"I left the iPad at home when we went camping. Big mistake. Huge."

“We’re going camping. We don’t need to take the iPad.” As soon as those words left my lips, I should have known how deeply foolish they were.

Yes, yes, nature. Yes, yes, family time. But camping, like pretty much absolutely anything else in the sphere of parenting, can only be enhanced, not reduced, by the presence of distracting technology.

Some of you will be doubting that statement. You’ll be thinking it’s a tiny domestic tragedy, a lack of imagination. You’ll be thinking that in your day, kids just enjoyed the outdoors, ran around until it was dark, and then fell in a stinky heap and passed out.

You’d be thinking like Andrew Daddo, who gave me a hard time about my technology-detox. Listen to our Nailed and Failed conversation, here:

But you’d be wrong. Because there were about three times A DAY during the camping trip that I looked at my six-year-old and my three-year-old and thought – WHERE’S THE FRICKING iPAD?

Times like when it rained, and didn’t stop. And I thought, ‘If it keeps on raining, the kids will have coloured in every page of their colouring books, “read” every one of the stories I brought, staged a beanie-boo/dinosaur war with every single toy they have. They’ll just start setting fire to things.’

Matilda makes her own fun on camp - sans iPad. 

And like the times when the kids had all eaten their dinner and the grown-ups were sitting down in camp chairs to eat their own, red wine in hand. Those were times when a well-placed Disney movie, with all the kids piled up in one of the tents like a heap of tired puppies, were essential.

And like the time on that long, long public-holiday car journey when the i-Spy ran dry and the only thing keeping my son from wailing all the way home was the eternal promise of a Happy Meal. 'There'll be one around the next corner, Billy. Noooo... that's on the other side of the road."


I practically break out in hives at the idea of what would have happened if one of them had got sick.

I feel like maybe this wouldn't have happened if there had been an iPad in the back seat. 

Daddo does not agree. He argues that if my kids hadn't found solace in other families' technology, the kids would have been talking in their tents in the dark, and possibly falling asleep.

He thinks that there's no place for screens in nature, or in the back of cars on long journeys. I get the distinct impression that he thinks I'm a weak parent for pining for the glow of the blue light on a cold night.

But I will not be shamed. If a kid has spent all day -ALL DAY - running around in nature getting muddy and wet and discovering the joys of spider-dodging in the log-pile, there's nothing wrong with plugging them into a little electronic entertainment to close out the day. Right? RIGHT?

As long as they're not endlessly playing Candy Crush while the surf is rolling and the sun is shining, what's the problem? Movies are ART, people. iPads are ART RECEPTICLES.

And next time, I'll be packing mine.

What do you think? Would you take technology camping? 

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For the full episode, incliuding what happens when no-one wants your kids at their wedding, should laptops be banned at school, and what Andrew Daddo got wrong this week: