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NOW CLOSED: To DS or not to DS: Children and Gadgets in School Hols: Wii or Non? Talk to E.ON - you could win a £50 voucher

(98 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 11-Jul-12 10:11:13

We've been asked by E.ON - the energy provider, to find out your views on your child(ren) using gadgets (or not using them!) during the summer holidays.

By gadgets we are talking about games on a handheld device, like a Nintendo DS, apps on a tablet (like iPad), games or apps on your phone, on the computer/ laptop or on the Wii or Xbox.

For example....

Does your child have a set limit on gadget time a day / a week? Why is this? How long? Does this work for you and them?
What tips would you share with other parents about how to handle gadget use with children? How do you generally view use of these gadgets? What do you think are the benefits - to parents and to children? And what do you think are the disadvantages? (to parents and children)
If your child doesn't use a gadget like this please say why - it is down to you or them?
What sort of games or apps does your child play with? Do they play with other children? If so, do they socialise when on it?
Does the game ever become reality? For example - do they act out the game in real life? Do they/ you integrate the game characters into other activities eg making an Angry Birds cake or playing Skylanders in the park?


Everyone who adds a tip or story on this thread will be entered into a prize draw to win a £50 voucher for Capital Bonds - which can be spent in over 160 retailers.

Please note your tips and stories may be used by E.ON in a media release - your MN name will not be used.

thanks, MNHQ

EauRouge Wed 11-Jul-12 10:19:45

There are loads of free educational apps that you can download, 3.9yo DD1's favourite is one where you have to find and identify shapes.

I downloaded an app for my phone so that DD1 can play her games without accidentally phoning the emergency services, am I allowed to name it? It's called Kid Mode (feel free to delete the name if you want to, MNHQ).

We tend to save it for moments when she's very bored (queue at the supermarket,m for example). At home she has lots of other things to play with if (ha!) it's raining. Electronic toys and gadgets are OK but they need active play as well.

MegBusset Wed 11-Jul-12 10:29:39

Mine are 3 and 5 and don't have their own gadgets but do play games on my iPhone, DH's iPad and my laptop. There are loads of great little games on the iPod/iPhone appstore, mine love Robot Lab, Tozzle and Pocket Phonics. On the laptop they are only allowed to go on Cbeebies or Poisson Rouge.

DS2 is generally happy to sit and watch while DS1 controls the game.

I limit their time on these to about 45 mins a day; during the holidays we are likely to be out and about most days anyway. They do come in very useful when I'm trying to cook dinner without having to sort out endless squabbles!

Shouldacouldawoulda Wed 11-Jul-12 10:38:15

Both DDs have ipod touches that they use for game playing, either using downloaded apps or via wifi.

They are great for journeys and replaced their DS Lites. They are also a great way to get them out of the midday sun and into the shade.

I don't feel the need to limit screen time as they are good at doing that themselves. They prefer to play with other children or each other, read, swim, go for walks, do arts and crafts etc. but the ipods are another thing they like to play with, rather than the only thing.

They are also good as cameras and video cameras- they will make up shows and film them.

DS 10 and DD 8 have gadgets, but don't use them much, they prefer Lego or playing out on their bikes. I'm generally happy for them to play whenever, as long as school work, tidying etc is all done, but they're not that interested.
Sometimes they play wii beach sports for 20 mins, but then they're off again.
I on the other hand can waste hours on my iPod touch MNing or playing Lego Harry Potter.

Ragwort Wed 11-Jul-12 12:32:20

DS (11) has a PS2 that he paid for himself and he buys the odd sports game to play on it. He also uses the family computer but has to share with DH (who works from home) and me (very important time spent on mumsnet grin) so in reality he does not get that much time - max. 1 hour a day.

He doesn't have a mobile phone or anything else and as no one in our family really knows what an app is blush we don't have them.

I guess the sports games on the PS2 do become some sort of reality as DS is a very, very keen sports player - that is how he spends most of his Summer and most of my time is spent chauffering him to matches.

poorbuthappy Wed 11-Jul-12 14:00:32

We have a variety of gadgets (including a leappad thingy which is never used) and don't actually limit the time on them because I think depending on what is being played and with whom, changes the benefits of the gadget.
I often play Mario with my eldest on the WII, and we have a brilliant laugh.
She also often plays games on my phone (eg Flow which makes her think) on her own.

You tube is a godsend on my phone when I just want everyone to stop for a minute to let me do something important.

You have to be on top of it though, I know that left to my own devices I would sit on my backside and play away the day, so can only assume that my kids would be the same. blush

ouryve Wed 11-Jul-12 16:08:29

DS1(8) plays Mario Kart or puzzle games on his DSi and likes to use the computer to explore google maps, play online games or creates something with lego digital designer. We limit sessions to 60-90 minutes, usually, and insist he takes at least an hour's break in between. We don't allow him more than about 4 hours in total in any one day and none after tea.

He also has an MP3 player that he's free to use when he likes, except at mealtimes. It's rare he wants to use it too much and then that's limited by battery life, anyhow.

He sometimes tries to recreate the things he has "built" with Lego Digital Designer with his own lego hoard.

Roseformeplease Wed 11-Jul-12 16:32:50

My son is teaching himself to code on his laptop but is limited to three hours a day. He earns extra time by doing less pleasurable things. If left alone he would neither sleep, eat nor use the loo so he needs to be monitored. We have a Wi and DS but neither child is interested and both were only of interest for a few days. They both like being online to watch films etc and the other gadget (iPad) is mine and I rarely let them near it!

CMOTDibbler Wed 11-Jul-12 16:39:28

DS is 6, and the only electronic gadget he has is a leapster which has various educational games. He plays on it in fits and starts.
He only gets PC time when with an adult, and apart from watching YouTube videos of controlled demolition isn't that worried.
He loves playing Angry Birds on DH's phone, but maybe gets 15 min a week - he's only allowed on if we were waiting a very long time for food or waiting for an appointment

GetKnitted Wed 11-Jul-12 16:44:38

My 2 ds are only 0 and 4, so this is my first 6 week holiday experience. Ds 1 has limited access to my laptop with his own desktop with icons for painting , in built children's games and cbeebies. These are things that i'm happy for him to use independently and I don't have to worry about him accidentally opening or deleting something of mine. I may add links to a couple of online games sites, but only if I find something I trust. I'll have to unblock those sites for him (and soon I'll need a better password).

I had previously allowed him to use some children's apps on my android phone but because I'm too tight economical I didn't buy an advert free version and ds would press the ads by accident.

stealthsquiggle Wed 11-Jul-12 17:02:25

DS (9) has a netbook, and is currently crashed in front of the TV with it on his lap hmm. DD (5) was similarly crashed (without netbook) but is now playing with TV as background. They have just broken up for the summer.

I think we will leave them be for today, maybe tomorrow, as they are both shattered, but after that we will have to ration TV - I haven't worked out a sensible limit yet. I am less inclined to ration wii as (a) they don't play for hours on end and (b) it is one of few things they do together without fighting.

Neither has hand held gadgets but are occasionally allowed to play games on our phones/tablets. DS wants an iPod Touch more than anything else in the world for his 10th birthday and I am inclined to get him one if I can find a decent price. One of his most unspoilt friends has just got one, and got some iTunes vouchers from other family which he is spending on a mix of games and music. Since DS won't be allowed a phone at school for some years to come, it would seem to make sense for him to have an iPod touch instead. It will come with rules - time limited, especially when with other people and others which I haven't worked out yet.

firawla Wed 11-Jul-12 17:13:47

my 4 year old likes to play on my iphone. i don't have a limit but because its my phone its naturally limited anyway as he has to come and ask for it, and obviously i do need it back before too long, so not like he has free and unlimited access to it. but there are a lot of very good educational games so i dont really mind it. he did have a bit too much of a liking for youtube before, which i was not as keen on. he used to watch thomas videos but i had to limit that more, as it made him go a bit crazy sometimes and he would get annoyed if told to stop watching it, but with the educational games he's much better. he plays stuff like eggs on legs maths or some toddler quiz games

defineme Wed 11-Jul-12 18:03:19

We have 7yrold twins and a 10 yrold. They play on their Wii (usually with me or Dad as have 4 controls) about once a week-sometimes less. We play the Wii party games which are endless in variety, short and fun. We have Wii sport and Mario Kart but I don't like the effect on the kids-much more argument and poor behaviour after playing those for some reason. In the holidays we'll save it for rainy days, but they don't ask much for it-I often suggest it! It's a good thing to do in the holidays if they have a friend over and it's raining-after they've made a mess painting/eating/with lego-the wii can seem like a good mess free option.

The kids have no other devices-can't afford it x3 and generally find a book or a paper and pen will do in the situations people say they use them for.

I have a laptop and they've never asked about games, but we do look on Youtube/google/wiki stuff they're interested in-we can spend an hour looking at music stuff on youtube together.

I don't ration tv. They can watch a bit in the morning after breakfast and they'll do that in the holidays too, but they have each other to play with so they don't need it that much.
When they were little (had 3 under 3 at one point) I used to try and get them to watch and they picked up on my desperation for a break and have never been that interested as a result.
They watch favourites on iplayer when they're tired and they'll watch quiz or wildlife things with me at the weekend, but it's rare if they don't go off to do something else before the end.
My top tip is have 1 small tv that's not in a through room-I think it's really a case of out of sight out of mind with us. If you have a widescreen dominating the main room in the house it's going to make you think about watching it more isn't it?
To avoid a battle ground I'd avoid saying I was banning tv-I'd just direct them to something else/out of the house, but if you've got kids that beg for tv I'm not sure that would work.

I'm crap with gadgets so I would never prioritize spending money on them(currently on a laptop that's very old with green lines going down the screen!). I have a feeling that the kids are a generation who will see them as a necessity.

