Managing Electronics at Camp

While researching summer camps, we found most have strict electronics policies. Is this the norm?

A: Walking into a cabin of new kids can be hard enough, but doubly so if the campers all brought MP3 players for quiet time and you made Tommy leave his at home.
Finding a camp where kids can enjoy outdoor adventures and experience new social connections is a great idea; however, don’t assume the week will be unplugged. Many of today’s camp programs recognize the role that technology can play to enhance the camp experience, help transition campers, and offer common ground where kids can begin to connect.
While many camps enforce an electronics policy, rules can vary. Find out whether these electronic devices are welcomed or unwanted at the camp your child chooses this summer.

Cell phones

Most overnight camps prohibit cell phones. If your camper keeps their music on an iPhone, load music on an alternative device for the week and leave the phone at home. Day camps vary, ask your camp director what the expectations are.

MP3 players

Most camps will allow campers to bring an iPod or MP3 player with them in order to listen to music. Camps have found this to be comforting and relaxing for campers as well as a conduit for conversation.  

Handheld games

This one runs about half and half with camps. While some prohibit any handheld gaming devices, other camps allow them though with time restrictions. Check your camp’s policy and review it with your child before sending a handheld game.


Some camps will allow kids to bring e-readers to use during down time. E-readers with Wi-Fi access will most likely not be accessible, so kids should make sure they have the reading material they want downloaded before they head off for camp.


Traditional outdoor residential camps generally prohibit the use of laptops and do not allow students access to a WiFi signal. Other camps, like tech camps or academic prep camps, often encourage campers to bring a laptop. In these cases, make sure to install locator and locking software on the device and record any model or manufacturer’s identification numbers for your records.

 Regardless of which devices your camper is allowed to pack, you’ll want to consider the chance your child’s electronic device will get stolen, damaged, or misused. Keeping track of expensive gaming device or worrying about an e-reader getting stepped on can cause extra anxiety and stress for camperd who are already juggling many new responsibilities away from home.
Camp offers opportunities for kids to learn new things, practice independence, and explore new terrain. Talk to your child about the rules, the opportunities, and the exciting new things she’ll learn at camp. Focus on what your child will get out of the camp experience as opposed to what will be forbidden to do.

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