Is Video Killing the Family Vacation?

Dr. Corinne Masur


Yes it is, says Nick Confalone, the man who became famous for making funny Vine videos of his infant son.  In a New York Times article on the topic, Mr. Confalone said of his constant videotaping: “I’m pulling (my family) out of the moment to try to create a version of that moment.”  Rather than enjoying the time with his son, Mr. Confalone realized that he had been taken over by the desire to create something for others to watch and enjoy. And rather than actually being with his son, he was trying to create a visual document about his son for his family to watch later. “Video,” he said, “is such an exact record of a moment that it threatens to replace the memories you have of that moment.”

And then there are the risks involved. Another father quoted in the article admitted to crashing while zip lining because he was distracted by trying to videotape the moment.  And after giving his young daughters helmets with GoPro cameras, he realized that he had so many hours of vacation videos that no one in his family would ever watch most of them.

A study published in the journal Psychological Science found that when subjects were asked to either look at objects in a museum or photograph the objects, the subjects showed highest recall for the objects observed without using the camera.  According to the study’s author, Linda Henkel, “When the subjects took a picture, it was like they outsourced their memory.”  It turns out that using the camera to record the object somehow removed the subjects from the experience of observing and remembering the object.  The implication here, of course, is that recording your children’s activities may do the same to you.

So parents: Time with your children is precious! Whether it’s vacation time or home time, experience it directly through your own eyes and ears and hearts. Don’t try to capture it all on film and don’t try to preserve it all for posterity (or YouTube).  Just be there and enjoy. And maybe take a picture or two for later.

One thought on “Is Video Killing the Family Vacation?

  1. Thanks, Corinne for reminding us all of the importance of REAL RELATIONSHIPS! Both parents, and sometimes grandparents observe to me that they are being told [by concerned others, of course] that they are “not doing enough special things with their children and grandchildren…” My response is the same: BEING TOGETHER, truly engaged – talking, playing, listening to music, even watching a video that you are discussing – are all TRULY special ways of being together. It is these moments that collectively form those memories that our children carry with them of times together.


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