I have a one year old and I have an iPad. I found some great flashcards of simplistic things ie animals, food and he loves it. It amazes me that he knows how to use it already! This is just how it is now with the evolution of technology and kids being far superior at it then the ageing population. Scarey really.

janx Wed 11-Jul-12 20:26:15

My dd 7 and ds 4 both love playing on our iPhones. Ds has a speech disorder and I find some apps very useful but mostly he likes angry birds. Dd likes games that involve a puzzle. They are v useful in Queues, long car journeys etc. we do limit their use as we need our phones grin

boomdecker Wed 11-Jul-12 20:38:06

If I feel dd is overdoing the ipod I confiscate it so she can read a good book grin. Generally I think ipodding is okay - helps her to de-stress from school to focus intently on something that is more interactive than tv.

She looks at Facebook mainly to keep in the loop with the class gossip so she doesn't feel left out of all the girl politics She comments a bit on others' pages but doesn't post much of her own stuff.

When she started secondary school the games were a good ice-breaker with other girls. (We used to play jacks or read Jackie mag for bonding in my day!) I think the internet is a brilliant window on the world, but I do wonder if dd is over-stimulated sometimes - whether she really takes time to ponder things inth quiet of her own thoughts and smell the roses. Ho hum.

I like downloading children's stories on my iphone. It means that if we have a long car journey ahead (inevitable to get to anywhere of interest) that my toddler dd isn't bored and it stimulates her imagination a bit.

Not to mention that it's quite nice to hear the stories that you grew up with once again.

I always have headphones in my handbag, yet again, they're handy for letting DD listen to stories while on the train or waiting in queues.

She's also a dab hand at Tetris on the original gameboy! So retro without her even realising it! She only gets that if it's a rainy day and we've run out of games/colouring/dancing to do.

rufus5 Wed 11-Jul-12 21:23:18

I limit how long can be spent on gadgets, but that's just the same for TV and computer etc. If they know they can't use them all day every day they are more likely to use the time they are allowed better (e.g. select particular programmes to watch, their favourite games to play, rather than just watch anything that's on).

