It’s Hard Being A Child Today

It’s easy to reflect on the ”good ol’ days” of childhood before bills, work and responsibilities took us by surprise. But, being a child in 2019 isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. (And the worst part: the ramifications are more troubling than you think).

Technology changes

Take a look at the day of a modern child:

Morning television shows have been replaced with a scroll through Instagram…

Sneaky Snapchats are sent to all their friends on the way to school…

And on top of that – kids are now creating and watching a montage of video mashups on TikTok all whilst they message their classmates on Facebook!

Sound exhausting yet? We think so! 

In Australia, Mobile Device usage has increased exponentially to the point it is often described as addictive.

90% of Australian teens between 14-17 own a smartphone (Roy Morgan 2016), and 2 out of 3 primary-school-aged children own a mobile-screen based device (Australian Child Health Poll 2017).

The increased usage of digital devices is something we all should be concerned about.  Issues related to cyberbullying, access to inappropriate content, newly-established social patterns, and distractions from school work have all risen to the surface,.

However, the most worrying part is that these issues aren’t all speculation. Student engagement surveys show that around 15% of students have experienced cyberbullying, at least once, in the past month (TTFM 2018).

Finnish education experts have seen a relationship between smartphone usage and negative affects on school-related work, physical activity, reading and high-quality sleep.

In fact, mobile phone distraction are a probable cause for the slide in average Math, Science, and Reading scores (PISA rankings)(Baker 2018).

Social Interaction

The world is getting smaller.

Thanks to the internet, we are have been brought closer to loved ones, family and friends by the click of a button.

But what about talking to a person the old fashioned way?

You know what we mean: talking face-to-face.

So, is your child’s mobile phone hindering their social development?

According to studies, mobile phone usage has been reported by 82% of people to occasionally hurt or kill the atmosphere of social gatherings (Rainie & Zickuhr 2015).

It’s no wonder that in France, smartphones are even banned in schools because of ‘mobile’s limit face-to-face interaction.

Australia is slowly catching on, with some schools implementing bans on mobile digital device use.

However, the effects of reduced social interaction are far more severe than you think…

Decreased social interaction due to increased phone usage has been linked to lower levels of psychological well being.

In a study that monitored 1.1 million high school students between 1991- 2016, it was found that students spending less time on non-screen activities (e.g. Sports, attending religious services, in-person interaction) and more time with technology (e.g. Social media, texting, gaming)had lower levels of psychological health.

Most interestingly – students who only spent a few hours a week communicating with their peers online were reported as the happiest (Twenge et al. 2018).

Exposure To Inappropriate Content

Are you worried about your child’s safety online?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. 95% of parents cited online safety as ”very important” – even ranking as a more significant concern than illegal drugs, smoking and alcohol use (Life Education 2018).

Inappropriate material extends beyond ”adult” content. Inappropriate content extends to websites that encourage self-harm and eating disorders.

In these uncertain times, there are concerns about the rise of ”sexting”. ”Sexting” is ”sending or posting of sexually suggestive text messages and images, including nude or semi-nude photographs, via mobiles or over the internet” (Cooper et al. 2016 p. 2).

In another study, it was found that 45% of students had received a ”sexually explicit nude or nearly nude photo or video” with over 54% having received a ”sexually explicit written text message”. (The National Survey of Australian Secondary Students and Sexual Health 2013).

Exercise

Another concern is the impact on the physical health of children with ‘today’s changing media and communication patterns.

Social media usage was found to be correlated with higher sedentary time for students aged between 10-15 years (Sandercock et al. 2016).

This was also verified in another study where children aged between 9-16 years reported lower levels of physical activity in comparison to those who used their smartphone less (Csibi et al. 2016).

What Can We Do?

Believe it or not, it’s not the end of the world. 

In fact, there are options out there for your children to thrive through the day-to-day of the 21st Century.

See, a lot of this “addictive” digital behaviour is actually driven by habit.

By habit, devices and social media platforms have positive feedback loops built into them. These feedback loops encourage addictive device behaviour that keep your kids glued to their devices. 

How do we come overcome this?

The solution: Go Cold Turkey On Technology.

It may sound crazy. We know – it’s almost impossible to snatch their phones out of their hands. Yet there still is hope!

A much simpler way to overcome this device mania is through the use of substitution. Get your kids involved in fun, rewarding and challenging activities.

