I don’t know if it was my desire to follow the Olympics but the big digital detox I try to achieve on my summer holidays wasn’t so effective on our recent Mallorcan holiday. During the day, I did leave my iPhone and Kindle in the room, sand, water and heat not being the best conditions so it was just in the evenings when I would log on thanks to the free Wi-Fi and use a few key apps and tools, Twitter #teamGB, bbc.com, photos apps and Spotify, not many tools but it meant that I was on online more than I have ever been on holiday.
On our holiday, I really noticed how digital our world is. As a language teacher, I would encourage my students to visit the country and immerse themselves in the culture, watch tv, listen to the radio etc.. Yet this year we had BBC1 and 2 on our hotel television and listened to Chris Evans at breakfast. Fortunately it was wall to wall Olympics coverage and therefore an added bonus, but in other years I’m not so sure I would have wanted the normal schedules, I go on holiday to escape daily life and who doesn’t like to watch a local soap opera and guess the storyline through exaggerated gestures and sniggers at the ropey costumes and set. Another observation on holiday was the number of children entertained by their tablets in restaurants, some eating and playing, a real pet hate of mine. For me, family mealtimes are very special times to talk and laugh together. I’m the first to admit the children had tablets to keep them entertained on the flight but they used them rarely during the holiday.
I can’t help but feel that the proliferation of digital media means we are losing the opportunity to feel and live the culture of the country we are visiting. We ate out each evening in the local town and it was a challenge to find authentic Spanish meals among the pizzas and pastas and yet when we found those restaurants the food, its freshness and taste were superb. Every restaurant seemed to have the same children’s menu sausage and chips, burger and chips, pizza etc.. We asked for the children to share an adult’s meal and it was always readily agreed giving them a little taste of Spanish specialities. They both loved tapas and Little Miss always is an amazing eater she will try and enjoy all food. Eating out in restaurants meant that the children tried a few words of Spanish too which makes the MFL teacher in me very proud.
Our holiday showed that its becoming more difficult to do a digital detox without depriving yourself of some of the things you like to do. Our digital world has evolved and in some ways this is brilliant, no longer do I need a Walkman and cassettes or CDs, camera, a pile of books as they’re all on my iPhone and Kindle. However its all about balance, so we need to feel comfortable putting our devices to the side and playing, talking and relaxing. We will never remember the game we played on a tablet but will cherish the memory of the mass water fight, being clapped on to a slide and doing gymnastics in the pool.