hellyd Wed 11-Jul-12 22:11:08

Does your child have a set limit on gadget time a day / a week? Why is this? How long? Does this work for you and them?
~~no limits but privileges removed for bad behavior
What tips would you share with other parents about how to handle gadget use with children? How do you generally view use of these gadgets? What do you think are the benefits - to parents and to children? And what do you think are the disadvantages? (to parents and children)
~~~ we are a very gadget heavy house (work in IT, parents both have IT degrees) so gadgets are a normal part of life for us
If your child doesn't use a gadget like this please say why - it is down to you or them?
What sort of games or apps does your child play with? Do they play with other children? If so, do they socialise when on it?
~~~DS is only 5 so still needs support to play but play games skylanders, sonic, angybirds, moshi monsters, cbeebies, no socilaisation yet as he's too young.
Does the game ever become reality? For example - do they act out the game in real life? Do they/ you integrate the game characters into other activities eg making an Angry Birds cake or playing Skylanders in the park?
~~~YES - skylanders is the most popular game in the playground at school, angrybirds are made in cakes and the physical games have been purchased and games and moshimonster have a village constructed out of lego in my living room!

DS is nearly 4YO and very proficient already with my i-pad. He does not have his own tablet or games console, we want to avoid that for as long as possible as we like him to have a day of mixed activity e.g. fresh air and exercise, drawing/writing name and numbers, cbeebies for a certain period, reading books. DS is allowed the i-pad for say, 40 mins per day, when he plays with phonics and numbers apps. If he does these then he is allowed to play Angry Birds for 20 mins. DS is learning from mistakes he makes on the i-pad, he accidentally deleted 10 apps the other day and he understands he did this by 'touching the crosses'.

gilliancd Thu 12-Jul-12 09:33:09

My 4yr old has a leap pad which I'm happy for her to play on. The games do seem to teach her things and she is good at limiting the amount of time she spends on it. She plays on it most at bedtime, which isn't ideal but is preferable to having her up and down the stairs all night!

aristocat Thu 12-Jul-12 12:43:00

Does your child have a set limit on gadget time a day / a week? Why is this? How long? Does this work for you and them?

I have a DS 10yr and a DD 8yr and we do not usually limit their screen time. They are good at playing with other things too however the iPod is a favourite and we are always adding new apps that they choose from the app store (mostly free).
They do not know the password and must ask.

What tips would you share with other parents about how to handle gadget use with children? How do you generally view use of these gadgets? What do you think are the benefits - to parents and to children? And what do you think are the disadvantages? (to parents and children)

I believe that these gadgets are a way of life now, and a good thing.

If your child doesn't use a gadget like this please say why - it is down to you or them?
What sort of games or apps does your child play with? Do they play with other children? If so, do they socialise when on it?

DS likes football apps/stick cricket/siege hero/ludo/dream team. DD likes LPS/tap zoo/coin dozer/JE spy kit/talking ben,tom/teddy bear/build a bear.
We have played games such as farkle together and taken turns with the game which can be fun.
Whirly word is another which we play together (it is anagrams of one longer word) and definitely good for spelling and learning new words.

Does the game ever become reality? For example - do they act out the game in real life? Do they/ you integrate the game characters into other activities eg making an Angry Birds cake or playing Skylanders in the park?

Yes, mine have acted out being Sonic and Tails on the trampoline. Built their own zoo/restaurants with lego.

Kveta Thu 12-Jul-12 14:17:42

DS is 2.9 so no school holidays as such, but I am on maternity leave and bfing a 1 month old, so DS is spending more time than I like slack jawed in front of the TV or wrestling my lap top off me so he can play the angry birds theme tune over and over again (as the game itself is a little beyond him!)

we do make sure he spends time outside every day, but now it's more of an incentive to get more screen time as the weather is so crap. so my tip is to let him earn screen time by playing in the rain or helping me hang the washing up or the like.

we are planning on getting a google nexus 7 soon (we are apple free in our household...) and will be looking for good apps for him to play on long car journeys.

sweatyscamp Thu 12-Jul-12 14:30:56

Does your child have a set limit on gadget time a day / a week? Why is this? How long? Does this work for you and them? To be honest, they don;t. However, they are sensible about the their useage - if this changed I would certainly impose restrictions

What tips would you share with other parents about how to handle gadget use with children? How do you generally view use of these gadgets? What do you think are the benefits - to parents and to children? And what do you think are the disadvantages? (to parents and children
We are quite laid back about them. Ds has a psp -he's 12, and dd has a ds - she's 6. We ensure the games they are playing are age appropriate and try to take an interest when we can (!) Obvioulsy the disadvantages can be that they never learn how to handle 'boredom'. If in doubt, graba gadget grin. We do not encourage taking them on holiday. I do have to admit, that when they are engrossed it gives me some spare time blush

If your child doesn't use a gadget like this please say why - it is down to you or them?

What sort of games or apps does your child play with? Do they play with other children? If so, do they socialise when on it?
ds plays football games mostly, dd princess and mario.

Does the game ever become reality? For example - do they act out the game in real life? Do they/ you integrate the game characters into other activities eg making an Angry Birds cake or playing Skylanders in the park?
DD definitley thinks she's princess peach at times. We do use the charaters to make up our own stories.

Blu Thu 12-Jul-12 16:19:52

Does your child have a set limit on gadget time a day / a week? Why is this? How long? Does this work for you and them?
No, not really. He isn't obsessed, and will do something else when asked. Does plenty of other things, too - it isn't an issue
What tips would you share with other parents about how to handle gadget use with children? How do you generally view use of these gadgets? What do you think are the benefits - to parents and to children? And what do you think are the disadvantages? (to parents and children)
They are part of the modern world, but if you the parent treat gadgets like the holy oracle and coo over your iPhone and spend all day on the laptop (in full view of child) then they may have the same view. Use gadgets for fun, and to be useful, and beyond that , don't make a bid deal.
If your child doesn't use a gadget like this please say why - it is down to you or them?
He has no phone, he doesn't need one
What sort of games or apps does your child play with? Do they play with other children? If so, do they socialise when on it?
A small number of free games on the iPad. Plays on the PS3 with friends.
Does the game ever become reality? For example - do they act out the game in real life? Do they/ you integrate the game characters into other activities eg making an Angry Birds cake or playing Skylanders in the park?
No, never that I know of.

My DS and his friend spent half a day at the beach digging holes having listened to the Louios Sacher book HOLES on CD in the car, in role as opressed juvenile detention centre detainees...really into it - but they don't live PS3 games or apps in the same way at all. They treat the games as a skill / competition, not an imaginative narrative.
But then maybe a CD in the car counts as a gadget!
I would like to be able to downoad more audio books onto DS's iPod for journeys, and we will be downloading a French Language Learning app on to the iPad for use on his extended family visit to a French speaking country.

I think there could be more opportunities for using apps and gadgets for making the most of the educational and fun potential in holiday destinations.

glitch Thu 12-Jul-12 17:10:47

My DS plays on the Wii and playstation and also has a Leapster Explorer. I don't tend to set time limits but it he doesn't tend to play too often.

The Leapster Explorer is fab for when we go out so he can sit quietly and play and I like the fact that it is geared for younger children (he is 6). I'm sure we will progress to a DS but I'm saving that until he is ready to move on from his Leapster.

I don't tend to let him use my phone as he ends up changing settings or locking me out of it.

I'm thinking that the Leapster Explorer will be essential for our camping holiday this year if this weather doesn't brighten up soon!!

bestbefore Thu 12-Jul-12 18:32:50

Mine (aged 9 and 6) love the iPad and my DS age 6 loves the Wii - he is obsessed with Skylanders and him and his little friends play it all the time (in the playground). They chat about the characters and I've been trying to get them to design their own one. It makes it fun away from the screen. I do think it's helped with their creative play.

I also am not keen on them using my phone so I don't have very interesting apps on it! But on a long journey or when waiting for someone it's so useful.

I think this summer I'll let them have some time each day on the wii or whatever - they need a break from school and we get out and about all the time to the woods or on a walk with the dog so it's a good balance.

CaptainBanana Thu 12-Jul-12 19:03:03

I often find if I've said DS can have X amount of time on the ipad or wii on a day it's best if I can be very specific about when it's going to be to save all the "can I play now?" questions. Alternatively get it out of the way early, then he know's he's had his go for the day and won't be getting any more and it saves all the "can I play now?" questions.

I certainly don't mind him playing on gadgets as they have plenty of outdoor/social/ things.

Hulababy Thu 12-Jul-12 20:08:33

DD is 10y and has several gadgets - own computer, a DS, an iTouch and access to a Playstation 3, my iPad, and my iPhone. She is getting a Kindle in a couple of weeks too - she's saved up to get it just before her holiday.

We don't really have any rules regarding time, etc. Not needed to as she doesn't get obsessed with them and would never play with them for hours at a time anyway.

She uses her computer to use things like Movie Maker and makes big presentations on Powerpoint. She likes to use Publisher too. She also uses simple photo editing stuff. DD also uses her school "xxx Apps" esp for chatting and also emailing friends. She goes on Moshi Monsters although this has tailed off loads and it is quite unusual these days. She'll do things like animations using her camera and movie maker.

On the iTouch she uses Bump to chat to friends, or email. She has apps on them too but doesn't play games much really bar the odd 5 minutes. She loves to listen to music on it and does so all the time - she has a CD player with dock, and an amplifier and microphone with dock so sings along. She likes games like Draw Some. iTouch used a lot when travelling by plane though as small enough to take easily.

She uses my iPad but mainly to watch films.

Her DS is used only occasionally these days. She used it a bit more when younger.

Playstation also not used very much but when it is used she plays games like Sing Star.

Did the title just change for this thread?

babyheaves Fri 13-Jul-12 09:22:49

My child has the attention span of a rather confused gnat, so I don't need to put limits on his game playing as he self-regulates.

To be honest I am grateful when he asks to play either on his DS (rarely) or on the games console as I know it means at least 5 minutes of peace before boredom (or frustrated screaming) kicks in and it gets turned off again.

The games consoles are not for communal gaming, although my 2yo likes to hold a controller and "play" the game. We often play together like this - she sits on a rocking horse, and I knacker my back by sitting on the floor. I tell her when to press the button, when her controller is not actually plugged in and its me playing it - there's another 10 mins of peace.

As for the effect that this has in real life, well its not much to be honest. We have a legacy games console with a Samuri game and a fishing game on it, which are DS's favourite. The outcome of these two games are that he now knows what Sushi is and he also once spent about 15 minutes running around the garden pretending to be a fish in Feeding Frenzy. Hard core eh?

choccyp1g Fri 13-Jul-12 09:36:39

Does your child have a set limit on gadget time a day / a week? Why is this? How long? Does this work for you and them? No limit, but it gets banned completely for bad behaviour
What tips would you share with other parents about how to handle gadget use with children? How do you generally view use of these gadgets? What do you think are the benefits - to parents and to children? And what do you think are the disadvantages? (to parents and children) * MY tip is to hold out without them for as long as possible. There are no advantages, and the disadvantages are they get addicted*
If your child doesn't use a gadget like this please say why - it is down to you or them? I wish
What sort of games or apps does your child play with? Do they play with other children? If so, do they socialise when on it? He uses X-box to play online with friends
