"Why choosing to digital detox on a family holiday is total madness."

Thanks to our brand partner, Telstra

If you’ll cast your mind back to what it was like when we were little, trapped in a void of nothingness in the back seat of the family car driving who knows where to visit who knows whom, you’ll remember it with nostalgia.

Wasn’t that wonderful when we drove to Queensland for the bicentenary, or that road trip we took down south to visit Aunty Gemma?

Those were the days…

What you forget, is what you did to entertain your little selves during those excruciating (for the parents) hours of travel. Sure the first half hour or so was fun. The second half hour is normally spent complaining, and after that you were left to your own devices to try and figure out how to entertain yourself.

A few months ago when embarking on a family holiday, I thought that maybe it would be nice to have a bit of a break from all of the devices my three children had accumulated over the young lifetimes. Watching them carefully pack all of their device chargers made me think of all the wonderful sights and sounds they’d miss while glued to their screens.

Plus, I miss my kids. I miss them all the time. I miss them whenever they aren’t with me and when they are with me I want to look at them and talk to them and hug them and kiss them.

Regardless of whether or not they want to.

Jo Abi's three children. Image: supplied.

But by casually steering them away from their devices I realised all of the ways in which technology helps us on holidays via maps, weather apps, automatic local time, photo and video function and easy access to family and friends.

I came to realise a digital detox during a family holiday wasn’t the best idea in the world, just as dietary detoxes aren’t a good idea for most people because they leave you craving the thing you can’t have, and put you in the worst mood.


Just as a digital detox is prone to do, particularly when children are involved.

Holidays are not the time for a digital detox. Image: iStock.

I remember accidental digital detoxes when I was little courtesy of blackouts during storms. As long as they didn’t last too long – an hour or two of board games played via candlelight – they were fun. Any longer and we’d start to go a little crazy, especially if it was night time and we couldn’t run outside and play.

Now you can’t even do that. During a recent blackout we simply waited until our devices ran out of charge and then charged them on our laptops until they ran out of charge.

We wanted to enjoy our holiday – even though it was just a quick trip to regional Queensland – and enjoying it meant keeping in touch with family and friends, Googling details about sights we were seeing and taking so many photos, and filming so many videos that we can look back on.

Plus, I love seeing the photos the kids take on their devices. They are always interested in completely different things than their dad and I are, and their photos reflect that.

Cut down on devices if you need to but detoxing is unnecessary. Technology is here to stay and I’d rather teach my kids balance rather than a feast or famine mentality. And it’s pretty handy to be able to look up directions while on a family holiday, regardless of where you are in the world.

Then, sometimes at night after a busy day of sightseeing we’d all separate into our little corners of the hotel room for some necessary downtime which I think is as important for families as time spent together.


We can each access our preferred shows and videos, podcasts and books, saving us having to pack DVD players and board games as well as heavy books that would put us way over our luggage weight allowance.

This post was written with thanks to our brand partner Telstra

Here are 11 of the best road trip movies for you and your family to watch in preparation for your own family holiday road trip.

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