Travel and video calls. Not such a great idea?

facetime birthday partyI’ve been away from home for a few days, involved with a conference in Las Vegas. The glitz, the noise, the lights, the cigarette smoke, the sea of femme fatales, the usual Vegas scene. It’s easy to immerse yourself in the Vegas experience and forget about what’s going on at home, except for the fact that a surprising number of conversations eventually became discussions about our children.

No more do we pull out our wallet and share photos, however, now it’s all digital, and smart phones make it a breeze to have the very best of your children’s photographs tucked neatly into your pocket. I’m the same, a proud Dad happy to share pics of my kids. In fact, I don’t have many with all three in the photo, so I often share a funny picture I have from when we were at Venice Beach, California, and they were all trying on glamor sunglasses. Still makes me laugh!

What I was surprised about on this trip was the commonality of my experience avoiding video calls and even sometimes checking in at all — especially around bedtime — to avoid the kids getting upset and realizing how much they miss the traveling parent.

Sure, my kids text message me, and I was having fun sharing photos from Vegas with my teen, A-, who is an avid photographer and is eager to experience Vegas for herself so we can go to some Cirque du Soleil shows, but we actually didn’t ever talk on the phone (that’s so retro anyway!) and we certainly didn’t go for a FaceTime chat, even though she and I both have iPhones.

Which makes me wonder: how many parents actually are using FaceTime or Skype Video or even a Google Hangout to chat with their children when they’re on the road or otherwise away from home? I bet it’s vanishingly small, and even those parents with the best of intentions quickly realize that it’s not worth having the little one burst into tears and wail about “I miss you, Daddy!” when things were going so smoothly just before…

So what’s the scoop, parents? Do you use any sort of video tech to stay in touch with the kids? And how’s it go for you?

3 comments on “Travel and video calls. Not such a great idea?

  1. I use mine all the time! I would use it more if there were a wifi connection everywhere I go! I love to face time with him so that I can see his face, his expressions, when he tells me how his day at school went. Or, he uses it to show me the image of what he is telling me about! Much better than just a text message that says “Good” when I ask him how his day went. I would much rather have his smiling face to look at then a text message 🙂

  2. I use Skype sporadically at best when I’m away from the kiddos. Since I don’t have internet at my apartment I usually check in w/ hubby & kiddos When I get off work to get the days events and to see if there is anything I need to take care of immediately. In addition my 8 yr old (I have a 17, 15, & 8 yr old) is a huge screen hog & no one else can get a word in edgewise when we Skype lol.

  3. As a divorced dad with a 10 yr old who is living with his mom, I Facetime with my son every night before he goes to bed. Often he’ll Facetime me during the day to share some very exciting news. Considering that he lives 20 min away and we spend a great deal of time together, I’ve never had “I miss you” video call with him. In fact, it has been one of the best things to help us stay connected.

    Before Skype and Facetime he would just call me every night with an old school phone. I’ve noticed with Facetime, he talks more about his day, asks me questions about mine, shows off school work, his pets, and other creative things he’s doing. He’ll even ask to see one of my pets. One of my favorites is when he has a friend over and he get’s them on the Facetime call too. It can get pretty funny. When he’s with me, we Facetime together with his grandparents who live in FL.

    I feel it’s the next best thing to being there in person and the connection we both feel is stronger than just a phone call.

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