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What tactics do you use to get your family to look away from technology in favour of real quality time? – £150 voucher prize draw NOW CLOSED

(153 Posts)
MichelleMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 24-Jul-14 13:31:15

DTAC have asked us to find out how Mumsnetters encourage their family to look up from technological devices to spend more quality time with each other.

You can view their TV ad here.

So, do you ever find that you can’t drag your children (or DP?) out of their room away from their gadgets? What tactics do you use to get your family to put away their technology away and spend more quality time together? Perhaps you always make sure that mealtimes are screen free? Maybe you bribe encourage your children to spend more time together by letting them choose fun days out to go on together as a family? Or do you resort to switching off the wifi at home when you want to get your DC (or DP!) away from their computer? Whatever it is we’d love to hear it!

Everyone who comments on the thread will be entered into a prize draw to win a £150 Love2Shop voucher.

Thanks and good luck,

MNHQ

MummyPigRules Thu 24-Jul-14 22:43:44

Educational apps on the iPad - so if they insist on taking it, at least it's a telling the time/practise letters/maths "game" they're playing. And then I pretend it's been a big treat. I am a mean mommy though.

Snog Thu 24-Jul-14 22:47:13

I think most kids would sooner play or do stuff with their parents than have screen time. My dd (14) would prefer to go out with me or do some art together but if I am busy she is often on her phone/social media.
"Lets all tidy the house together" as a family activity would not drag her away from the screen though!

HotPinkWeaselWearingLederhosen Thu 24-Jul-14 22:57:41

I ask them to turn it off.

justaweeone Thu 24-Jul-14 22:57:54

I have just booked a villa with NO wifi !!!
Dd 16 is so not impressed (says she is worried about getting her gcse results even thought they are being sent by text to her!!) actually she is more worried sbout not being able to iMessage her boyfriend
Ds 11 has realised yet
Dh won't really miss it
However I will, as love to mumsnet,etc
So ultimately I will ensure the whole family engages in quality family time!!!

Meglet Thu 24-Jul-14 23:01:10

I lock all the TV channels with the PIN if they're reluctant to stop watching.

Nintendo DS is always hidden in my room and only comes out when I say so. They know I will confiscate the Wii remotes if they go overboard.

Aethelfleda Thu 24-Jul-14 23:03:16

we have an hour's "tech time" : this can be spent playing minecraft/watching Stampy videos, or supervised Youtubes.

sometimes I "forget" to count the hour exactly, but they know the hour is a limit "not a target", and some days it"s less or none .

mawbroon Thu 24-Jul-14 23:18:20

Password set on laptop.
X box hidden away, only comes out on very special occasions.
Card removed from the Virgin box
Pin codes on phones.

DS1 is obsessed and addicted. He would do that stuff all day if I let him. It is particularly bad with it being the school holidays just now sad

missorinoco Thu 24-Jul-14 23:20:34

Mine are all smaller, which I strongly suspect makes it easier. No screens at the table. We eat in the kitchen where there is no television, so the children are used to not eating during meals.

Computer games are for weekends/holidays, and we are setting the oldest DC a limit of 1 hour computer time a day, to be used when he wants but only the 1 hour.

We try to get them out of the house on non school days weather permitting.

I had better keep an eye on this thread though, and scroll for older children advice to bear in mind. I would love to think now that I have set the tone it will continue, but that is likely to be sweetly naive on my part.

Cataline Fri 25-Jul-14 00:03:26

Frequent chats about appropriate levels of screen time seem to work for us- we also spend time discussing what DS has been doing with his screen time- usually playing minecraft, watching minecraft videos, googling superhero or animal queries and watching tv. It's reassuring to be able to have a conversation about his choices/ experiences as it's not then a secret world that we're shut out of. We find that DS is more willing to accept and go along with restrictions on timings and activities if he gets to discuss things with us- not to say he always gets his own way of course!!

Cataline Fri 25-Jul-14 00:04:05

DS is 7 btw!

MrsJayGatsby Fri 25-Jul-14 00:30:47

I cancelled the TV license and took the television arial away! Money is tight at the moment and I was fed up of constant CBBC and cbeebies, so the television went. I never watched television anyway, and now the kids have got used to it it isn't brought up at all.

As for phones & games etc, my children are only 6 and 4 so it isn't a huge problem, although we do have an xbox (their dad bought it angry). The Xbox controller is kept wayyy way up high on a shelf, and my son only gets to play when I decide; around once a week. They also ask for my phone to play games quite often but it is password protected so they can only play when i make it accessible, which happens around once every two weeks (usually when I have something i need to do that requires not being hassled wink).

This method of just making things completely unavailable works for us; we have the occasional tantrum but most of the time the children are happy playing role playing games, reading, drawing etc. I do understand that technology is going to play a huge part in their lives though, and while I definitely don't think children should be placed in front of screens all day every day, I do think it is one of those things that we have to get used to at some point; the fact that my 4 year old child knows how to open and play a game on my phone still seems amazing to me! I look at my children and think about their future and just how outstandingly different it will be to my own upbringing.

