Sometimes giving kids screen time is the only way to keep them quiet. That’s why moms and dads everywhere are collectively freaking out over the electronics ban on inbound flights to the U.S. and U.K.
On Tuesday, the U.S. government announced that all electronics (other than smartphones) must be stowed in checked luggage on incoming flights from 10 international airports in the Middle East and Africa. This includes Egypt’s Cairo International Airport, United Arab Emirates’ Dubai International Airport, and Saudi Arabia’s King Khalid International Airport.
Following this announcement, the U.K. followed suit with a similar ban of their own.
On Twitter, parents are now panicking over how they can survive a flight without any distractions for their kids.
what if tablets are the only thing that shut their kids up on a plane? Asking for a friend https://t.co/EM36cJe5u9— Katie Martin (@katie_martin_fx) March 21, 2017
Really looking forward to a 10 hour flight without the iPad option for the kids. Thanks. Well thought-out, I'm sure.— Amy Cervini (@amycervini) March 21, 2017
So now what? People can't take an iPad on a 20 hour flight to entertain their kids? A Kindle to do some reading?— Bohemian Rhaafaty (@TheAhmedRaafat) March 22, 2017
— Katie (@greenkate) March 21, 2017
Others noted that the ban seemed like a form of torture for both kids and fellow passengers alike.
Making kids sit through a 14 hour flight with no screens to distract is a form of terrorism.— Emily of the State (@EmilyGorcenski) March 21, 2017
However, some argued that kids survived without tech on flights just fine in the “olden days” and that parents should spend more quality time with their children, anyway.
"MY kids need their tablets for this flight". What do you think happened in the olden days? Kids survived on flights without tech— Ellen (@EllenofCroy) March 22, 2017
@jonostrower I strongly feel requiring the iPad to entertain kids during a long flight NOT be used as an excuse. Spend time with your kids instead.— sahirs (@sahirs) March 21, 2017
While these arguments are valid, parenting expert Alyson Schafer reassures that “the screen is not the enemy” as long as children are using tech in a well-rounded way.
“We all have favourite activities and preferences for how we spend our time. No one should dictate the exact formula for living,” she says.
According to Schafer, as long as kids are actively learning and creating with technology, then screen time isn’t a problem. “Encourage your children to be online producers, not just consumers,” she says.
But now that electronics have been banned on some flights, what's a parent to do? Flip through the slideshow below for some DIY travel game alternatives for kids, or visit here for 20 ways to keep you and your kids happy while travelling.