Does the game ever become reality? For example - do they act out the game in real life? Do they/ you integrate the game characters into other activities eg making an Angry Birds cake or playing Skylanders in the park? I have never observed him or any of his friends playing fantasy games at all; it's either football or chase games, or the electronic ones

ShatnersBassoon Fri 13-Jul-12 09:39:59

Does your child have a set limit on gadget time a day / a week? Why is this? How long? Does this work for you and them?

They're allowed to play video games only on Friday after school and one day at the weekend, and only for a limited time of roughly a couple of hours, depending on what's going on in the house and how well they're behaving (no squabbling or everything gets turned off). It works for us, they understand if they kick up a fuss about the rules then they don't get to play at all.

What tips would you share with other parents about how to handle gadget use with children? How do you generally view use of these gadgets? What do you think are the benefits - to parents and to children? And what do you think are the disadvantages? (to parents and children)

I have no tips. I'm not a massive fan of gaming, but I played video games when I was a child and absolutely loved them, so I understand why they're so appealing to children.

I'm not sure there are any benefits to children, although people will always quote the hand-eye coordination thing. It's relaxing escapism, and we have sometimes given our eldest the DS to play when he's getting himself het up about something such as tests at school.

For us as parents, the advantages: some peace and quiet on long car journeys; peace and quiet when we're somewhere where we know there'll be a lot of waiting around; peace and quiet when we need to get something done at home and don't want to be interrupted eg DIY. In other words, games are excellent for keeping the kids quiet and less bothersome. How awful blush

The disadvantages are that it can lead to disagreement when we have to tell them to turn off the consoles, they squabble amongst themselves over who plays what and when, and they do zone out into their own world when they're playing which may not be healthy.

What sort of games or apps does your child play with? Do they play with other children? If so, do they socialise when on it?

We have a Wii, which they always play together on, and their friends love to play on it when they're here. They really like the sports games with multiple players like bowling.

Does the game ever become reality? For example - do they act out the game in real life? Do they/ you integrate the game characters into other activities eg making an Angry Birds cake or playing Skylanders in the park?

I don't think so. They don't seem to think about the games as soon as the console is turned off.

Frontpaw Fri 13-Jul-12 09:49:45

Gadgets are a part of life! Kids are so techy these days!

DS has a... DS actually. When he first got it we agreed a certain amount of time per week that he could play with it. If he was naughty, time would be taken off the total. I think he had 90 mins a week and we emphasised that it was just one of the things he could play with - so encouraged him to play with his Lego, read, draw... Kids can get quite agitated playing these games, so it's best to keep it to a short period- nothing worse than an agitated, sweaty child who is supposedly having fun!

He plays on the iPad - chess, mah jong and backgammon he loves, also angry birds. Mainly games he can play on there by himself, or against the machine as he hasn't got siblings to play games like this with.

He has an Xbox and enjoys the sports games. He loves to have friends round so they can do the adventure or sports games.

Games don't become reality - he loves his angry birds t shirts (m&s everyone!), and likes playing the games in real life - board games and sports.

NoComet Fri 13-Jul-12 10:28:23

Hell will freeze over before DD2 stops watching CBBC, iPlayer or playing SIMs.

No doubt I will tell her to stop at frequent intervals and my efforts will last 30 sec.

DD1 (14) will read, draw and do a bit of the above, but it's her 11 sister who is the total screen addict.

Now if it would stop raining they would cycle, trampoline and swim but that seems about as likely as and entire squadron of flying pigs being sighted over the Olympic Stadium.

We are a very non - tech household and dd (8) isn't interested. I worry that she will be behind everyone else and miss opportunities to socialise/learn as she wont know what to do.

We have a TV, DVD player, computer, laptop, tablet and two android mobile phones. She hasn't wanted a Wii or Ds and none of us really know what else we could/should have. I mainly listen to the radio, dd listens to story CDs and watches TV. She does occasionally enjoy playing Angry Birds and Heaven and Hell... She likes Moshi Monsters/Club Penguin too.

I don't even know the difference between an iPod and an iPod touchblush I do wonder if there are any workshop type classes for out of touch parents to get up to speed???

nickschick Fri 13-Jul-12 10:46:46

Does your child have a set limit on gadget time a day / a week? Why is this?

No they dont have set times,their leisure time is just that -their choice.

How long? Does this work for you and them?

Generally I encourage them to take the dog for a walk if i can get ds1&2 actually out of bed grin come shopping with me go out somewhere....usually I have to appeal to their soft side sometimes by crying about my loneliness wink my spondylitis from carrying heavy shopping or even resort to bribery usually involving me/photos and facebook grin.

What tips would you share with other parents about how to handle gadget use with children?

Dont make an issue of it....the more you do the bigger the issue becomes encourage other friends with ds's to link up,encourage 2 player games or involve everyone in multi player games like songstar etc etc

How do you generally view use of these gadgets? What do you think are the benefits - to parents and to children? And what do you think are the disadvantages? (to parents and children)

I think they are like modern day roller skates and barbies and used safely are a welcome addition to modern life - its not to say they need never go to the park or a bug hunt but things change and technology is a part of that change.

If your child doesn't use a gadget like this please say why - it is down to you or them?
What sort of games or apps does your child play with? Do they play with other children? If so, do they socialise when on it?

We have x box,ps2,ds etc etc and laptop ds plays on minecraft club penguin a harry potter game and draw me on my android phone ...he sometimes plays alone sometimes with me and sometimes with others its a varied rich mix .....should he become a bit virtual he is usually ridiculed and dragged out of the house by ds1.......

Does the game ever become reality? For example - do they act out the game in real life? Do they/ you integrate the game characters into other activities eg making an Angry Birds cake or playing Skylanders in the park?

Not by option as a nursery nurse I will say oh would you like to wear your sonic t shirt youve been playing it today and he will say mum im 11 its not normal ....ds1 says the same but hey hes 18 grin I do make cup cakes and ask for help with decorating etc etc ...ds3 will make lego models of stuff 'Iam not to tamper with' and he has some mouldy papier mache thing going on to do with minecraft .....he also has a crystal bauble thing that hes improvised as a harry potter snitch?? (he doesnt know i know that though wink as hes 11 and its not cool)

Ds (6) has various gadgets - a ds, a ps2 and a wii. He also uses our laptop for the cbbc website and build a bear.

I don't feel the need to limit his access as it tends to occur naturally. He likes doing other things too such as playing football in the garden or lego.

He does sometimes play his ds with his friend, they like to link up on Nintendogs to swap items. The wii can be sociable too. I do hear his friends wanting to play Mariokart etc in the playground, not exactly sure what this entails!

Ds (6) has various gadgets - a ds, a ps2 and a wii. He also uses our laptop for the cbbc website and build a bear.

I don't feel the need to limit his access as it tends to occur naturally. He likes doing other things too such as playing football in the garden or lego.

He does sometimes play his ds with his friend, they like to link up on Nintendogs to swap items. The wii can be sociable too. I do hear his friends wanting to play Mariokart etc in the playground, not exactly sure what this entails!

elizaco Fri 13-Jul-12 11:34:37

My daughters (10 and 8) each have a DS, but to be honest play on them once or twice a week at the most. They tend to get a new game each birthday and Christmas, so always play on them more at those times. We find them great for car journeys etc.. when they help keep them occupied. We also have a Wii, which we love playing on as a family, and is great for when the girls have friends to play. Again, they don't use it too much, so we've never had a need to restrict the amount of time spent on it.

Fillybuster Fri 13-Jul-12 11:45:22

We are fairly 'gadget-lite', possibly because dh and I spend most of our work lives plugged into our laptops and blackberries, but also because we believe that the dcs benefit more from imaginative play with each other than from engaging with electronic devices.

We have an xbox (thanks to MN smile ) but the dcs never ask to use it - we tend to suggest it if the weather has been really poor (the whole summer so far....), especially if we have a bunch of over-energetic children visiting! They get quite frustrated doing any of the harder games/adventures on it, so tend to lose interest very quickly anyway.

The only gadgets our dcs play with regularly are their V-tech cameras, which they use both as cameras (and to make short films on) and also to play the inbuilt games. They do this together with their friends, and on their own.

They are not allowed near either of our laptops except for supervised homework because we are mean parents smile

Does your child have a set limit on gadget time a day / a week? Why is this? How long? Does this work for you and them?
No set limit. Mainly because I tend to let them play on ds/wii as part of a day at home, so I'll mix it in with other things. e.g. let dd2 play on ds while I do some reading with dd1 and vice versa. I think this works well for us.

What tips would you share with other parents about how to handle gadget use with children? How do you generally view use of these gadgets? What do you think are the benefits - to parents and to children? And what do you think are the disadvantages? (to parents and children)
I think they are good in moderation. For us, it allows me to have a bit of one-to-one time with each of the dc during the holidays, which benefits all of us. We also play on the wii as a family sometimes and like to play the more active games.

If your child doesn't use a gadget like this please say why - it is down to you or them?
n/a

What sort of games or apps does your child play with? Do they play with other children? If so, do they socialise when on it?
They have a drawing game on the ds which also has a few simple games on. The drawing one is aimed at children and has helped dd1 with pen control. It also has a sketchboard type option which she sometimes used for writing letters as well as general drawing. On the wii, they like Mario Kart and dancing games. They play on the dancing games with friends sometimes, pretending they're having a bit of a party. I don't tend to let them play unsociable games when they have friends over but I'd put something like Mario Kart on and get them to take turns if they wanted to do something sitting down for a while.

Does the game ever become reality? For example - do they act out the game in real life? Do they/ you integrate the game characters into other activities eg making an Angry Birds cake or playing Skylanders in the park?
No, they occasionally point at stuff in shops and say "That's Mario" etc.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 13-Jul-12 12:14:01

InMySpareTime yes wink

That's alright then, I thought I'd gone a bit batty and forgotten which threads I was ongrin

mumnosbest Fri 13-Jul-12 12:35:20

In our house (apart from the tv) we have a pc, wii, 2 ds and 1 xbox. Ds 7yrs plays on these when he needs a bit of quiet time after playing out ( when hes not readimg harry potter). he plays on the consoles and goes online to find things he 'plays' at school on the pc. These are usually learning games. I have little need to limit his time on here as he does so himself. Dd 4yrs is just discovering the computer. We all use skype as a family to keep in touch with relatives abroad. i dont know what i'd do without these in the school hols as they do give me a bit of time to get tea ready etc.

My tip would be to give older children 7+ an email address. ds emails his friends (supervised). this has really improved his writing. he was reluctant to practise writing at home but doesnt see typing as work. i insist on correct spellings and grammar.

the onl concerns i have are about dh monopolising the tv, xbox and pc ffor hours sad

zipzap Fri 13-Jul-12 13:37:35

I have 2 DS - aged 7 & 4 - to set my answers in context...

Does your child have a set limit on gadget time a day / a week? Why is this? How long? Does this work for you and them?
Nothing set out - although depending on the time of day and what other plans we have depends on how long they are able to play on something. On a wet holiday day with few plans they would be able to play on the Wii for longer than they could on a school day for example. I do try to tell them at the start if time is going to be limited and then give warnings in the run up to 'time to stop playing - NOW' so it doesn't come as a surprise which works well.