Making me rather emotional actually.

Greenrememberedhills Fri 25-Jul-14 05:19:27

It is a nightmare in our house, especially with DS3.

We are having a wifi free holiday this year.

I have had to resort to removing stuff as consequences for late night use.

I would kill for a special router where each device can be allocated an allowance of time and a cut off latest time.

Hotbot Fri 25-Jul-14 05:48:20

Camping walking bike ride, uno, reading.......
Saying "later on" a lot !!!

babyboo1and2 Fri 25-Jul-14 06:23:33

Ds (16) is very difficult to get off screen and this is something I am dreading over the summer holidays.

Dd (8) can be persuaded with art activities and food.

Lweji Fri 25-Jul-14 06:31:25

Dinner is at the table in the kitchen, where we have no tv.

Sometimes we have an official "no screen" time. But DS still happily leaves gadgets to play with football, inside or outside.

I agree with Hassle in that we can still have quality family time around electronics. We tend to hang around the living room all the time and talk when we like to. Even in the middle of MNetting. blush

AliceDoesntLiveHereAnymore Fri 25-Jul-14 07:39:48

I have to declare "no screens" and put all tech away so it can't be accessed. It was bliss when we went on holiday and had no ipad, no tablet, no video games at all. Just regular non-tech toys, books, and basic (cbeebies) television, plus the beach, playground, walks, and so on.

If I could afford to do that all summer, I would. I suppose taking a 6 week holiday is a bit extreme. grin

scrapaddict Fri 25-Jul-14 07:58:34

Be very clear about ground rules - i.e. if I have to take this away from you instead of you stopping when asked you will be banned from using it for x days.
There's always "Can I just finish this game" and we negotiate time for that and employ a timer so that we both know what's going on.
I'm not agin electronic games and agree they can be a positive shared experience but the children enjoy other activities so its not a massive problem

worldgonecrazy Fri 25-Jul-14 08:55:11

We have a very simple solution, we don't buy the technology to start with. Video days happen once or twice a week, when DD can watch 2 videos, and that's it.

Get out! To the work, the garden, the beach,anywhere away from the TV

Maddaddam Fri 25-Jul-14 10:09:34

Laptops have bedtimes and turn off automatically at 9pm til 7am.
If I think the dds are watching too much tv or on their computers too much I just waltz in and say TURN IT OFF. And they do. Or I confiscate the technology. I still do this sometime though the older 2 are teenagers now.

On the more positive side, I book them onto activity courses in the holidays (which they like), or send them to youth camp (they love that too), or just offer to take them out places.

But really I've always been firm about technology use and they're used to it and sort of agree so it's not a huge issue. Occasionally I'll print out one of those research findings about screen time and today's children being too sedentary so the dds can see what the issues are.

WarmHugs Fri 25-Jul-14 10:33:00

Mine are young, so can be easily persuaded to put the iPads away. I usually suggest something fun like the park if they resist though.

Keepcalmanddrinkwine Fri 25-Jul-14 10:48:28

Mine are 11 and 12, it can be a challenge but I usually win. I have ultimate control of the modem and will switch it off in the evenings if the eldest is pushing her luck (like last week's sleepover when I caught them all face-timing another sleepover at 330am!!!).

My top tip is to offer alternatives, not just say no screens and expect them to occupy themselves. I know they should but it will often trigger moaning. So if we're having a screen free day we will do some crafts, or play a board game, or go out.

I don't think my 2 spend too much time on screens compared to their friends though, so feel it is pretty much under control (for now).

poppy1973 Fri 25-Jul-14 11:29:25

We get the monopoly game out. The youngest loves this game and the older child will stop all technology and play the game as he loves to try and win. This game can often take the whole family a good 2 hours to play. No tv, no tablets. Bliss

BornToFolk Fri 25-Jul-14 11:38:20

No tactics, I just tell him when he's had enough! We don't have a lot of electronic devices though - just one TV, laptop, my ipod touch and DS has a Leappad.

DS (6) watches TV every day but usually only for about 30 mins before bathtime. He's allowed to play on my ipod at the weekends in the morning (so I get a lie in!). He'll play on the computer a little bit, usually games on the CBBC website. He sometimes plays on his Leappad instead of my ipod or if we're on a long train journey. Meals are usually eaten at the table with no screens, although we do a pizza in front of the telly meal about once a month on a Saturday night.

TBH, he'd much rather be playing football or doing Loombands at the moment than looking at a screen.

NickNackNooToYou Fri 25-Jul-14 11:44:54

I just say enough's enough and they turn it off. it's taken years of tearing my hair out to get to this point, but I'm glad I perservered DH has yet to get to this point wink

The XBox and ipad are used to praise good behaviour, any chat back/attitude/not doing chores and the rewards are taken away.

It works really well for us, DCs are 8 & 9. Absolutely no technology at the table, unless we are out and the can use our phones/ipod whilst waiting for food once the food arrives it's back to old fashioned talking grin

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