This can be done by placing your child in a stimulating environment. Put them in an environment where they are surrounded by peers and are set to work on challenging tasks that require teamwork, camaraderie, trust and a touch of hard work! 

When it comes to a stimulating environment, there’s no comparison to the great outdoors. A venture into the great outdoors is a sure way to experience nature’s beauty first hand, instead of digesting their ‘friend’s selfies in their news feed – for once.

The supportive setting at Baptist Camping Victoria sites provides a beneficial environment to stimulate learning, growth and most of all, fun. Camping experiences have been shown to increase self-esteem, confidence, happiness, and attainment.

The best part about it? You don’t have to worry about the messages and information they’ll be fed during their experience, so you can rest assured knowing your child is one step closer to the kind of childhood you had!

The 3 Key Aspects Of A Successful School Camp

The 3 Key Aspects Of A Successful School Camp

Want to have your class inspired, stimulated and enchanted on your next school camp? Be the Hero of your classroom and earn the appreciation you deserve. Use the 3 keys of a successful school camp and you’ll even have the most challenging kids in the school enthralled and captivated! 

Acceptance

As you know, Inclusion and Acceptance are paramount in the classroom.

The American Psychological Association have revealed that exclusion may be as harmful as bullying, causing children to withdraw from classroom activities and suffer academically (Buhs 2006).

Acceptance sits deep within our values at Baptist Camping Victoria. Here, we strive to create a community where everyone truly belongs. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from or what your story is; we focus on making sure everyone feels included!  This is essential to ensure your class of kids feel at home whilst they take part in our camps and activities!

Belonging

Every child needs to feel as though they belong. This directly impacts the way students interact with each other, but also with their teachers.

To feel confident, happy and comfortable, children first need to feel part of the group (and not apart from the group). This sense of belonging can be grown in therapeutic and supportive relationships.

See, we’ve taken this to heart at Baptist Camping Victoria.

At Mill Valley Ranch, we do things a little differently  by making use of Equine Assisted Therapy to enable kids to overcome their own psychological hurdles. 

Horses act as an ‘emotional mirror’ for humans. What this means is that when someone displays emotion in their face or body, a horse will react with the same emotions. This gives children a chance to understand and deal with their own feelings (Scharrf 2017).

In addition to this, horses elicit trust. They are majestic, gentle and honest creatures. Students can build strong, trusting relationships with a horse, while increasing their own confidence. This relationship enables the student to feel involved, valued and learn to cooperate with others.

Experience

It’s not rocket science that the key to a successful camp is that children can have fun!

Most camps often experience a trade-off between ‘entertaining’ and ‘educational’ experiences. But, here at Mill Valley Ranch, we know the difference between a camp that will pass the time and one that will be cherished for years. The key to success is an integration of the two; fun and learning.

At Mill Valley Ranch, we delight your students through real-world experience-based learning activities. However,  the values deeply entrenched in our camp enable them to learn life-long lessons that extend beyond positive interactions in the classroom and trickle down to every facet of their life.

So what are you waiting for? Steer away from the dull, boring and mundane activities that have your students feel like they are preparing for the NAPLAN.

Transcend the ordinary and choose a school camp they will cherish forever with Baptist Camping Victoria! 

 

The Top 3 Things You Need To Know Before Booking Your School Camp

Booking a School Camp is never an easy experience.

In the market, there are so many choices and options available. At Baptist Camping Victoria, we understand how overwhelming and difficult it can be to make the right decision.

In your situation, we know exactly what it is like to be a Teacher.

You’re working hard in the classroom. You’re meeting relentless demands from parents. And on top of that, you’re doing your very best to meet the requirements of your workplace.

With all this taken into consideration, no wonder it’s difficult to even think about giving your kids a great time at camp!

We see a lot of teachers overwhelmed organising and trying to pull off a successful school camp.

However, more often than not, teachers are under-prepared (with no fault of their own) in ensuring that they know exactly what their school needs are.

To make it even easier for you, here’s our “Three Things You Need To Know Before Booking Your School Camp”

1. Know Your School Values 

Before you go investigating and googling all the things, get crystal clear on what your school stands for.

At Baptist Camping Victoria, we sit down with new schools and go about understanding your school values.

With these values in mind, we create a camping experience for your class that’s 100% aligned with your worldview and a great experience for your kids!

2. Check For Tailored Programming. 

After knowing your school’s values are aligned with your camping partner, the second thing you want to look for is tailored programming.

