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This Dad Took His Son to Mongolia Just to Get Him Off His Phone

Mr. Clarke felt like he was losing touch with his son Khobe, who was always on his phone. He partly blames himself. He told the BBC, “If there's any addiction that we have today as individuals and as a family, we (the parents) perpetuated it. They're cool devices, but we began to feel like they were controlling us and not vice versa.”

The issue had come to a head a few years before, when Clarke went with his family to a remote ski lodge. The area had no cell reception. Khobe admits that he was angry that he had to go, and miserable because without Snapchat or Instagram, he had no idea what his friends back home were up to.

That got his father thinking about the role technology had come to play in his family life--and about how to fix it. For a long time, he had dreamed of travelling across Mongolia on a bike. Why not do it with his son? It wasn't an automatic hit. Khobe says, “I said ‘no’ pretty quickly. But it kind of turned into this fun idea … it became such a thing of preparation that it was very exciting to go do it.”

Over the course of the next month they travelled more than 1,367 miles across Mongolia by motorbike, horse, and camel. Khobe said, “I think the whole time I was pretty consumed by missing my phone. What am I going to do, look at the stars and twiddle my thumbs?” But he also says getting to know his dad was worth it, especially the time they spent off the road in their tents or yurts just cooking and bonding. Khobe said, “I was surprised that when he's away from a work environment and family that he acts maybe closer to my age.”

Possible Preaching Angle:

Father’s Day; Parenting; Technology – You don't have to go to the other side of the world just to bond with your children. Parents can plan activities during the week, and especially on vacation, that are screen-free times. Take your children on walks, play a board game, or watch a movie together. It is also important for parents to model screen-free behavior for their children and spend unplugged time with them giving them focused attention.


Robin Levinson-King, “This Dad Took His Son to Mongolia Just to Get Him Off His Phone,” BBC News (1-2-20)

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