Unfortunately, one of the best words to describe our world right now is “disconnected.” This, of course, is ironic because technologically speaking we are supposed to be more connected than ever.
Some of the best stories from my childhood, the stories that shaped my life in many ways, come from road trips. When I was a kid, a few times a year we’d load up our red 1986 family Suburban and take off for a road trip. My sisters and I spent countless hours in the back of that car talking, singing songs, arguing (as kids do), working out our differences, and generally learning what it means to be family. But, the thing I remember most from those trips was playing games like “I Spy,” “The License Plate Game,” “Tic-Tac-Toe” and, our parents’ favorite, “The Quiet Game.” (I always lost that one pretty quickly!)
One struggle I hear parents talk about often is the difficulty in finding the balance of how much technology is okay for their kids. Too often, their kids are in the back seat of the car (or in the living room) with their heads buried in their individual devices, not experiencing any interaction. However, the extreme alternative option of banning technology isn’t too appealing either. A while back, inspired by the dilemma of these parents and my childhood memories, I set out to create a solution.
A few months ago, my company released The Road Trip Games App for the iPhone and iPad. The Road Trip Games App brings back some of those classic games we played on road trips, and gives them a new digital life. The best part is that none of the games can be played alone—kids (or adults!) have to pass their device back and forth and actually interact with each other! We included games like “Tic-TacToe,” “Dots & Boxes,” “Hangman,” “DrawIt!,” “The License Plate Game,” and even “The Quiet Game.” (You’re welcome, parents!) We wanted to see if this app could bring back some of the interaction that today’s families seem to be missing.
As we tested the app with kids from ages 5 to 15, we were shocked to find just how much they enjoyed the interaction in these simple games. Last month, we brought a few families together for a promotional photo shoot and they all sat around playing the app long after we were done taking pictures. A few weeks ago, my wife and I went to dinner with some friends and gave their kids my phone to play with. They played The Road Trip Games App for two and a half hours and were laughing the whole time! Perhaps most unexpectedly, we’ve seen that a lot of the parents have been enjoying playing this game with their kids, their spouses, or even their friends both on the road and at home.
Obviously, the issue of technology and connectedness is a complex one for our families (and for our world). And while one app isn’t going to solve these problems, maybe it can let us put them aside, allow us to experience a few moments of connectedness, and create some memories that will provide stories for years to come.
You can check out The Road Trip Games App at http://www.roadtripgamesapp.com.