Family travel can be challenging, particularly when you are flying some distance with kids who are used to being kept entertained all the time. Unfortunately, we have become a society in need of instant gratification, and technology is the perfect fix!
About a year ago I got a new iPhone and kept the old one as a Wi-Fi enabled device. Since Trevor was constantly wanting to play games on my phone, letting him use the old one made sense. But before long, instead of borrowing the phone, he became quite possessive of it and started calling it his phone. Although we have all agreed that he gets no screen time during the school week, and only one hour a day on weekends, it still seems like we are constantly battling over this issue. He is a master at finding ways to increase his time, and honestly, sometimes he just wears us down.
When it comes to travel, most often all rules fly out the window! I know we are not the only parents who struggle with managing screen time. I constantly see kids on airplanes, in restaurants, at parks, in malls – the list goes on, playing on smart phones. It’s the ultimate babysitter, even better than television! What scares me most is that I believe we are setting up a generation of kids to fail in life. They may be able to garner top scores on Pixel Gun, but can they self-regulate their frustration and act appropriately when things don’t go their way? I am not so sure.
I know technology is not going away. In fact, the future is primed to include all sorts of wearable technology. But we need balance and ways to communicate to our children the importance of limits and boundaries specific to technology. In time, I am sure some company will invent a wrist bracelet that does the job for us.