Won't somebody please think of the children! Excessive nannying and hysteria about children's welfare appear rampant in the world of summer camps. A story in today's New York Times says that "camps are increasingly concerned about being identified in photographs or comments on these sites [MySpace, Facebook, etc.], even innocuously" (emphasis mine).
Some camps are banning or limiting digital cameras, fearful that images could wind up in undesirable places online. Some are telling counselors, parents and campers to remove camp references from personal Web pages, blogs or social networking sites like MySpace or Xanga. ... Some camps, like Camp Fernwood, a girls camp in Poland, Me., are trademarking their names, logos or slogans so they can legally order others not to use them online. In addition, "We are asking local police enforcement for more of a presence and are beefing up internal security, all of that directly because of MySpace," said Fritz Seving, Fernwood's director. "We're bringing in a child psychologist to spend two days with campers talking about good decision-making."
Some camps are banning or limiting more electronics. Camp Runoia in Belgrade Lakes, Me., is suggesting campers bring disposable cameras, not digital ones. Camp Nashoba North in Raymond, Me., allows digital cameras, but is banning iPods that play movies because "a child or anyone could put something inappropriate on it," Sarah Seaward, the director, said. [...]
Counselor Jessica Scott, 22, made her Web presence camp-appropriate, removing a blog and making her Facebook entry available only to close friends. She said her Facebook page "was just pictures of being at parties with friends, not that crazy, but at camp they don't even want us to have pictures with a cup in your hand."
Another counselor was forced to remove a photograph from her website that showed her wearing a bikini and holding a beer. Because, you know, we mustn't let on to kids that women wear bikinis — and that sometimes, horror of horrors, adults might even enjoy an alcoholic beverage. Seeing such things would surely poison the children's innocent little souls.