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Technology Killed the Family Vacation

Picture this: two huge glistening pools with double corkscrew water slides, in-water basketball, and a walk-in “shoreline” for little kids. Just beyond the pool, a lagoon for fishing, courts for basketball and badminton, putting greens for golf, and even a table for ping-pong.

What wouldn’t you expect to see in this picture?

How about two boys slumped in pool chairs pecking away, side-by-side, at hand-held electronic games? How about their older sister lying on a lounge chair, all plugged in and tuned out with her iPod? How about the parents surveying the whole scene with smiles upon their faces? Yep.

This was precisely what I saw last week during our spring break getaway in Scottsdale. It was one of those movie moments where the wonderful swelling soundtrack suddenly stops with a loud scratch.

I just don’t get it. Really I don’t. Please help me understand.

Why on earth would you bring your kids to such a fun place, with true “wish you were here” weather, and let them zone out with brain-numbing games? My mind was racing, itemizing all that they were missing out on: family togetherness, exercise, making friends, trying new activities, getting wet, hearing the birds …

Do you allow your kids to do this? If so, why? It’s one thing if they’re strapped into an airline seat on the way to a vacation. That I understand. But when the whole glorious world is spread out before them, isn’t it a parents’ job to encourage kids to go frolic in it?

That’s it for now. I’ll get off my soapbox. (And for those vacation-deprived moms who are still stuck on the amenities described above, book yourself a getaway at the Fairmont Princess; you won’t be sorry.)

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