Do you take your family’s electronic devices on holiday? I know we do. While you may have the philosophy that holidays are family time and ban devices for the duration, we have found that taking our devices suits our holiday style.
The teen has a phone which she uses to keep in touch with family and friends, and the younger children have tablets. They enjoy using their devices and they don’t seem to disturb our quality family time at all. Sometimes they can be a real boon – have you ever been camping during a week of rain and tried to keep four children occupied? There are only so many card games you can play! I know some will judge us for this, but we do what works for us. Like at home, as long as device time is managed effectively, then it shouldn’t have a negative impact.
Keeping your family safe
Online security and safety is a continuous concern, particularly with our younger children who are just learning the intricacies of the internet. School discuss issues such as cyber bullying, and awareness around personal safety. At home, we educate our children about not sharing personal information, and about the dangers of advertising to the world that we are on holiday. For a family of travel bloggers, not sharing pics of where we are and what we are doing right now goes against our instincts, but we resist!
Protecting your family using security software
As the kids are growing older, they are taking more control over their own digital activity. This is fine with me; I can’t be everywhere and they have to learn to look after themselves, both online and in the physical world. In the meantime, security software can reduce the risk of them using inappropriate and unsafe websites and chatting to people they don’t know, or using sites which leave their devices vulnerable to viruses and malware.
A cloud based package such as Kaspersky’s Security Cloud which adapts to new threats can cover multiple devices – great if you need to protect the whole family. For example, Kaspersky’s Security Cloud Family covers up to 20 devices, which is more than enough even for our device-loving family of six. It may not stop the kids posting holiday pics on the internet and we will need to continue our two-pronged attack of technical fixes complemented by education and awareness.
Protecting your devices when travelling
Travel adds the extra issue of your devices going missing or getting damaged. Away from the safety of home, devices can easily become a target for thieves or get mislaid in unfamiliar accommodation.
These are my top tips for protecting your devices when on holiday
- Leave them in your accommodation as much as possible. You don’t need tablets or laptops when out doing something fun for the day. Phones maybe, but anything else, leave behind
- Make good use of the accommodation’s safe where one is provided. If not, store your devices and other valuables somewhere less obvious than on your room’s coffee table or in the top drawer
- Upgrade device cases to solid ones before your holiday so they’re less likely to be damaged when on the move
- Mark your devices with infrared pen or Smart Water so if they are stolen, they can be recovered quicker
- ALWAYS lock your devices with a pin code or password to prevent thieves from using them and accessing your personal data
- Check your travel insurance or home insurance covers device damage or loss. If not, consider taking out separate device insurance
Controlling screen time when on holiday
Children are spending an increasing amount of time on the internet. The children’s commissioner recently compared internet time to ‘junk food’ and talked about children ‘bingeing’ on the internet and social media sites.
On holiday, like at home, screen time may need to be managed to provide children with a healthy balance of activities. Holidays are a good opportunity to get your children away from devices and do something more active. Alternatively, it’s nice to chill out and spend some time doing nothing but chatting on social media or playing your favourite games.
I asked some other family bloggers their attitude to devices on a family holiday……
Emma of EmmaAnd3 lets all her children take their iPads. She says “Mine all take their iPads. Erin (7) was only allowed hers in the evening when we were in the bar. Dyl (13) had his by the pool but he was reading etc so I think it’s fine as he was relaxing. To keep them safe I have splash bag thing to stop them accidentally getting wet.
Cat of Cat’s Yellow Days does too and says “Rather than specifically limiting screen time on holiday we just don’t take them out with us during the day or for meals but the kids are allowed them while we’re chilling out in the room/villa. I think a bit of quiet screen time in an otherwise busy family day is a nice way of relaxing for us all. “
Cass of The Diary of a Frugal Family has a more liberal attitude to device use. She says “Mine are older and they’re allowed to take them with no limits as they’re quite sensible. I relax on the sunbed with my kindle and they relax their way. They might use their devices to read, take photos, keep in touch with their friends or play games and I’m ok with that as they’re old enough to know that there’s a time and a place.”
On the other side of the fence, Maggy of Red Ted Art says “My kids are still younger so it’s easy: no devices on holiday. I find a clear “nothing” much easier than a limited time per day. They just forget about it that way. I make a conscious effort to stay off my phone too – save for taking photos.”
What do you think? Is holiday a time for devices, and what do you do to keep your children safe online?
Disclosure – This is a sponsored post