Is it OK to let Kids Have Screen Time While Boating with the Family?

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For many boaters, boating is a time to unplug and connect as a family. And there’s lots to do to keep kids entertained and enjoying that time together when you’re on the water. Your kid’s screen time is replaced by cruising, swimming, tubing, fishing and all the other water activities that allow them to interact in the real world.

As parents we like to limit screen time with kids in general due to the negative effects associated with too much time looking at screens and devices. But kids will be kids, and asking them to fully disconnect from their devices may not be reasonable – like those times after hours when the sun goes down and everyone is unwinding.

How reasonable is it to let kids have screen time and use electronic devices on boats? Maybe there are some negotiable limits or it’s better to put aside smartphones altogether?

Let’s try to figure out child safety and screen time on board.



Key Factors to Consider With Kid’s Screen Time on Boats

The debate surrounding screen time for children is not a new one. On one side of the debate is the concern that too much screen exposure could negatively impact children’s growth—leading possibly to obesity troubles along with poor sleep routines and weakened ability in forming good social connections.

When it comes to boating specifically, there are several factors to consider when deciding whether or not to allow kids to have screen time. Here are some key factors to consider so you can decide for yourself whether children’s entertainment is worth it:

Safety First: Safety should always be the top priority when boating with children. Before heading out on a boat trip with your kids, ensure they are equipped with life jackets and fully understand the essential safety guidelines. If allowing screen time could potentially distract children from important safety instructions or awareness of their surroundings, it may be best to limit or avoid it altogether.

Age and Developmental Stage: The appropriateness of screen time can vary depending on a child’s age and developmental stage. Younger children may have a harder time understanding and adhering to safety guidelines while using screens, whereas older children may be better equipped to balance screen time with awareness of their surroundings. Parents should consider their child’s individual maturity level when making decisions about screen time on the water.

Educational Opportunities: Boating offers kids a variety of learning opportunities where device access could be useful. Your tablet, for example, could teach you all about the ocean’s ecosystem right from your deck chair. And with VeePN you can study remotely, even if you are abroad. Picture children soaking up knowledge about fish species in the deep blue sea. (Also keep in mind that you may have problems accessing media content while on the water. You can try to bypass the YouTube TV location. There are instructions on how to trick YouTube TV location in a separate article.) They could also get hands-on with navigating ships virtually and understand important safety protocols via interactive digital platforms. If used mindfully, screen time can enhance the boating experience by supplementing children’s understanding of the marine environment and boating safety.

Balance and Moderation: As with any aspect of parenting, balance and moderation are key when it comes to screen time on the water. While screens can provide entertainment and educational value, they should not overshadow the experience of being outdoors and spending quality time with family. Kids benefit from blending screen time with other activities. Letting them swim, fish, or explore outside ensures they don’t become overly dependent on gadgets for entertainment.

Setting Boundaries and Limits: To keep screens as a positive element during boat trips, it’s important to set firm boundaries and manage how much time is spent online. Parents may choose to design specific times or situations when screens are allowed, such as during long stretches of travel or in case of inclement weather. Communicating these expectations with children beforehand can help prevent conflicts or misunderstandings.


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Final Thoughts

Whether it’s okay to let kids have screen time while boating with the family depends on a variety of factors, including safety considerations, age and developmental stage, educational opportunities, balance and moderation, and setting boundaries. When parents take the time to weigh their options and decide thoughtfully, they can use screen time to boost everyone’s overall experience out on the water. You want those days on the water to stand out—moments of connection, discovery, and excitement. It doesn’t matter if screens are involved or not; what counts is making memories.

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Editorial Staff

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This article was written by BoaterKids.com editorial staff.
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