A cellphone on a table

Pausing digital lives on family days out [AD]

August 12, 2019

This is a paid partnership with Sky

There is nothing better than packing up the car and heading off on an adventure. As a family, we try to make sure that we are spending time together more regularly. If at all possible at least once a week we will head over to the local woodlands, visit the coast, head to a local community event or head off on a more adventurous day out at a wildlife park or theme park.

Whilst we have become accustomed to packing a picnic and ensuring that we have suncream and hats. As well as buckling ourselves into the car for however long the journey may be. It seems that we haven’t managed to learn how to switch ourselves off from our digital lives whilst we are out and about.

Whilst technology can play a helpful hand whilst we in the car providing us with up to date travel alerts on the sat nav. Or providing a wide range of music and playlists on Spotify. This is really where it should stop. We are heading out on a family day out, surely the whole point of that is to spend time as a family and not glued to the screens of our phones, jumping as each new notification pings through. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to manage the families access to the internet be it at home or on a family day out… this is where the new Sky Broadband Buddy app comes into play.

Introducing the Sky Broadband Buddy

Back in May Sky released their brand new Sky Broadband Buddy, as part of their new Sky Broadband Boost pack. Giving parents the ultimate level of control over their family’s internet usage. Something that can be utilised in a number of different ways as part of family life. From screen time allowances (both children and adults), filtering the content that everyone is able to access according to age levels and the individual person. As well as rewarding chores completed etc with additional screen time. However, the big one is the ability to pause the internet!

A cellphone on a table

Pausing our digital lives

Now, I’m not talking about Peter Kay’s nana who thought that if she paused her Sky TV to go to make a cuppa that everyone would have to wait until she was back to watch the rest of Coronation Street. Pausing the internet for an individual or the whole family at the touch of a button so that their own digital life is on hold whilst you eat dinner or in our case enjoy a family day out.

Whilst I work in the digital sector, I like to kid myself that I’m not on my phone that much whilst we are out with the children. However, it’s only when you stop reaching for your phone as no notifications have gone off do you realise that actually, I do tend to have my phone in my hand quite often. Be it scrolling through my Instagram feed or checking for comments/emails etc. Quite sad when I think about it. So when I was challenged to enjoy a family day out with the children and pause our digital lives using the Sky Broadband Buddy app I was intrigued to see how this would affect our family dynamics – especially as Roo is on the verge of becoming a teenager and WhatsApp, Snapchat and TikTok are three important things in her life.

A close up of a cell phone

You’re about to pause the internet

Setting up the Sky Broadband Buddy is really easy and you can simply scan a QR code on the other devices in the family to connect them up to the parent account – or as I like to call it the control panel of power (insert evil chuckle!). Sky Broadband Buddy features work in and outside the home across 3G and 4G as well as WiFi.

After downloading and setting up the app, I thought it was important to test out one of the key features of pausing the internet. To which I’ve found a new powerful sentence that I’m being to love the more times that I see it appear on my phone screen – You’re about to pause the internet. Such an amazing feeling that I a) have the option to switch off from the digital world and b) have the ability to do it for the whole family.

A cellphone on a table

Setting off for a family day out without notifications

After hitting that magic pause button one Sunday morning as we loaded into the car. It was time to enjoy a family day out without notifications, which was something that caused a stir from the moment we set off. The sat nav still worked but there were no traffic alerts – I reminded everyone that at least we weren’t sitting with a hardback edition of the UK maps from the AA like my mum used to do when we made the journey from Cumbria to Norfolk in my youth. Then, of course, there was the issue of the music, not so much of a problem for me as it’s my mum-mobile so I had a great selection of CDs in the glove box that I was more than happy to listen to.

Whilst we usually utilise 4G for travel and music, we don’t tend to check our phones for messages or endless scrolling of social media in the car. Prone to motion sickness after reading or staring at screens puts us off doing anything other than singing, sleeping or spotting yellow cars.

No digital connection – let the fun begin

After the initial travel grumbles were set aside it was time for a family day out at a wildlife park. Once the initial unloading of the car and through the entrance gate is a prime time to check phones for any notifications that we’d missed en-route. Except there were no notifications, a brief lapse in memory as at least one of use tried refreshing our feeds to see if they hadn’t been pulled through – before the realisation that digital access had been paused and it was time to enjoy offtime away from emails, social media and everything else.

A woman holding an animal

Whilst there were times when we each went to search for something online, be it to find the answer to something that one of the children had asked about, research where to eat after our day out or to look up the price of a book in the gift shop on Amazon (I always like to see if I can buy it cheaper elsewhere).

However, on the whole, whenever a phone appeared throughout the day it was for one of us to capture a snapshot of the day. In fact, I would say that we took more photos from our day out than we would usually. Probably due to us looking up at the world around us and being more present in the present rather than looking down at our phones. We laughed and chatted more as a family and there was no ‘just one minute, Mummy just needs to answer this/send this/read this (delete as appropriate).

A man holding an animal

Time to look up from your phone

Visit the Sky website to find out more about the Sky Broadband Buddy app – maybe you too will find that there is a wider world around you if you only look up from your phone.

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