DS2 has a mobigo which he adores and will quite happily sit down and play for hours sometimes if nobody stops him. They also share a storio and leapfrog explorer and both boys will happily play on these on car journeys or at home. DS1 in particular I try to encourage to play on some games as they are for spelling which he is particularly bad at. Others include maths games which he loves because he loves maths and that's good too - I'm happy that he associates learning with fun and games, and being enjoyable.
Sometimes some of the biggest problems come about when there are two children who both want to play on the same gadget at the same time - kitchen timer comes out and they get 5/10 minutes each and then a strictly enforced handover, regardless of whether they are about to get their highest score (otherwise ds1 has been known to take another 10 minutes just to 'finish' his game... ).
Both boys also love playing on the iPad and iPhone - they know this is a treat as they are mummy's toys and she's not very good at sharing so promise of a few minutes play on the iPad can be a good bribe reward or distraction if one of them hurts themselves.

What tips would you share with other parents about how to handle gadget use with children? How do you generally view use of these gadgets? What do you think are the benefits - to parents and to children? And what do you think are the disadvantages? (to parents and children)
The children have to know they have to respect the gadgets - they are expensive and easily broken - and the fact that they don't automatically get to play on them as and when they want.
They are a useful bribery/reward tool and they can be educational - it's good to ensure that there is a mix of games so that they do play stuff that is educational as well as pure fun, because it helps to reinforce the fact that learning is not just boring stuffy classroom stuff as it was in my day [sad old gimmer smiley]
I also think it is important they are exposed to a range of technology from an early age - in this day and age so much of life interfaces with technology at so many different junctures that the more exposure to different ways of interacting with it they have, the easier it is going to be for them going through life, whether it's discussing the latest game in the playground or puzzling out how to learn to use a new piece of software or product, or even going on to design or programme new software/hardware/products in the future.
It also helps them to learn how to concentrate on something - useful at school and beyond!

disadvantages - children can become over-dependent on them or addicted to them to the exclusion of other activities - but it's up to the parent to stop this.

If your child doesn't use a gadget like this please say why - it is down to you or them?
DS1 doesn't have a DS yet despite wanting one - down to me and dh as we think he has plenty of access to gadgets to play with and we're not convinced he would look after it particularly well - he still loses lots of his things. however I have no problem with him playing on them - if we are at his cousin's house or at a friend's house for example. it's also partly because we can't afford to buy everything going - so we have a Wii and an iPad, his friend has x-box and a ds etc etc. They enjoy playing on them at each other's houses but doesn't mean that they get to have them 'just because'.

The other good thing about this is that ds if he doesn't have something will make it for himself - so he has lots of paper ds, iPhones, iPads, etc that he has made, all drawn out and then he'll draw a game on the screen and pretend play with it. which is great - both because I love watching his inventiveness (this goes for everything, not just gadgets - he also has a complete steve backshall paper animal filming / hunting kit including snake hook and abseil rope he's made for re-enacting that out, his own set of moshi monsters and pokemon that he has designed etc). And because - although he doesn't yet know it - he's actually discovered how to design, create, modify and improve lo-fi paper mock ups which is a great skill should he ever get involved in web design (amongst other things) when he is older (and is something that both dh and I do as part of our regular jobs!)

What sort of games or apps does your child play with? Do they play with other children? If so, do they socialise when on it?
All sorts of things - wii favourites are Mario kart, Phineas and Ferb and the Sports Resorts games but will happily play lots of things.
iPad/iPhone - I have loads of games on there but both boys will dip in and out of everything. ds1 loves lots of sports games, puzzles, mazes, spiderman/hero games but also maths, phonics and alphabet stuff.
DS2's favourites include Dora, colouring games, all the maths, phonics and alphabet games, listening to stories and some fab simple duplo ones. He started using iPad/iPhone at 2 and despite not being able to read he can happily whizz around on them, find the games he wants, get them started, understand them and figure it all out.

Rarely socialise on gadgets - just playing at home with each other or if a friend comes to play and they are all on the wii. they will watch each other playing on iPad/mobigo/etc sometimes. They don't have any games that are linked to other people remotely and I quite happy about that!

Does the game ever become reality? For example - do they act out the game in real life? Do they/ you integrate the game characters into other activities eg making an Angry Birds cake or playing Skylanders in the park?
Only become reality when ds1 makes his own paper prototypes to play with for when he can't play with the real things. He might play at sonic or mario with friends or end up doing kung fu things that he's seen on games but these days so many things are multi-channel that he'll of seen things on tv or in comics or on websites as well as on gadgets so it's difficult to know where the main influence is coming from or if it is the sum of all the different things.

ds2 can get a bit over exhuberant if he's been watching his brother playing on the wii (ds1 has somehow convinced ds2 that 'they' are playing if ds1 is actually playing but says things like 'look we are winning' or 'we did a great shot there' while ds2 sits and watches grinshock) and doesn't realise that if he's attacking someone as he has seen happen on the game that actually one or both of them might get hurt, but he's beginning to realise that and it's calming down, hopefully will soon be gone.

RedKites Fri 13-Jul-12 15:29:59

My not quite 2yo can locate YouTube (amongst a variety of different subfolders) on the four different Apple devices in our house. I try to view this as a clever accomplishment rather than slightly worrying! He doesn't have a strict time limit or anything, but in the week I try to limit his gadget use to just the hour or so before dinner when he's getting a bit tired.

xMumof3x Fri 13-Jul-12 16:07:08

I have a 1, 3 and 5 year old. They dont have any hand held games gadgets, I think they are far too young and OH agrees. 5 year old plays a simple game on OHs mobile probably once a week for 10 mins, but thats it. I dont see us getting them for the kids until they are at least 10, or I guess if they are under a lot of peer pressure to get them.
The kids amuse themselves either playing together, doing art things, reading/looking at books, or running in the garden. I dont really like hand held electronic games as it seems to me that they are generally used as a way to mute your child. I have been to loads of family gatherings where the kids are controlled by being given one to play with and they sit silently not interacting with anyone and its that that I find just wrong to be honest

ICutMyFootOnOccamsRazor Fri 13-Jul-12 16:14:22

I recently got given an ipad, and I am really shocked at how quickly DS, who's 4, has got addicted to it. He absolutely loves it.

I was actually discussing this with DP last night, and we agreed that we need to put some really strict limits on how long he's on it for. Generally, he only goes on in the late afternoon while I'm cooking dinner and for a little while after his shower in the evening before bed.

I've tried hard to only download apps that are in some way educational. There's a maths app that he loves at the moment, but I worry that they are overpraised (by the app) for right answers (or even for wrong answers in some games hmm) and the constant whooping and clapping from the machine drives me mad.

We've agreed that we are going to use a kitchen timer to limit him to 10 minutes before bed and 30 minutes while I'm cooking, and I think this should work well.

LegoAcupuncture Fri 13-Jul-12 17:07:29

I have 3 DC, aged 3,6 and 9.

We have a Wii (given to us by Nintendo/MN TYVM), a DS, an iPad and a desktop computer. They get played on most days. I limit the time to an hour at a time, sometimes they get an extra half an hour if they have behaved well enough.

During the holidays though I encourage less time on them, more outdoor play and we try get out of the home enviroment a few times a week to parks/museums etc.

6 year old is in respite once a week in the hoidays. On that day no gadgets are used for play, I take the other two out to do something we cannot do when 6 yr old is around.

Only child who has friends over is 9 year old. He will play on the Wii with his friends, not all the time. They usually play some sort of game outside (trampoline/nerf guns/light sabres) but sometimes they do pretendto be skylanders.

Currently my DC are pretending to be Mario and Sonic at the olympics (game based) so either on the wii or outside in the garden (weather permitting).

Because the weather is expected to be bad during the summer holidays I will allow them a little bit longer on their chosen gadget as they can get bored being indorrs, and doing things in the rain costs a lot of money.

tittytittyhanghang Fri 13-Jul-12 17:38:33

Does your child have a set limit on gadget time a day / a week? Why is this? How long? Does this work for you and them?

No, he has free access to his xbox/wii/ipod. I don't limit use on any other specific toy so i see no difference with these.

What tips would you share with other parents about how to handle gadget use with children?

None really

How do you generally view use of these gadgets? What do you think are the benefits - to parents and to children? And what do you think are the disadvantages? (to parents and children)

I view them as toys, albeit slightly more expensive than his other toys.

Benefits to ds - he can speak to his friends over the xbox so keeps telephone bill down grin, can watch sky tv through it as well. Some of his games are complicated so i guess they are bit of a brain work out as well.

No real benefits for me other than keeps ds happy and it is always easy to buy him xmas/birthday presents as there is usually a game he would like. Also good to use as leverage to get ds to do his duties . Would love him to walk the dog/clean his room etc because he wants to but the reality is that walk the dog/ clean your room or no xbox is what works effectively.

If your child doesn't use a gadget like this please say why - it is down to you or them? N/a

What sort of games or apps does your child play with? Do they play with other children? If so, do they socialise when on it?

Lots of games, mainly warfare, zombie games and football games. Ds is on xbox live as is most of his friends and family so i often hearing laughing with them on it.

Does the game ever become reality? For example - do they act out the game in real life? Do they/ you integrate the game characters into other activities eg making an Angry Birds cake or playing Skylanders in the park?

Not particularly, or not that i have noticed. Ds is 11 so probably past this stage anyway.

MyNewCatIsFab Fri 13-Jul-12 17:59:30

Does your child have a set limit on gadget time a day / a week? Why is this? How long? Does this work for you and them?

I have 3xDs (16,13 & 9). We have Wii, 3x xbox ( one belongs to DH), DSs, Ipod/Iphone/Ipad. Wii and DSs are rarely used nowadays. They are mainly on the xbox online with their friends. Eldest manages his own time and always has, he didn't really start to use consoles till he was around 12 ( high school). The other two have two console free days a week. DS2 has a daily time limit otherwise he would never be off it. We have tried all sorts of strategies to help him learn how to manage the time himself but none have worked so we set a time limit and I have to monitor him. Youngest DS uses xbox more than others of the same age on here seem to, presumably because he has 2 older brothers. Mainly DH and I use the IPad.

What tips would you share with other parents about how to handle gadget use with children? How do you generally view use of these gadgets? What do you think are the benefits - to parents and to children? And what do you think are the disadvantages? (to parents and children)

I think they are a large part of life today and see nothing wrong with that but they can take over. Xbox live means they can play online with friends which can be good particularly if they cannot always meet up with their friends easily in real life. However, this is also what makes it so difficult to get them off it. If your children don't already have it I would delay getting this as long as you can.

If your child doesn't use a gadget like this please say why - it is down to you or them?

N/A

What sort of games or apps does your child play with? Do they play with other children? If so, do they socialise when on it?

Too numerous to mention and their favourites change. At the moment it's Minecraft. I have constant nagging to play games which are too old for them because their big brother or friends have it.

