Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Techno, Techno, Techno, Tech-NO!

This counts as 'tech' in our house
We are preparing to embark on our first holiday abroad with the children.  It's just a short hop to Spain but with the associated travelling to and from airports we're potentially looking at a 6 to 7 hour journey door-to-door.

Which means that the children need to be entertained.  6 to 7 hours is a long time to keep children quiet and happy but outside of the unavoidable screens on the aeroplane, I don't intend to give them a piece of tech to do it.  

You see I'm a bit of a laggard when it comes to technology.  I didn't get an iPod until about 4 years ago (and of course, immediately wondered how I ever lived without it) and no longer have sat-nav in the car but I am very much a tech-lover.  The launch of the Microsoft Surface excites me, I am teetering on buying an iPad purely for the 'Paper' app, and I couldn't get through the day without my smartphone.  With the kind of work/life blend that I have I can't not be connected to email when I need it and I love keeping in touch with people on Facebook and Twitter but this does not extend to wanting to put gadgets into the hands of my children.

Now of course we have a television, and of course the children are allowed to watch it but I would prefer that the majority of gormless gazing at screens and furrowing of brows is left to the grown ups in our house.  There is an impressive but annoyingly wonky line that has developed between my eyebrows thanks to this and I am frequently told by the children to "stop looking at your phone!".  And I think that's the way it should be - it's right that they should think distractedly looking at a screen when you should be paying attention to the people in the same room as you is wrong.

That's not to say the children don't access technology outside of our home.  The most depressing thing I read in our son's otherwise brilliant pre-school report was that he had good mouse control.  I couldn't give a monkey's uncle whether he can power up a PC, work a mouse, manipulate a touch-screen or pull the back off a server; I'd have been happier if they'd told me he can make a farting noise by sticking his hand under his armpit.  It is probably less than 5% of the time he spends doing other outdoor, physical, interactive, educational, fun stuff but it does make me a little bit sad inside that it is believed that children have to have some form of computer skills when they're not even old enough to write their own names.

Wow - that feels better, are you still here?  Yes?  Good.  Thank you for listening.

So, back to the journey.  How on earth are we going to cope?  We're relying on good old-fashioned pens, colouring books, Top Trumps, and in a nice twist; a card-based version of Angry Birds.  And if that doesn't work, we'll be conducting a mass sing-a-long on the plane.  Wish our fellow passengers good luck!

Soundtrack: No Limit - 2 Unlimited


  1. For a low tech travel entertainment system, you can't go wrong with a pack of Fink cards!!

    Good luck :)
    Alan C

    1. Thanks Alan

      Well we just about made it apart from a mini-nervous breakdown from our 4 year old son on the flight home about having to play Trumps "again!" and if I'm truthful there wasn't a day where the television didn't go on at some point - our patience and ability to cheerfully play Uno is not that strong! Will be putting the Fink cards on the Christmas list :)