Teens turn their backs on gadgets for charity

TEENAGERS are dependent on technology in modern life, using gadgets to keep in touch with friends, listen to music and even read books.

But these youngsters from Gainsborough Youth Group (GYG) gave up all mod cons for 24 hours in the name of charity.

The No Technology Sleepover at Gainsborough Methodist Church saw all mobile phones, iPods, computers and televisions locked away.

Even the luxuries of heating, hot water and comfy beds were withdrawn.

The task was designed to make the youngsters think about children less fortunate than themselves.

And they raised sponsorship of £160 for Gainsborough charity Homestart, which provides support and advice for families.

“I did the sleepover for the third time this year. And I keep taking part because I think it is really important to keep reminding yourself how lucky you are, and to keep challenging yourself,” said Sian Abbott, 18.

“We did lots of crazy activities which really helped to keep our minds off the fact that we didn’t have our phones.”

“Most of all I missed being able to have a cup of tea. I thought a lot about how my phone and Facebook aren’t really essential and how refreshing it was to properly interact with people face-to-face, rather than being distracted by what’s going on through a screen.”

Reece Cronshaw, 11, said his mum had dared him to do the sleepover because she thought he would not cope.

And she was right. Reece was found to be hiding his mobile phone in his pillowcase and it was swiftly confiscated.

“Overall I found it quite easy but I did miss my Xbox,” said Reece.

Chantelle Robert, 14, said she noticed how often she was asking people for the time. But not because she was bored.

The youngsters occupied themselves with traditional ways of passing the time, like playing games with little or no props, telling stories, doing crafts and drama.

Youth group leader Sarah Brown said: “It was a real pleasure to share my time with this group and bliss to be detached from the rumours and angst on Facebook, the endless emails and the call centres ringing.”

“But I did miss having a camera to capture the fun we had and the caffeine to keep me going in the morning.”

Sisters Rebecca Aisthorpe, 15, and Rachel, 12, said they missed heating, their beds, laptops and their cat.

“We have a lot - some kids don’t have the same facilities as us. We don’t really need all these devices we have, we’re very lucky,” said Rebecca.

To find out more about Gainsborough Youth Group visit www.freewebs.com/gyggle