Parents, with all the tech out there, it seems easier to travel with kids. They can stay entertained with their devices, so they seem happier. But are they doing things that could be unhealthy or put themselves (and their families) at risk? I have 4 tips I want to share with you to help keep you and your kids safe when you travel.
Sitting in airports, driving in shuttles, and even the plane – it’s all super boring for kids. So I get why it’s easier to just give them unlimited screen time. But, as we’ve known since the invention of the television, too much screen time is bad. How bad? One study found that an extra hour of screen time every day is linked to poorer grades at school, while another pointed to the potential addiction borne out of spending significant chunks of time watching screens from an early age. My advice is to actually engage with your kids. Bring a card game onto the plane. Lead by example, stay off your phone and tablets too. Talk to them and maybe even do some word searches together.
The next thing to watch out for is the harmful content online. While there is a wealth of constructive possibilities out there, the Internet is also a impending Pandora’s box of harmful content such as violent videos and pornography. Kids are blank slates to a certain extent, and it’s their formative experiences and the things that they are exposed to that will shape them for better or worse. To protect against things that could do damage to young and enquiring minds, many parents implement kiddie-friendly search engines that block out harmful content from their results.
With technology such a ubiquitous part of our lives, one solution which many parents do is the implementation of tech-free periods of time. That is, a space or period of time where smartphones, tablets and computers are not allowed to be in use. This can work when you travel too! Try to find times when you can play a game together or talk to each other during your travel. These times should be used to foster and teach children the value of interpersonal communication. This is a great way to squeeze in more time with the family, encourage healthy habits such as reading, as well as to teach kids that taking a break from technology is sometimes not only advisable, but necessary.
The final thing you need to be careful about is privacy. Recheck the privacy settings on your children’s social media accounts. Remind them not to say in real time where they are or give specific clues to their location. The last thing you want are either thieves knowing you are on vacation or stalkers knowing your location. I’ve personally seen people posting on their public social media accounts (with no privacy settings in place) pics of their boarding pass with name, airline, arrival city, and everything. Be careful. You are on vacation to spend time together, not to broadcast to the world like a Kardashian.
What would you add to this list?