As you know, we drive a Toyota Hi Ace. The back section of the bus is pretty basic ~ even though the web site says this: “Offering contoured seating for 14, the Toyota HiAce Commuter Bus is virtually a luxury coach! With individual bucket seats and two seater bench seats throughout, all forward facing, and all with three point ‘lap sash’ seatbelts, it delivers exceptional driver and passenger comfort. Front passenger and driver seats also feature slide adjustments as well as offering ample head, leg, shoulder, and hip room. What’s more, the fifth row of seats folds up, giving you extra luggage space at the rear”.
What it does not mention is, that is it basically a shell and does not offer any luxuries such as AC charging points for any thing in the rear section.
The front interior sound system is good ~ though we have an older model that does not have all the new features such as Bluetooth, iPod, USB input etc. It does however had a AC (cigarette lighter) charger; however can you honestly imagine how I am meant to have several portable DVD player cords running down the aisle to the back of the van?
On the other hand the Hi Ace can be purchased with extra accesories (at a price) ~ a Audio Visual Unit with Satellite Navigation++ ~ this of course would be useless for the rear passengers to watch or see anything as this screen is tiny.
Having these expensive electronic games and consoles, or any form of technology would of course entertain my children for hours in the car; however can you imagine how many I would have to purchase for all my kids. iPods retail between $200 to $400 at various stores. Ebay is no cheaper; Nintendo DS – are around $250 times those above by seven.
iPhones, iPods, game consoles, MP3 players, Smartphones, can be very expensive. Giving a child one of these to play with or as a toy does not happen in our home. Perhaps when our children are older and more responsible (14-15yr olds) they may be able to have one of these ‘toys’, however any earlier it is not necessary. (Our 14yr old daughter only just got her first digital camera & a portable CD player with just a USB port. I remember getting my first “walkman” ~ cassette player back when I was her age).
We do have one iPhone in the house however; it is hubbies business phone. The kids have a bit of a play (when they get a chance) under supervision. But in the back of the car, we would worry that it will be damaged by the little ones and one device is not enough to go around the 7 children.
The same goes with our computers; these are used under supervision and for homework only. My eldest daughter is in Yr 8 and only uses the computer for homework and assignments. When the younger ones have had to get info off the Internet or do a project, I will just print off the required information for them.
There are many dangers online today (porn in particular); kids can not help but look at a screen and children should NOT be exposed to this. Hence the reason why they need to be more mature using the computer and Internet.
So perhaps you are now thinking we deprive our kids of fun and excitement without technology to entertain them. In fact, they actually are not missing out on a thing. They are not spoilt, and may not have every Knick Knack other friends might have our kids know it will be a real treat when they have earned their iPod or MP3 player in the future (it also helps that we live on a property where the children can run around, kick a ball, explore and enjoy the ‘great outdoors’ too).
We do however have a Xbox 360 ~ Kinect; this is only allowed to be played on weekends (or days off school & holidays). What I like about this is ALL the children can be involved – even the 3yr old. There is no snatching or waiting for a turn on a contraption; on the Xbox they know to take it in turns and one or two people can play at once. The only downside to this game is the competitiveness that comes out between the siblings.