Much has been said about the pervasiveness of screens in today’s environment. They are everywhere. And more and more people are admonishing their negative effects. The science is clear (in case you’ve missed it, interactive screen use is widespread and harmful to our brains). Parents are fighting for healthy screen use habits for their children and themselves. More people are seeking out retreats, trips, and routines in which screens are turned off and phones are put away. Being screen-free is like a breath of fresh air for the mind. But you won’t find many people going about their day without a smart phone in their pocket. The tool is too powerful, too useful, and too ubiquitous. In many ways, living without a phone would be more than inconvenient, it would be downright challenging. Phones are a big part of the human experience.

Recently, the reach of phones has extended to younger users. Tablets are used to pacify babies, toddlers, and teenagers alike. Phones are the most important social forum for young people. Gaming consoles have evolved to be more realistic and enthralling. Beyond sedation and entertainment, phones are a key component of school curriculum—students develop useful skills needed to be competitive in college and the workplace. While this seems like it is leading to a statement about why phone use is bad (and that is coming later), the truth is that phones are good too. They are immensely useful tools. By and large, phone use seems unavoidable. The problem, especially for our children, is more than phone use, it is phone misuse.

Misuse could be described as screen use that negatively affects normal human processing. Screens are overstimulating. Games and social media are intentionally designed to be addictive. Scrolling is infinite. Given this, it is no surprise screen use has skyrocketed. While there is no consistent criteria or definition for screen addiction, we can all agree that the seven hours a day (not including time in school or work) spent by Americans behind screens is too many. Seven hours a day. That statistic is dire given screen use’s correlative—and many would say causative—relationship with anxiety, major depressive episodes, and ADHD symptoms. We need to make a change.

Are screens inhibiting normal human processing? When misused, there is no doubt that the answer is yes. Fortunately, the solution is clear as well: put the phones away!

Begin with whatever you are willing to take on. Eliminate screens from mealtimes. Certainly, keep off phones while driving! Turn your phone off an hour before going to sleep (your pineal gland will thank you). Better yet, always keep it out of your room. Set a good example around children. Beware scrolling or gaming as a means of numbing emotions. Have Sunday be a “no phones” day. Enable screen-use limits. Protect family time.

Best of all, send your kids to summer camp. Give them the gift of a community that is completely screen free. Let them calm their sympathetic nervous system with time spent in the forest. Allow them to experience friendships face-to-face. Away from screens and immersed in camp, kids learn social skills and build emotional resilience. Each day campers are active and moving—so essential to a developing brain! The list goes on and on.

Since 1935, we have known that summer camp is good for people. Today, we realize that kids need camp more than ever.