Does the game ever become reality? For example - do they act out the game in real life? Do they/ you integrate the game characters into other activities eg making an Angry Birds cake or playing Skylanders in the park?

Only when they were younger and they might have drawn the characters or made them out of plasticine.

HannahLI Fri 13-Jul-12 19:14:28

We don't have a limit currently on access to the iPad or iPhone however my rule is that because they are still very young I supervise them. I find that this way they are learning that games are interactive rather than something that's done on your own, and I usually sit and talk about any games that are being played. There are some great interactive educational games out there to be used on an iPad. My advice would be to get great app recommendations from friends and family, and find a free trial version of a game before you download the whole game and pay for it. Not all games are what they seem!
We have a variety of different kinds apps as well as games and my son also plays some of the games we like to play like angry birds. This is why I supervise to make sure he is only playing games that are appropriate and we created a folder for him with his apps in.
I also use the iPad for playing iplayer (also supervised). I keep slightly different games on my iPhone to iPad which are only accessed when we are out and I need quick entertainment and I find this works well.
I have never had a game become reality but that is likely to be because of the games and apps we have are more educational based.
I feel this technology is going to play a large part in our children's learning both at home and in the future at school too so ts important to me that my children have access to it. As I mentioned above I supervise usage which I feel is important.

popsypie Fri 13-Jul-12 22:00:34

Very non tech house here really. Got iPhone and laptop, but nothing else. Dds aged 7 and 6 sometimes look at photos on my iPhone or ask to play a game on it, but by sometimes I mean once every few months. I downloaded an app which was a fairground style game where you had to pick up toys with a claw and win them. They liked that, but only played it about three times.

Dd1 (age 7) is starting to Talk about "moshi monsters" as other children talk about them at school. She recognises the merchandising when we are out, but really she has no idea what they are.

Both dds are much more likely to be dressing up, playing with dolls, having tea parties, playing on swing than ever using a ds etc.

Sometimes I worry that not promoting these items will mean they are behind in ict at school, but so far it has not caused a problem. Personally I find it quite sad to be out and see kids glued to hand held games in restaurants etc. I feel they kind of kill imagination and don't allow the child to ever experience being bored. However I have never said "no you can't have a ds". It has simply never come up - the lack of interest is on their part.

twonker Fri 13-Jul-12 23:03:33

My girls discovered monster high on my iPad. They do play that they are frankie and draculaura when they are out in the garden. I think they turn into monsters if they go on it for more than half an hour, and the remedy is a day or 2 of no screen time.

garden Fri 13-Jul-12 23:27:57

My child shares a moshi monster with two classmates; they plan which day each child can go on it at home and talk about the changes they make together at school- one of the most positive ways i think of using a game- and it was their idea !

skyebluesapphire Fri 13-Jul-12 23:28:47

My DD 4 loves playing her Nursery Rhyme singing game on the Wii, or Peppa Pig. She also loves Just Dance and Dora the Explorer games. She also uses my Nintendo DS to play Peppa Pig and loves playing Professor Layton games on my mums DS (with help from my mum!). She loves watching Tom & Jerry, Team Umizoomi and Dora the Explorer.

I do limit the amount of tv time. If its not on, she tends to play make believe games with her toys, but it has its place (quiet time after preschool etc).

She loves playing games on my iphone and looking at videos of her singing and dancing and at Peppa Pig World. But Im always afraid she is going to delete something important!

She also spends a lot of time in the garden on her trampoline, swing and slide and also playing in the sand pit or water table. She loves to go to the park or playing field to run around.

My DC are fairly old in comparison to some of these posts; 14, 12 and 8.

Does your child have a set limit on gadget time a day / a week? Why is this? How long? Does this work for you and them? Not as such except generally they can't play until after lunch and it all goes off in time to set the table for dinner. Also, I have many gadgets but only one TV to connect them to, and there's three DC so they have to take turns on various things so they're limited in playing time by that.

What tips would you share with other parents about how to handle gadget use with children? How do you generally view use of these gadgets? What do you think are the benefits - to parents and to children? And what do you think are the disadvantages? (to parents and children) Gadgets are not the enemy. DC can fixate and obsess on non-electronic toys too! I have no issues with tech and gadgets, but that's because I like playing with them too.

What sort of games or apps does your child play with? Do they play with other children? If so, do they socialise when on it? DSs like playing all sorts of games, a lot of rpgs. DD likes things like Moshi Monsters on the PC or Cooking Mama on the DS. They all like playing Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds on my phone. They like playing multi-player games against each other and in the DSs case online games against their friends. They also like helping each other out, offering help and advice. Gaming has always been a social thing in our house.

Does the game ever become reality? For example - do they act out the game in real life? Do they/ you integrate the game characters into other activities eg making an Angry Birds cake or playing Skylanders in the park? DSs are a bit old for that although DS2 likes to use games/characters/plots as inspiration in his creative writing. DD on the other hand loves to turn the walk home from school into a platform game level, going from obstacle to obstacle (I have to tell her what are platforms or things to leap over or avoid)

jimswifein1964 Sat 14-Jul-12 09:13:36

They rack up time earned by good behaviour, which they use on a sunday - they can choose to use it on wii, pc or ds. the max is 1.5 hrs, unless they get a bonus for something exceptional.

They do like to play with friends, but its more like toddler parallel play than actually interacting hmm

I put my foot down re spending money on new games/getting obsessed.

oldgreyknickertest Sat 14-Jul-12 11:11:51

My Ds is older, too, 14.

Holiday time is holiday time, so I stress far less about it, though do make sure that there is non electronic activity too.

But DS is an ill child. Something that helps reduce tension in hospitals, when appointments occur in holidays and are resented more, is good.

And electronic games have been brilliant for international relations. Our French Exchange arrived and rather than the painful two or three hours of slow talk getting to know you, I put them together, said "DS, x likes electronic games", and within 5 minutes there were groans and shouts in Frenglish as they proceeded to slaughter each other virtually. In this dreadful weather they have been a god send.

serendipity1980 Sat 14-Jul-12 14:07:38

We have a quite a few gadgets in the house, I own an iPad and iPod touch, DH has an iPhone and we have a Wii and DS has a Vtech Mobigo (which keeps breaking so we are probably going to buy a Leapster instead.)
DS (4) uses iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, and before it broke the Vtech mobigo. DD (2) uses iPad, iPod touch and iPhone. We do monitor their usage, mainly download games that are educational and if they haven't been behaving, then we take away the privilege of using the gadgets. I think they are a useful entertainment tool and great for their education. We have phonic apps, shapes, counting etc and I think it really helps make learning fun. They are allowed to use them in the morning while DH and I get ready for the day, and occasionally in the day. They are particularly good for car journeys, and if you are stuck in a queue somewhere. I think they are good, if used in moderation and with supervision.

BenderBendingRodriguez Sat 14-Jul-12 14:59:21

My almost-4yo loves computer games and is surprisingly proficient at them. He is currently downstairs playing Super Mario Bros on the DS; he also likes Mario Kart and can play it without any help (ok, he always comes last but the fun is still there grin). DH has a range of kid-friendly games and apps on his iPhone for those difficult waiting around/hungry/stuck in traffic moments. DS's favourites are Pizza Vs Skeletons, Tiny Wings, Angry Birds, also a painting app that I forget the name of.

The Cbeebies website and Youtube are always popular (he likes watching videos of trains, toy trains, trains going through stations, toy train crashes...) Watching him develop mouse control was a bit of a revelation - exciting to see him realise that he had so many more options at his fingertips, scary to think of what he might potentially click on if I wasn't there to supervise.

DH has an Xbox and as a special treat at weekends they sometimes play boat racing games. Again, DS has really surprised me with his ability.

He's a bit too young to be playing computer games with other kids, but he does use the Cbeebies website at nursery alongside his friends and I believe they manage to take turns grin

I do set limits on his screen time, but in quite a loose fashion. I look at what else he has done that day, how tired he is, how tired I am (!), what else we're going to be doing, how close to bedtime/meal time/going out time it is, how his mood is after watching or playing x amount of tv/games. He also doesn't have unsupervised access to any of this stuff - he knows he has to ask before watching telly or playing any computer games, and he's usually hmm accepting of our reasons if we say no.

As for whether they ever spill over into real life, he was most pleased to get a set of Angry Birds badges in his stocking last Christmas grin He immediately allocated us a badge each and made us wear them for months...I got the pig one hmm

BenderBendingRodriguez Sat 14-Jul-12 15:01:36

Oh yes, I should also say that DS learned all his letters through watching phonics songs on Youtube blush so clearly there is educational value there. Also meant to add that while he has always enjoyed tv, my almost-1yo DD has absolutely no interest in it at all despite my best efforts in search of twenty minutes' peace.

maples Sat 14-Jul-12 19:29:36

My child is too young for gadgets but I will let him have them for a limited time when he is old enough

My children don't have lots of gadgets, they each have a DS and my 10 year old has my old phone for emergencies. I have a laptop that they do use. They don't have a set time, but I will be careful about how much time they spend using the laptop or DS, there is better things they could be doing with their time but I think it is okay in moderation.

They have never brought a virtual game into real life situations as far as I am aware.

steppemum Sun 15-Jul-12 01:04:15

my dcs are 9, 7 and 4.
We have TV with freeview but no skye etc
we have pc with games on, very strict on games being age appropriate. pc has parental control, so they can access internet to play CBeebies website etc, but only through parent control
9 year old has a ds

They have screen time restriction. Can put them all on in the morning from wake up (7am) til 9 am then they all go off. No more til 5pm when they can have screens until dinner is ready (about 45 mins)

(school days there is no morning screens, just 5pm)

9 year old is allowed his ds in the car ( and the other two watch over his shoulder) and if we are at someone's house eg grandparents and he is bored.
They are allowed screens at other peoples houses if their kids are using them.

There are no phone apps in our house (old phone!)

ds socialises on moshi monsters and other similar sites.

youngest sometimes uses tv characters or songs in her play, but more likely book characters.

disadvantages: we really notice that ds behaviour changes when he has too much computer time. He gets more angry and aggressive. Turning off the computer is an issue, it is like he cannot turn it off himself, slightly addictive. Same with his ds. He would play his ds or computer for hours each day if we didn't restrict

top tip: we have a set time for screens. That cuts the arguments enormously, because they know the answer is no, and they are used to finding other things to do all day long. (we do occasionally relax it, when we are having a slob day when it is really raining or something)

trice Sun 15-Jul-12 08:38:01

Ds is 10. He would spend all day on the laptop and ps3 given his own way. We make him get up and move every hour to keep his body functioning. I don't think it is bad for him. At his age I did nothing but read. At least he is interacting with friends.

Dd likes netflix kids on the ipod. She did used to like youtube but kept watching unsuitable stuff so we had to block it. Too many nightmares.

I have all sorts of educational games on phones and ipods but neither child will play unless forced. They both love designing levels in little big planet though which are very impressive.

becstarsky Sun 15-Jul-12 10:42:34

Our son is 6yo. He is allowed 30 mins per day on his DS 5 days per week usually (so 2 days where he isn't allowed computer games). The reason we limit DS as we notice a change in his behaviour when he plays it for a long time - he gets a bit hyperactive and overtired at the same time. He gets travel sick if he plays on it in the car so he isn't allowed it then. We don't have a Wii or Playstation but I expect that will happen one day when he's older. We remove TV and DS privileges for bad behaviour.

