Gabby Logan: 'It's lovely to share adventures with the kids and open their eyes to the world...'
Sports presenter Gabby Logan wants her children to travel the globe, but not the dark planet of the internet. She explains to Gabrielle Fagan how she protects them and keeps them happy
Gabby Logan's taken her children to far-flung holiday destinations since they were babies, but there's one place she doesn't want them to explore - the internet.
"I'm very protective of them over social media. You wouldn't let your kids wander around a park where you knew there'd been a spate of men 'flashing' or weird things going on, and yet that's the equivalent to the kind of risky 'reality' on some parts of the internet," says the sports broadcaster, who has 11-year-old twins, Lois and Reuben.
She's no stranger to the nastier side of the internet. As just one of a handful of women to present sport on television, two years ago, Logan, who has more than 400,000 Twitter followers, named and shamed a troll who told her to "get back to the kitchen".
"Our kids understand our decision not to allow them mobile phones, and they don't have social media accounts," says Logan, who's married to former Scottish rugby player, Kenny Logan. Their children were born following IVF treatment.
"I want to stay on top of their use of the web and know what they're looking at for as long as possible. My son would have a phone tomorrow if he could, as he's realised he's in a minority among his friends, so I let him use my phone to check out his friends' accounts.
"Of course, everything they're putting up is very innocent, but if youngsters are allowed to roam free in that world, the potential for them to be exposed to things that aren't innocent is huge. It's a potentially dangerous and treacherous journey if they navigate their way through the internet without guidance."
Logan is well aware that confronting that issue is one of the signs her children are growing up, and her role as a parent is evolving to match their changing needs.
"Now they're getting older, I'm aware that both of them need me around so much more," says Logan, who's presented a host of sporting events for Sky, ITV and the BBC, including the Invictus Games, 2016's Uefa European Championship, and The Premier League Show.
"When I went away for work when they were very little, it didn't really impact on them. Nowadays, although they're a lot more independent, I do feel they need me around more because they need emotional reassurance on occasions, as well as wanting to talk through things which have happened in their day," she explains.
Logan, an American Express Family Travel Ambassador, is keen to broaden their horizons by travelling with them as much as possible and the family are visiting Japan in April.
"It's our first time and it's going to be especially interesting as the Olympics will be held there in 2020, so it will also be really useful for me job-wise. We're visiting three cities in 10 days," she enthuses.
"Lois and Reuben started travelling young. We took them to South Africa when they were only six months, which, with the benefit of hindsight, was a bit ambitious. Lois cried for most of the return flight.
"When they were two-year-olds our flight from Majorca was delayed and we were stuck on the plane in the heat on the tarmac. After trying to entertain and control them for two hours, I was so exhausted I literally felt like I'd wrestled with a bear. At that point, I thought, 'Is it worth going anywhere?' but it gradually got easier. Both Kenny and I are determined to open their eyes to the world. You learn more from seeing a place than reading about it. It's lovely to share adventures with them."
Her own worst travelling experience happened during a trip to Peru with a university friend. "I got dysentery and was so ill I was convinced I was dying. I'd seen a film about the Angel of Death who comes and takes people by the hand when their time is up and I remember actually looking around for him," she recalls with a grimace.
"We travelled through the country by train for 10 hours, but I couldn't even sit up, so I saw nothing. When we arrived and got off, I tripped and fell into a sewage drain and then, once at our hotel, the toilet overflowed in the room. It was an unforgettably hideous time, but luckily I've only had good experiences since."
Logan, a former international gymnast, moved home and school regularly throughout her childhood, whenever her father, Terry Yorath, a footballer and later a manager, changed clubs.
"My early life was nomadic, so for me it was normal to regularly uproot and move on, but my children have only ever lived in one place," says Logan, who lives just outside London.
"A couple of years ago when I suggested we all live in France for a year - I would have commuted for work - they got so upset, begging me not to do it, that I abandoned it. I teased them that they were 'so boring', but they hated the idea of leaving their school and friends."
The glamorous 43-year-old, who keeps herself fit and toned with regular exercise, hiking and yoga, says, despite being in an appearance-obsessed industry, ageing doesn't bother her.
"I don't worry about age. When I turned 40 and realised I felt exactly the same as I had in my 30s, I stopped thinking about it. My energy levels are the same and I look in the mirror and luckily I don't see any huge, sweeping changes," she says happily.
Her priority, as well as her own health, is ensuring her children stay fit and have a healthy relationship with food. "They're both sporty - my daughter loves show jumping. I don't believe in dieting and I'm bringing them up to understand that eating nourishing wholesome food is important so they have enough energy to enjoy an active life and succeed in their activities," she says.
"I cook a lot and try to make our diet as varied as possible, even though my son teases me regularly by asking, 'Is it lentils again?' Actually, they're allowed treats just like most children, but they're aware how much better they feel if they eat well, and hopefully they'll stick with that as they get into the teenage years."
Gabby Logan is an American Express Family Travel Ambassador. For inspiration and ideas on how to pass your passion for travel on to your family search: Amex Family Travel