That was the question posed to me the other morning live on BBC Breakfast. According to a recent survey, the average parent these days packs no less than five gadgets for their kids on summer holiday. And with some experts warning this leads to lack of quality time as a family, their advice is to go cold turkey with the tablets.
Could I cope with a holiday technology ban? No way! On the Breakfast sofa I went head-to-head with entrepreneur and digital detox evangelist Tanya Goodin (disclaimer: she was actually lovely, and it was a good-natured debate!). I listened to Tanya's gripes about why handing kids an ipad on holiday is depressing, and her stats on how leaving the gadgets at home leads to increased happiness. It sounded great in theory, however as a realistic, busy (read: knackered) mum I had a slightly different perspective!
This summer, my family holidayed in Portugal. Sun, sea, a pool and local attractions should have been everything my children needed to banish boredom and create their own fun. But our luggage contained (count them) a regular tablet, a mini tablet, a smart speaker, and two smartphones – all of which the kids accessed regularly. Do I wish they'd channelled the Famous Five, blissfully unaware of modcons? Well, yes. Did I want a fail-safe way to manage meltdowns so that we adults could enjoy our holiday too? Also, yes.
For better or worse, that silver bullet came in the form of a password-protected, fully-charged and volume-controlled gadget. Call me a chicken, but I wasn't up for testing Tanya's digital detox theory just as we were several thousand air miles from our trusty technology (that scene from Trainspotting springs to mind).
Don't get me wrong, I set limits on gadget time at home - especially now they're back at school. When the kitchen timer pings after half an hour of app games, my children know it's time to down tools and choose another activity. Everything's more relaxed when you're abroad, though. And nothing's guaranteed to burst that holiday bubble more than the enforcement of strict parenting rules.
Debating the issue on Breakfast was good fun. For me, live telly will never stop being exciting. And I loved hearing fellow parents' views (both sides) on Twitter and Facebook. So will I change my views on kids and technology on holiday? Have to say, I'm doubtful. Because when you've played 'shark attack' for hours on end in the pool, dealt your tenth hand of top trumps, and eye spied your way through the entire villa, nothing beats allowing the kids a bit of boredom-busting tablet time. Besides, how else are we grown-ups supposed to enjoy our local wine in peace?!
What do you think? Would you enforce a digital detox on holiday? I'd love to hear!