By Lincoln McElwee
There has never been more access to social media from a barrage of outlets as there is now. Whether a phone or netbook or notebook or mini-notebook or laptop or desktop, just to name a few, social media has made it almost impossible to go without some sort of device to connect to one another with. Though for many parents this may be a sign of the times or an indication that we are spending less time together face-to-face with our friends and family, it can also be a useful tool when it comes to traveling and travel ideas for capturing those moments of pure delight with your family.
Kids are now more tech-savvy than their parents with social media apps and the latest phones and gadgets. They know specs and speeds and what plays the fastest videos. To filter this information and make sure you have a handle on what your children are learning and using their devices for, get actively involved! Travel can help with this.
One way of spending more time with your children on your kid-friendly vacation – or even before the vacation – is to sit down with your children and explain what the boundaries of using this technology will be on the trip. At the same time, however, you can have your children prepare a mini “tutorial” for you as to what are the best ways to capture those precious moments. Though this might seem like a chore, many kids will relish the idea of teaching something to their parents, of holding some knowledge that their parents don’t even have. This in turn makes for a wonderful time of share-and-tell at home where parents and children can learn from each other about various social media apps and what the best ways are for not only capturing great moments and media but saving those moments that will surely take place on family-friendly vacations.
Another important thing to remember is that the technology itself is not the important thing here: it is the quality time spent together on vacation with your family. Many parents exasperate themselves trying to keep up with their children and the latest technology. There are even some parents that have more apps and social media outlets than their own children. But again, the most important thing to remember is that these items are just means to an end, and that end is sharing the actual, lived moments with your children and loved ones. A daily excursion, family meals together, walks around the resort or theme park – these are the times that bring your family together!
It is important for your children to be up-to-date with the technology that will enable them to excel in the classroom, but not all technology is necessary or even worthwhile. Be sure to draw the line with your children as to what they can use and when they can use it. Just because your children have more access than you does not take away from the fact that you are the parent!
In this way, your vacations will turn into fun learning experiences where children and parents experience social media together! Posting pictures online and creating slideshows, making small movies and uploading digital media to watch for a later date all play into this. By setting the boundaries and knowing what you are setting the boundaries for, you will be able to better make use of social media and to make sure that your children, both during the vacation and after the vacation is over, are making the right use out of social media!