a bigger
Each night beginning
around 11:30, she would
sit anxiously in front of the
computer screen scanning
each new photograph as
it was uploaded from the
camp. It was a slow process
that lasted well into the wee
On the slim chance that
she caught a glimpse of our
son in one of the photos, the
analysis would begin. Was he
wearing the same T-shirt that
he was wearing in the photo two days ago?
Did he misplace his glasses since he wasn't
wearing them? Did he look sunburned?
Did he make new friends since he was
posing in the photo with the same friend
from last time? Was he showering? Was he
brushing his teeth? Was he having fun?
This new parental anxiety is thanks to
the advanced technology now available to
sleep-away summer camps. In the "olden
days" (more than five years ago), parents
had to wait until junior returned home
to see photos from his camp experience.
Now, summer camps have invested in a
few digital cameras and an Internet con-
nection so there's simply no excuse not to
post the daily collection of photos. But is
it healthy? After all, just because the tech-
nology is available doesn't mean it has to
be used.
Evidence that this has become a
national trend among sleep-away camp
parents (many day camps post daily
photos, too) came in the form of a popu-
lar animation video this summer. The
video, which was created on xtranormal.
com and posted to YouTube, mocked the
"helicopter parent" who is addicted to
scanning the camp website for photos of
her child. Many parents with children at
Jewish sleep-away camp found it funny
and relatable.
In the video, two cartoon animals
portraying mothers are discussing sum-
mer camp. It is obvious that the character
whose son is away at sleep-away camp is

Jewish and the character unfamiliar with
the culture is not. The Jewish character
keeps saying "refresh" until the other
character finally asks why she repeats that
word uncontrollably. She explains that it
is because she spends many hours late at
night refreshing the summer
camp's website to see if a photo
of her son has been uploaded.
The other character finds it odd
that she has just spent a large
amount of money to send her
son away for a few weeks dur-
ing the summer only to neuroti-
cally check the camp's website
each night to catch a glimpse of
her son.
It's no accident that the
online posting of summer
camp photos each day has
become de rigueur for Jewish sleep-away
camps across the nation. A man named
An Ackerman made sure of it. When
Ackerman was in graduate school, he
wrote the business plan for Bunkl. He
thought of it as a "one-way window into
the camp world" so parents would be able
to get a taste of what their children were
experiencing while away from home for
a few weeks each summer. From fewer
than 100 camps a decade ago, Ackerman's
Bunkl now boasts more than 1,000
camps that use his Web application to
showcase a couple hundred random pho-
tos each night.
Camp directors who thought the daily
online photo gallery wasn't a good idea
were pressured by zealous parents who
demanded such transparency. Many
parents do note the odd culture that has
been created with the obsessive scanning
of photos just to see that their child is still
alive and well. One parent wrote on the
Bunkl blog, "Anybody else here see the
irony of confiscating your kids electronics
and sending them off into a Wi-Fi free
zone, only to spend the summer obsessed
with electronics yourself?"
The problem with this new phenom-
enon is that the photo doesn't tell the
whole story of the child's day at camp.
Analyzing a photograph that only docu-
ments one second of a very busy day at
camp can lead to unnecessary anxiety.
The camper could have spent the day
happily engaged in her favorite activities

Back to Top

© 2021 Regents of the University of Michigan