He also does 'Mathletics' on the computer for about 20 minutes four times a week. It has built his mental arithmetic and confidence with maths.

Every now and then we have an 'unplugged' week for the whole family - no TV, no DS, no internet for everyone including DH and I - usually about twice a year. I find this really helpful. It's modelling for DS that we are capable of living without gadgets ourselves, and 'walking the talk'. It helps us to notice just how much time we've spent on these things, and makes us go and do something different. We often have some good conversations during that week. I wouldn't want to do it all the time - we're not Amish, we live in the modern world and want to participate in it. But there's a difference between participating and being dependent.

The benefits - our kids are going to grow up in a world filled with technology and there's nothing wrong with them embracing the world as it is. A lot of the jobs people do today (e.g. games designer) didn't exist, or not to the same degree, when we were their age and in trying to push them to live as we did we might be limiting their future. My parents were always telling me that I watched too much TV. Now I work in television and have been told off by bosses for not watching enough of it! Sometimes a DS is really useful e.g. when I needed to go to the dentist for a wisdom tooth extraction and no one was available to look after my son - he sat in the corner, put his headphones in and was oblivious (I didn't need gas or general anaesthetic so was aware of him the whole time). But I think it's important to have time away from gadgets - it can be quite obsessive and unhealthy in excess.

When we go camping we don't take his DS or the laptop or any other gadgets. DS occasionally moans about missing it, then he goes and makes a bunch of friends and runs around enjoying himself. I like to see that - social skills have to be practised to be built and I don't think games are very good for social skills, even where they are multiplayer.

Games don't come into real life at the moment - his games are more based on TV or film characters. But then his favourite DS games (e.g. Lego Star Wars, Harry Potter) are an extension of movies he likes.

sphil Sun 15-Jul-12 12:30:31

Ds1 is 11, Ds2 9 (he has autism and severe learning difficulties. We have a PC, a Wii and an iPad, which was bought for Ds2 as an educational and communication aid but tends to be used by the whole family blush. Ds1 has an old DS, Dhs old iphone for games only and a laptop which he has just got for his birthday and in preparation for secondary school ( he is dyspraxic, so finds it easier to type work).

This is a timely thread for us as we are going to have a radical overhaul of screen use over the summer. Will write what happens now, even though I'm aware it sounds pretty awful.

At the moment: DS1 has unlimited time, though he is fairly good at recognising when he's been staring at a screen for too long. He used to have a limit of 1 hour per weekday and 2 at weekends, but we've let it lapse, though we still have a no computer after dinner rule. At the moment he is playing Minecraft, Dark Spore and watching endless YouTube clips that are circulating his class - 'I like Trains' etc. DS2 is a real problem, as he is obsessed with Youtube clips, which he will watch constantly if allowed. He is very adept on the computer ( way above his other skills) and it is one of the very few things he can do without adult help. We go out a lot at weekends, mainly because it's a way of getting DS2 away from the screen. But even so, he's on it far too much, all the time we are doing household stuff to be honest. It increases his 'stimming' ( autistic repetitive behaviours) and its a constant source of guilt. We also had a chat with DS1 the other night about the need to cut down once he starts secondary school, with more homework. He recognises this himself and wants to set himself time periods when he is and isn't allowed to play.

So - our plan over the summer holidays (we're both teachers, so have the whole time off) is to remove the PC from the living room and work out a timetable whereby one of us is playing with DS2 while the other does jobs etc. Ds2 will have times when he is allowed the iPad and we'll set up a menu of his beloved Youtube clips on there. It will be hell at the start, as it goes against everything Ds2 is used to, but worth it - I hope. DS1 will have his allotted time periods ( I like the fact that he's working it out himself). Its also important for him as a social tool - he doesnt have an Xbox and many of his friends do, so the chance to play interactive games on the laptop is important to him - he has made a whole new circle of friends recently through this, and I would much rather he played it than the Xbox shooter games.

Phew - even if I don't win it was worth it to get that off my chestgrin

SoupDragon Sun 15-Jul-12 12:36:44

TBH, I'm not sure my children and/or I would survive the school holidays without gadgets.

Especially given the "summer" we are having.

SittingBull Sun 15-Jul-12 13:24:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

flamingtoaster Sun 15-Jul-12 13:36:54

My children are now older. My best tips are:

When they were young I limited time on gadgets with the oven timer - when it went off they had a further five minutes (again using oven timer) to get to a "safe" place on their game and save the game (this avoids arguments and frustration). No internet accessing gadgets in their rooms ever - and no handhelds in bedrooms at night.

One of the major advantages of having a go at the DC's games yourself is that the DCs will think they have a cool Mum and as they get older you cannot be accused of being out of touch and not understanding about why it is vital they have another hour gameplay!

adeucalione Sun 15-Jul-12 18:47:52

My children are aged 13 and 10, and have had DS's, iPod Touch's and a Nintendo wii for several years now.

I find that the DS's and IPod's are used mainly on car journeys, and the wii is used socially when friends come round.

I limit 'screen time' to an hour a day - the TV is more likely to suck up time than their gadgets, but they're all limited to make sure that everything else they need to do gets done; homework, reading, chores, playing out with friends, piano etc. I also like the fact that this limit makes them mindful of how they use their hour - they check TV schedules rather than switching on and watching whatever is on for example.

Their gadgets are amazing to me, thinking back to my own ZX Spectrum, and are part of the world they live in - they are comfortable with the technology, use them for socialising, listening to music, reading books, taking photos, filming videos and playing games that often have an educational content, but if they want to play something fun and mindless then that's OK too, we all need down time.

They will get their computer time as usual, thirty minutes per day. They will also occasionally be allowed to spend longer times on them as I am a disabled parent and sometimes they need to have a book/dvd/DS day so that I can recover from the strain of entertaining two of them on a low budget.

mrtu Mon 16-Jul-12 02:31:38

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

<yawn> Reported

Frontpaw Mon 16-Jul-12 10:10:55

Ooooo what'd they say? [Nosey]

StellaMarie Mon 16-Jul-12 11:41:29

DCs no longer have set time periods for gadgets. They are now teenagers and are more able to make sensible decisions about how they spend their time. In the past DS was restricted to 1 charge a week of the Nintendo DS and time on the Wii was granted after reading (30 mins reading = 30 mins computer time). This worked for us despite DS not liking it much!! DD has never really been into gadgets, she much prefers crafting etc
Despite the fact that they are teenagers I am very aware of what games/apps they are using. I am not a big fan of shooting things and they know that ratings are there for a reason!

Gadgets do have a place but to my mind they are too readily used for 'easy' parenting. No one likes saying no to their child but children have to learn that they can't immerse themselves in gaming to the detriment of reading, conversing, playing outside, helping with chores etc.

The worst examples I have seen recently are children playing on DS/PS3 during church (really is it that hard to learn to sit and read/listen for a short service) and another family 'entertaining' their children during a meal out by letting them watch Dora the Explorer on the iPad!! What was the point of going out for a meal as a family if no talking etc is done, would be much cheaper to have eated at home and ignored the children there!!

WhyTheBigPaws Mon 16-Jul-12 14:12:22

Funnily enough I have posted in Chat today asking for ideas of how to keep my DD occupied over the holiday so she doesn't spend the entire time in front of a screen! We don't have a Wii or anything similar but she does have a DS and access to TV and PC.

Does your child have a set limit on gadget time a day / a week? Why is this? How long? Does this work for you and them?

I don't set a specific time limit but in general I like my DD to do a mixture of activities - reading/playing outside/drawing etc - as well as playing on her DS and if she's on it for too long I tend to nag encourage her to do something else

What sort of games or apps does your child play with? Do they play with other children? If so, do they socialise when on it?

My DD mainly plays Super Mario Bros because she's trying to complete it, she has managed to get the the next level with the help of a friend who shared some tips with her. If she gets together with friends eg sleepovers, they all bring their DSes and do the chat thing. I was never in favour of her having one but a kind relative bought her it and tbh I'm quite glad now as I think she'd be left out if she didn't have one.

Bubby64 Mon 16-Jul-12 14:47:25

I have two 11yr olds, and they are becomming increasingly difficult to keep entertained over the holidays. Up to a year or so ago, I would say "lets go to the playgrund or park" and it would be met with an enthusiastic response, now I get "thats babyish and boring" as a response!
They now want to do things which cost money, swimming, theme parks, paid fo activities, and I just cannot afford to do these week in, week out over the holidays.We are looking forward to a skate park which is being built in the village, but that is not due to be finished until September (even later if this weather keeps up)
As for games/gadgets, my 2 tend to play "MineCraft" on the Xbox quite a lot, and they also play "Super Scibblenauts" on their DS, and both these games are very much lead by the childs own imagination. I do try to limit the time spent on these, but it is not easy, and, to be honest, I'd rather them play this sort of game than sit mindleessly in front of the gogglebox!
They also use their smart phones to search things like U Tube for music and funny videos.(good thing they have unlimited internet!) Despite their opposition, I have put parental controls on their browsers, so they cannot easily access unsuitable web contact, which gives me more peace of mind.

Bubby64 Mon 16-Jul-12 14:57:43

Oh, and I forgot to say - Chores come first - empty dishwasher, feed/walk dogs, make beds, put away washing- or NO screen time, as for the computer (not that they tend to use this so much)- they have their own log in with strict parental controls on, and also time limits for usage (very useful part of the parental controls!) The x-box is set up in out dining room, where I can easily see it, and they are allowed no handheld devices in their rooms at all, or all privileges are suspended (which stops them sneaking them up their rooms and using them at night!)

MummyDoIt Mon 16-Jul-12 17:58:34

My kids don't have gadgets of their own but I have a DS, a laptop and a Wii and there's an old Playstation that was DH's. They are allowed to use all of those but I emphasise the fact that they are shared. They are not allowed phones or access to my phone. At 8 and 9, I think they're too young for this.

On the laptop, I have set parental controls and they are only allowed on approved sites (CBBC, Lego and so on). They are not allowed to message or contact anyone else so no social networking or anything like that. They are not allowed to use any of the gadgets in their rooms.

There are no hard and fast rules about how much time they are allowed on gadgets. They might get two or three hours one day then nothing for several days. The DS gets used more than the others because it's handy for long car journeys or waiting around anywhere. I tend to let them have longer on the Wii and Playstation if they're playing on it together. I don't like them playing on their own on them for hours on end.

Difficult to say if the games ever spill over. They have Harry Potter DS and Playstation games but have read the books and seen the films too so, when they're playing Harry Potter, they're probably more influenced by those than the games.

DD is 14 and has her own laptop, iPod Touch and DSi, plus we have a family Wii.

We don't set any limits on her time as such, but if she's spent an entire morning on the laptop then I'll suggest something else after lunch - swimming or a walk into town. Sometimes we'll have a really hectic day out and about and the next day is allowed to be a 'lazy day' when we hang around the house and watch films, play on the Wii and surf the internet. We do have a rule that she isn't allowed to use gadgets after 10pm, if she wakes in the night she can
quietly read or listen to music.

