When the screen goes black

By Tom Holland October 19, 2016

I jumped in my rental car, late for a meeting due to a flight delay. In the car, I typed my destination into the navigation device and began following the directions.

‘Take a slight right on Redwood Street.’

When I missed a turn, it flawlessly recalculated my route.


I watched the system with excitement as I gained a minute or two here and there and realized I might even arrive at my destination with time to spare. My eyes were focused on the road and my ears on the electronic voice guiding me on my way.

When I rolled up to the destination, I was taken back. It was a gas station. It could not be right. I jumped out of the car and ran into the gas station to confirm the address. Once inside, I learned my problem. I spelled one of the words wrong. I was on the wrong side of city.

Frustrated, I pressed the screen of my navigation device maybe one too many times to reset it, and the screen froze. This was before smart phones had maps on them, and there I was: lost and feeling utterly helpless.

What do we do when the screen goes black? Do we freeze? As someone who was raised during a time prior to the digital age, I found myself flustered for a few moments and then I was able to pull myself together to solve the problem.

However, what if you can’t recall a time when your phone did not have every answer you could ever want? How would you respond? Most importantly, how would you respond if you were our kids today?

This week, I am excited to grapple with this subject head-on as the opening keynote speaker at the Big Sky Global Tech Summit (http://www.bigskytechsummit.org #bsgts16) At the summit, we will be looking at how we can help our kids have productive and needed outdoor experiences while also balancing the role that the digital age has one their lives. I am excited to have Wilderness Adventures as a part of the conversation about this important issue!