Veteran Mentors in the Media: Gold Coast war veterans boot kid’s tech addictions with nine day camp

Courtesy of the Gold Coast Bulletin | written by Sally Coates

Who better to whip tech-addicted kids into shape than Australian Army veterans?

In an effort to help address technology addiction in youths, Veteran Mentors is offering Junior Leaders Programs, where kids are taken out to the hinterland for a tech-free nine day boot camp.

The program is run by a group of ex-servicemen and women, including Former Australian Army Combat Engineer Troy Methorst and former Corporal Glenn Filtness, who through skills they have learned during service are dedicated to helping kids become accountable for their behaviour.

“Mobile phones and other technology are definitely part of our lives but often, with uncontrolled overuse, we can become ‘addicted’ very easily, and teenagers are especially prone to this,” Mr Methorst, who served in Afghanistan and East Timor, said.

“On our program we take the phones and other devices away from the students for the entire 9 day program. We see them disconnect from technology and reconnect with life.

“We then work with the teenagers and their parents to develop healthy lifestyle habits that they can implement back at home.

“We find that this approach allows them to effectively manage technology and phone usage to become healthier and happier.”

Mobile phone and general technology dependency among children is becoming a growing concern on the Gold Coast.

The Bulletin reported in May that Gold Coast parents supported total phone bans in schools after Pimpama State Secondary School introduced its own ban.

Eighty-eight per cent of readers voted in favour of bans to tackle phone addiction and cyber bullying.

Overseas, the French Government this month introduced a law banning the use of mobile phones at schools for children under the age of 15.

The intensive program, held by Veteran Mentors in a remote corner of the Gold Coast hinterland, is designed to help children build resilience, discipline and leadership — sans technology.

The Veteran Mentors also do motivational speaking and smaller team building sessions at schools, as well as parent workshops. The next program is set to run from 29 September to 7 October.

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