When she was younger we used a program on the laptop to limit her daily use and it would shut off for 15 minutes every 45 minutes for a break; we also monitored her time on the DS.

Computers are essential these days, DD needs internet access for most of her homework and can also do homework on the computer and take it into work on a memory stick. Apart from the homework, DD mostly uses her laptop for watching music on YouTube and playing DVD's, and writing stories. She also talks to her auntie and grandma in the USA using Facebook video chat.

TheTempest Tue 17-Jul-12 12:02:26

DSD is 14 in September, DSS's 1 & 2 are 10 and 8 respectively and DD1 is 3 in Spetember. DSD is only really restricted time wise by her need to spend hours in the bathroom and whinging about how unfair everything is! We oly have Smartphones, A Galaxy tablet and a WII, so they are required to be fair to their siblings and allow everyone a turn. The baby can only really play for a short amount of time so it's fairly self limiting.

None of mine are particularly bothered though so I don't worry about it too much.

rookery Tue 17-Jul-12 14:12:59

We restrict screen time: the dc have a separate 'wii night' each a week and get between 1-1.5 hours each, and they both play on a sunday morning (when they usually get about 2 hours). They both have a 3DS and this is subject to the same screen-time rules - ie none in the morning on school days, and for a time-limited period after school and never after tea.

DS1 complains sometimes that he doesn't get enough screen time and that his friends have unlimited access, but he knows that we restrict gadget time because there are loads of other forms of play that get pushed out if we don't. Left to their own devices without gadgets, DS1 will be setting out Playmobil and having lengthy battles, DS2 will be building Lego models or they'll play football, cook with me, draw, read comics...

I think the gadgets are a great addition to play but not a substitute for play itself. Gadgets can stave off boredom but I don't think that's necessarily a good thing - boredom gives rise to creativity and some of the really positive things we did as kids would never have happened if we'd had more screen time. I don't want the 3DS to be whipped out at every opportunity - the dc need time to talk, to do nothing, to get bored, just to be... no matter how hard/irritating that can be for me! Their best holiday (according to them) was when they were with their cousins and got to do loads of things outdoors - with no gadgets.

DS2 is Super Mario obsessed and writes Mario stories (he calls them 'Mario folktales'), draws pictures, builds Mario-related Lego, etc...

I think it really helps everyone to have clear expectations: we use a kitchen timer to let the dcs know that it's 5 mins till the end of screen time. They know when their 'wii night' is and look forward to it. It works for us and is a good compromise.

insanityscratching Tue 17-Jul-12 14:34:15

Does your child have a set limit on gadget time a day / a week? Why is this? How long? Does this work for you and them?
I don't tend to ration screen time, they generally find their own happy medium, they have other things they like to do so no one thing dominates tbh.
What tips would you share with other parents about how to handle gadget use with children? How do you generally view use of these gadgets? What do you think are the benefits - to parents and to children? And what do you think are the disadvantages? (to parents and children)
I'd say don't ban and ration too much as then they become like forbidden fruit and far more appealing.I think there are plenty of educational benefits dd has learned so much and her IT skills are superior to mine tbh. I suppose a disadvantage would be the drop in activity levels but mine do other things besides so I don't worry too much tbh

What sort of games or apps does your child play with? Do they play with other children? If so, do they socialise when on it?

Dd loves all the Mario games as well as Nintendogs, Angry Birds. She plays with her friends both online and at home.

Does the game ever become reality? For example - do they act out the game in real life? Do they/ you integrate the game characters into other activities eg making an Angry Birds cake or playing Skylanders in the park?

We have made cakes and cards based on characters from games. She has mini figures and uses them to act out games as well.

TheRhubarb Tue 17-Jul-12 15:07:38

Our rules are simple, if they want half an hour on the Wii they have to do half an hour of 'work' first. This can be school work, tidying up or errands.

I don't like them spending all their time on gadgets.

This year they'll enrol for the summer reading challenge as usual so that should keep them occupied and I've printed out a calendar with blank days on so they can pencil in suggestions such as 'bake a cake' or 'have a picnic', this way we should have something to do every single day.

I think gadgets are fine in moderation, for example they can do Bitesize on the computer but I'd much prefer them to be using their imagination and making the most of the holidays by doing as much as possible. Preferably outdoors. And yes, they do act out games they have played which again is fine, it's all role-play isn't it? I'd prefer them to act them out than play them!

ohforfoxsake Tue 17-Jul-12 15:31:40

Does your child have a set limit on gadget time a day / a week? Why is this? How long? Does this work for you and them?
No, they have very little spare time so what they do have they can fill with this if they choose to.

What tips would you share with other parents about how to handle gadget use with children? How do you generally view use of these gadgets? What do you think are the benefits - to parents and to children? And what do you think are the disadvantages? (to parents and children)
If its a problem, gadgets are very easy to 'lose' and are soon forgotten about IME. Gadgets are just a type of toy, and I accept that now - although i had trouble at first. Benefits are they are easy to remove. Disadvantages are they are harder to police - my children all have iPod touchs with maximum parental settings.

If your child doesn't use a gadget like this please say why - it is down to you or them?
Two of my children are gadget kids, love a computer game, two aren't - they would rather be kicking a ball or writing a story. I put it down to different personalities. All of them have access to the same toys/gadgets.

What sort of games or apps does your child play with? Do they play with other children? If so, do they socialise when on it? I preview and download all the apps (they need my password). To me its independent play - sometimes other children will watch but I discourage this. I've known everyone be asked to take their DS to a boys birthday party. No no no! There's a time and a place. For down time only - it doesn't constitute 'an activity'.

Does the game ever become reality? For example - do they act out the game in real life? Do they/ you integrate the game characters into other activities eg making an Angry Birds cake or playing Skylanders in the park? No, never have done and don't think they will.

Pinot Tue 17-Jul-12 16:24:02

I've definitely found it better to use electronic games as a treat for good behaviour.

So for example, if the kids behave whilst I'm browsing in the frenh supermarkets on holidays, then they "earn" a reward of some decent square-eye game playing later on.

Win/Win smile

Pinot Tue 17-Jul-12 16:24:18

frenh = french! Mais oui!

lorisparkle Tue 17-Jul-12 17:22:50

Does your child have a set limit on gadget time a day / a week? Why is this? How long? Does this work for you and them?

I have 3 DS (6,4, and 2) they don't have any gadgets as such although they occasionally use apps on my or DHs phone and DS1 has some games on his camera. They do enjoy games and activities on the computer but I limit this to every now and again.

What tips would you share with other parents about how to handle gadget use with children? How do you generally view use of these gadgets? What do you think are the benefits - to parents and to children? And what do you think are the disadvantages? (to parents and children)
If your child doesn't use a gadget like this please say why - it is down to you or them?

We decided that there was lots of time for DSs to play on computers and other gadgets so until they actively start asking for them then we won't buy them. Luckily this is the view of many of my friends whose children they play with so they don't have any peer pressure to own something.

I can see some advantage of having them when we are travelling in the car or visiting elderly relatives where there is not much space and they have to stay quiet.

I am not keen on encouraging too much use of games on the computer or gadget I think it encourages an 'instant reward' type mentality and does not extend physical skills or imagination.

What sort of games or apps does your child play with? Do they play with other children? If so, do they socialise when on it?
Does the game ever become reality? For example - do they act out the game in real life? Do they/ you integrate the game characters into other activities eg making an Angry Birds cake or playing Skylanders in the park?

Do not know play enough games to integrate it into play and do not play with others when playing

EllenParsons Wed 18-Jul-12 01:29:40

I think a bit of gadget use in holidays is fine as long as it does not take over, and other activities are also done. In this wet and cold summer we are having this year it is difficult to be out and about with kids all the time, so I think a bit of playing DS, ipad, computer games etc is a harmless way to have some fun indoors. Some games are educational and some are also active, such as wii sports, dance mat etc so I don't have a problem with that for an hour or so. I'm definitely not advocating hours in front of violent games, which I don't agree with.

SkipTheLightFanjango Wed 18-Jul-12 01:36:43

My dc's will be playing on the wii over the hols. I don't set any time limits, apart from how much I can cope with, and time is normally set by them ie when the first sound of wii remote on siblings head is heard grin.
My kids love the just dance games and mario cart, I am mostly unable to play with them as they hate me winning so I tend to watch and encourage the player who is trailing behind, if only to keep them from throwing a strop. With the awful weather the last holidays gave us the wii proved invaliable as a way to keep them occupied while I got on with the housework.

CheeryCherry Wed 18-Jul-12 06:43:47

My teen DS spends time on his ipod and ps3, both of which he shares with the rest of us, as he is around and about when he uses either. He self limits his time, pops on and off, but is chatting to us at the same time - he multi tasks which is a great skill! I guess a tip for younger children to prevent king spells on their gadgets would be to seem interested, so that they keep talking to you about it, and continue sharing their excitement! Also we have the Wii and ps3 set up downstairs so that others join in, and they are more likely to be distracted and spend shorter periods of time on them. I think these new games/apps etc are generally fab, create quite a lot of creative thinking, and can be a fun, sociable way to pass spare time. It's not, however, a replacement for getting into the real world and doing real things.

economymode Wed 18-Jul-12 08:14:29

My 14 month old is no longer allowed to play with my phone (after he threw it on the floor, stood on it and broke the screen). However, when he's older I suspect there will be apps on there just for him to hold his attention for a bit. We don't have a tablet computer at present, but are thinking of getting one in the next year or so, and again, we will probably download apps.

His dad is a big Wii fan and we have already had disagreements about the kind of games he will be allowed to play - my husband doesn't really seem to see the difference between a game in your imagination, like cowboys and Indians, and violent computer games where the images are in front of your eyes for real. That is something we will have to reach a compromise on, I'm sure.

I do let him play something called 'kneebouncers' on my laptop - it's a website where there are loads of games that just require keyboard bashing. This entertains him for a while.

I think it's really difficult to keep kids away from gadgets, since they are no so ubiquitous and they really want to have what mummy and daddy are holding. Realistically, I think our son will be very into gadgets at a young age.

TheRhubarb Wed 18-Jul-12 10:26:11

14 months old!

I see it this way, what is more likely to get them top marks at school and land them a good job? Is it their skills at Mario Karts? Or the fact that they can shoot zombies with precise accuracy? Or how about the ease with which they are able to download apps?

Some computers can be used for learning but children spend so much time playing games and honing their computer gaming skills that any other skill goes out of the window. So in another 15 years you'll find people leaving school with no real concept of the outside world, no worthwhile work skills, no communication skills and hardly any imagination.

I've seen it happen with my nephew who is jobless and stays at home all day playing computer games. He has no common sense, is unable to make decisions and finds it difficult to communicate with people. Once you see that happen to someone you realise just what a waste it is.

But then I suppose that it eliminates competition when they all leave school grin

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 18-Jul-12 18:48:53

Thanks for all your comments on this thread. Am pleased to say mumnosbest is the winner of the £50 Capital Bonds voucher. Well done.

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