I bought a $65 screen-free camera to take more photos of my kids. It's helping us make memories.

Girl with a Camp Snap camera
The author bought the camera for herself, but her kids love taking photos with itCourtesy of the author
  • In 2023 I saw an ad for a screen-free digital camera that cost $65.

  • I had been wanting to use my phone less around my kids, but also didn't want to miss cute moments.

  • The camera is helping me reduce my screen time and has gotten my kids into photography.

As a working mom, I've been struggling with my screen time. On the one hand, I want to set a good example for my kids and not be on my phone all the time; on the other, well, it's really hard to do.

I started to notice that even when I didn't intend to look at social media apps, every time I took my phone out to document something cute my kids were doing, I would get sucked into a loop of checking my favorite apps.

It would go something like this: My kids would be doing something funny, and I'd take my phone out to document it. Then because I was already looking at the screen, I would quickly check email, maybe send the photos to my parents via WhatsApp while also reading new messages, then jump to Instagram to see what's happening there, get sucked into looking at videos of whatever the algorithm fed me and suddenly I had wasted 15 precious minutes with my kids.

To break the cycle, I impulsively purchased a screen-less digital camera called Camp Snap that I saw in an Instagram ad. I figured I could capture the moments without getting lost in my phone.

At $65, it was an easy impulse purchase

It was exactly what I needed: something without a screen.

The setup is pretty easy. The camera comes with a USB cable for charging and downloading photos to your computer; other than that, you just need to turn it on, and you are ready to start shooting. The camera has a small photo counter, which, so far, I've gotten up to 125 photos.

To download the photos, you just connect it to your computer, and it shows up as a drive; you drag the ones you want to keep into a new folder and then can delete the ones you don't want.

When I purchased the Camp Snap back in November 2023 there was only a yellow option available. Since then, they've added many cute colors, including pink, aqua, and forest green.

My kids are into the camera

While I purchased this camera, I was more than happy to share it with my kids when they asked me if they could try it — as they do with anything I touch these days.

Because it's not a fancy camera and it wasn't super expensive, I wasn't stressed about them breaking it or messing up the settings. Also, because it doesn't have a screen, they stay focused on taking photos rather than pressing buttons.

Dad playing with daughter
The author's kids take turns taking photos and while the quality of the camera is not excellent, it's more about the memoriesCourtesy of the author

The result has been that I get to see the world through their eyes in a way I hadn't before.

The Camp Snap has given them hours of entertainment. They chase the dog for photos, they pose for each other, they get weird and creative. And, I'm going to say it one more time, all without screens!

The photos are not the best quality, and that's more apparent if you take them at low light (the camera does have a flash, but the photos still come out grainy), but that's not the point — at least not for me. I love seeing what my kids capture on the camera and don't care if they take 100 photos of the couch because I can easily delete them when they are done using it.

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