and only at the end of the day when
she was exhausted was a candid photo
taken of her and posted to the camp's
website. The parents immediately
repost it to their Facebook account
with the message, "Uh oh ... Our
daughter looks exhausted and unhappy
at camp! Concerned:'
One sleep-away camp staff mem-
ber who fielded calls from parents
this summer recounted that most
of the urgent inquiries from parents
were prompted by the online photos.
Neurotic parents wanted to know why
their children were never in the photos
("my child's friend is in every photo"),
why they were never in photos at the
beach, why they were wearing some-
one else's clothes and why they weren't
wearing a hat when it was very sunny
out. It seems these online photos, while
posted with the best intentions, have
caused more concern for parents.
A recent column in Time magazine
focused on this online camp photo gal-
lery phenomenon theorizing that it is a
"nod to helicopter parents' inability to
cut the cord:' One parent quoted in the
column exclaimed, "I totally am stalk-
ing my kids."
Camp was once a safe place where
kids didn't have to worry about their
parents watching them. They were free
to just grow and enjoy themselves. The
new technology, however, changes that.
Demonstrating that camp direc-
tors aren't thrilled about this new
culture, the article in Time quotes Sam
Perlin, the director of Camp Solomon
Schechter in Olympia, Wash. He
explained, "In the beginning, it was
like, 'Wow, how cool: Now I spend
much of my day answering phone calls
from parents who say, 'I don't see a pic-
ture of my kid' or 'they're not smiling
— are they having a good time?"'
For some parents, just recognizing
the back of their child's head in a photo
is reassuring that at least he's not in the
clinic. However, parents survived for
many generations not seeing current
photos of their children at summer
camp. Just because the technology is
now available for camps to post these
photos doesn't mean they should feel
compelled to do so. After all, there are
many other technologies that camps
can utilize but have decided that it's
not healthy. The online camp photo
phenomenon is a wonderful example
of what happens when new technology
changes the equilibrium.
Camps should wait until the end of a
session to post the photos. Parents will
get a lot more sleep that way.
Why do I have more
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families, Congregation Beth Ahm is
strengthening the identities of the next
generation. Jewish experiences through
family programming, the Mitzvah Kids,
and our religious school enrich the lives
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August 30 • 2012