Should we have a mandatory tech time-out?

Our next road trip is going to take a while: We’re driving from Orlando to Gatlinburg, Tenn. and the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.

That’s 10 hours packed in our high-mileage Honda Accord, which we dearly love. The kids are thinking of it as a full day of uninterrupted game time.

We’re not so sure.

Once we get to our vacation rental in Gatlinburg the children will have plenty of distractions. We have an amazing itinerary of activities – fishing, riding the aerial tramway, walking through the world’s largest underwater tunnel at Ripley’s Aquarium and exploring the arts and crafts community.

But it’s the car trip that worries Mom and Dad. Is it a good idea to let them play on an iPhone for 10 hours straight?

We could be proactive, taking a technology break and playing a short game every hour or so.

For example, last Christmas, my sister gave us two sets of Family Talk
cards, with questions that help you get to know your children. I also have a set of “Would You Rather?” and “Mad Libs” card games. Those would offer a few minutes or more of technology-free time.

The kids like using big words, so I think we might play the dictionary game (also known as Hugger Mugger, Balderdash or Fictionary).

How about a sing-a-long? Just kidding. We would never do that to our kids.

Or we could just impose a mandatory time-out. Surrender those phones, kids! (We sometimes do that under the guise of, “Your phones need to be recharged — hand ’em over.”)

At least it will interrupt the glazed eyed, neck bent, headphone-enclosed trance I see whenever I look back at my little ones.

Then again, I can’t entertain them for the whole trip. The technology does serve a purpose. Thank you, Disney, for making movies you can watch 100 times without getting tired of them (if you’re five years old).

We need your help on this one. Do we just hand over the technology and hope for the best, or impose limits?