Ideally, you want to find a camp site that will tailor their program to suit your educational outcome.

Do you want to teach your kids through fun activities? Do you want them to explore the countryside on horseback? Or do you want your class the richness of our history?

Ask yourself questions like these to ensure that your school camp delivers on what your school is asking for. Then, find a provider that can give you a fully tailored program to meet it.

3. Learning Through Life Experiences.

And finally, we want the students to have learning through life experiences.

Aristotle once said “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”

Learning through life experiences teaches can not only assist you in reinforcing your school curriculum, it can also teach your kids the necessary life skills they can carry for the rest of their lives.

Do you need a hand in giving your kids the camp of a lifetime? Contact Us Now to speak to one of our friendly team today!

 

Deepening One’s Commitment To Faith Through Christian Camping

In this letter, Rev. Daniel Bullock reflects on his experiences at Camp Wilkin and discusses how Christian Camping brings families, friends and people together for the advancement of God’s Kingdom.

As a long-time supporter of Christian camping, I was both interested and encouraged to recently see the research in the infographic below around the strong connection between camping and faith commitments. It caused me to reflect on my own experiences of Christian camping.

I have personally been involved in Christian camps in a number of contexts over many years, primarily in leading youth and all-age camps and attending church family camps. These events provided great community with one another, the opportunity to go deeper on a spiritual and relational level and the simple pleasure of having fun and relaxation in an environment away from the usual pressures of life.

I have terrific memories of family camps at Camp Wilkin, Anglesea when my son was a young boy. These occasions provided an inexpensive way to have a holiday in beautiful surrounds and enabled my son, as an only child, to connect with many other children. As a family we greatly enjoyed and appreciated meeting new people and forging friendships during these times.  Another added bonus is that camps can be a place to find one’s life partner; in fact, I have observed over the years a number of camp romances that eventually led to the altar!

The data in this infographic clearly shows Christian camps are pivotal in people making faith commitments, indeed I have personally seen many young people commit their lives to Jesus through youth camps.

My son, now in his teenage years, attends youth camps a couple of times a year and always returns enthused and renewed in his faith and speaks of friends who have given their lives to Jesus. As a parent this is very heartening to see and hear. I would also add, that my own experience and involvement as a leader in the Alpha program shows me those who attend the weekend away (part of the Alpha course) are more likely to make a faith commitment than those who do the course but do not attend the weekend away.  

“These events provided great community with one another, the opportunity to go deeper on a spiritual and relational level and the simple pleasure of having fun and relaxation in an environment away from the usual pressures of life.”

There is something about the time and space away which seems to help foster a greater openness to the gospel and likelihood of conversion. And so it is with the opportunities created by Christian camping.

I would encourage all churches to invest time and budget in creating opportunities for their young people and families to participate in Christian camps or retreats. The life-changing impact and effect is undeniable both statistically and anecdotally.

As a pastor and in my current role as Director of Mission & Ministries of the Baptist Union of Victoria, I have heard many testimonies citing a Christian camp as the place and time of coming to faith.  Others commonly refer to a camp or retreat as a pivotal point in their Christian journey, a deepening of their faith or some other defining spiritual experience.

Let’s not miss the opportunities that Christian camps and retreats allow for expanding and advancing God’s Kingdom!

 

Rev. Daniel Bullock
Director of Mission & Ministries
Baptist Union of Victoria

Sample Post 5

Mea ei iriure reprimique, putant quaeque has ad. Choro iuvaret reprehendunt mea te, hinc invenire accommodare ei quo, quo eu dicant forensibus temporibus.

Duo ad eros nobis veniam, pri ei tollit ubique consequuntur, cu has nulla iusto iudico. Sed nihil primis adolescens ad, quot graece mei at. Nam ex indoctum adolescens, fastidii patrioque et usu, usu temporibus voluptatibus te. Nec ea affert denique, ex iisque labores civibus vim, cibo animal suscipit no eam. Cibo dicit voluptaria an sed, mel solum nobis perpetua eu.

Omnis labitur nam et, dicta offendit has an. In quo sumo zril scripserit. Suas ignota cu qui, vivendo mediocrem forensibus eam ut, harum labitur dolorum ei sed. Vim affert reprimique cu, ne eum denique interpretaris, ei errem quando suavitate quo. Solet audire scripserit in eum, eum harum nostrud suscipit ea.