If you’re anything like me, the idea of going off the grid during a vacation is more stressful than dealing with the day-to-day challenges we come across when in the office. Which is precisely why I don’t do it.
This week I’ve taken some time off with the family for a little R&R, and to nobody’s surprise I have my BlackBerry, iPhone 3GS (don’t ask why I have both a BB and iPhone – that’s a topic for another day) and ultra-portable notebook computer with me.
Given that I run my own business, people generally understand that staying connected means I can stay sane while away from the office. But what surprised me more than anything, is just how connected my kids also need to be.
In taking some time to explore the resort we are staying it, I realized that my Generation Z kids actually belong to a new class – the addicted generation. At home they each have a computer, watch more TV than I would like, and love playing games on their Nintendo DS or Wii. While on vacation, if it’s not the DS or iPhone that’s grabbed their attention, it’s the TV or ‘net access on my hubby’s Acer Netbook (yep, he brought his with him too!).
Within minutes of leaving their connected world for a walk in the park (literally!), my kids appeared grumpy, agitated and full of anxiety. Why? They didn’t have something digital in their hands or a screen in front of their eyes to distract them from the real world. While my kids aren’t willing to admit it, I see these symptoms as signs of addiction – a net addiction.
More than anything, today was an eye-opener for me. A reminder that the ever-present opportunity to connect isn’t a good one. Our kids are less active than they’ve ever been and our society is more overweight than ever before. Is this the destiny for today’s addicted iGeneration? I certainly hope not.
As a parent, I’m going to do what I can to ensure my kids embrace the real world. I’d love to hear your tips, tricks and thoughts on the topic.