Why do you think parents feel compelled to share updates from their trips while traveling with kids?

Just like our children, parents also want to connect and share, and social media is one way many of us do this. We see others posting about their vacations and adventures and we naturally want to be a part of this. Receiving those likes and comments is affirming. It can make us feel like we belong and are seen by others.  

As posts on social media have become more sophisticated, even adults feel that pull to be “relevant,” interesting or novel. Vacations are an ideal activity that check all the boxes. 

Is sharing your trip on social media always bad, or are there some benefits?

Certainly there are benefits, but I think a lot of this has to do with your intent for sharing and with whom you are connected on social media. This is a lovely way for extended family and close friends to stay connected and get a glimpse of elements of your life that are important to you. It also gives parents a history in images. How many of us smile when we see that picture come up in our feed that reminds us of a post we made a year or more ago?

What are the downsides to sharing every aspect of our lives on social media? What are the benefits of not posting to social media when traveling?

One of the primary drawbacks of documenting every aspect of our lives is the act of taking non-stop pictures may actually take away from truly being present in the moment with your family. You miss some things when you are behind the camera/phone. Additionally, most of us don’t just post and then close. We then start scrolling and before you know it, you’ve spent 30 minutes mindlessly looking at other people’s vacations instead of enjoying your own. Finally, I would encourage parents to think about the example they want to set for their children. When the adults agree to put down their phones, it makes it much easier to ask the same of our children.

What advice do you have for parents who want to have a social media-free vacation?

I would say start slow. Wait until you are home and pick 1 or 2 images that everyone in the family agrees can be posted. I mention this because children will have opinions about what is posted about them, especially as they get older. Also, the act of coming together to make a decision about the post gives the entire family an opportunity to reflect on your experiences and hopefully laugh together.  

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