What are your rules on use of phones/ipods? I have 10-14 year olds and need to set some ground rules

(42 Posts)
ScaredySquirrel Thu 03-Jan-13 10:22:02

my 12 yo dd has an iPhone (my old one!), and a phone contract, and has been joined this christmas by her 14 year old brother (who has a phone contract) and her 10 year old sister who has an iPod touch. The phone contracts mean that turning off the internet wouldn't work, and they have unlimited data usage on these too. I have parental controls on each device so know they aren't doing anything dodgy.

Currently - since Christmas anyway - they have all been taking their phones upstairs with them to bed in the evenings and spending unlimited time on them. I have said that I am going to set some rules as to the amount of time that can be spent etc, but wondered what other people have.

Do you ban phones in bedrooms? Do you make them deposit their phones outside their bedrooms at a specified time?

do you limit time spent every evening? I know that my children will not self regulate this (previous experience with ds and his x-box, now banned), so need to set some firm, but fair rules.

and also I can envisage a major argument with my 12 yo about this and any tips on how you dealt with this would be really helpful.

Well it's strictly cheap PAYG phones here for a start.
In school holidays I relax but on school nights I would say no phone after bedtime, whatever time that is in your house. I don't remove the phone at be time though, they are pretty sneaky good.

No using phones at the table ever.

Oodhousekeeping Thu 03-Jan-13 12:40:23

Phones downstairs at night. No internet signal in their room anyway.
I started a similar thread last night so watching yours too!

ScaredySquirrel Thu 03-Jan-13 13:18:36

ds had a payg phone and I found it quite expensive! I need him to have a phone as he travels across London to school, and the deal we have on the iPhone is pretty good. but since Christmas he has not been off the bloody thing, and I need to regulate him as he just won't do it himself.

dd1 just switched her simcard from her cheap phone to my old iPhone. again a cheap monthly contract.I know she uses Facebook - I have forced her to make me her friend so I can see most of what she does, and I look from time to time, but still it worries me what she gets up to on her phone. In any case I prefer them to read a book or something at bedtime rather than be messing around on phones.

dd1 is already most difficult about her phone - it is surgically attached to her at most times. and we have already had many a teenage strop about it. She is saying she can't leave her phone out of her room at night as she reads books on it and uses it for her alarm hmm. It won't be a pretty sight when i tell her what the rules are we discuss this.

Like SecretSquirrels we also have a no device at the table rule which they all have no problems with.

BlissfullyIgnorant Thu 03-Jan-13 13:30:53

I shall follow this thread with interest...both DCs have smart phones but DS is horrendous. He spent most of the Xmas hols watching YouTube and is a nightmarish horror now. We had to confiscate and DH has issued some very strict instructions; no phone use unless otherwise permitted and for no more than 15 mins a day at the mo. DS is at boarding school so makes use of some of the features but he's been in trouble for excessive use of the crap apps; a common problem, so we believe.
Frankly, I'm at my wits end with DS and tech in general. Were it not for the calendar, diary and email, I'd happily put a hammer into the lot.

ScaredySquirrel Thu 03-Jan-13 13:41:20

blissfullyignorant, I already had to confiscate my ds's xbox as it drove him slightly loopy. and he could not take any restrictions on it at all. When I took it off him, he went berserk and broke things and threatened me with a knife shock - he does have asd though. I want to avoid the same issues with the phone. He seems alright though so far as the games are less addictive I think- it's dd1 that's obsessed with hers!

Theas18 Thu 03-Jan-13 13:49:51

Again here we gave giffgaff for the phones so unlimited txt but no net access.

DS is pretty good and self regulates- he could text all night but doesn't seen to and has started to value sleep. (he's nearly 17]

Dd2 is 13 and we may need to have her new little tablet when doing home work and at 9 pm I think.asst the moment I wouldn't trust her as I've caught her listening to the radio at silly o'clock and facebooking at 11.30-was a sleepover but still, I don't want to have to worry what she and her mates are doing all night on the Web, though they are sensible.

Giff Gaff £5 a month for unlimited texts. Plus a little bit of call credit for emergencies, though they rarely make calls.
Can't get cheaper surely?
If they want to use internet on phones then they have to do it with wi fi. mor
X box, well my DS are 17 and 14 now. There have been periods where they both over used it and periods when they went off it for months. At one time I had a strict rota spreadsheet on the fridge I kid you not which included one day a week of no xbox. That worked ok but they resented it so I am more relaxed now.

ScaredySquirrel Thu 03-Jan-13 14:57:11

oh I didn't know about giffgaff. (my mum got him the original phone with a different network). Never mind -I'm stuck with the contract now! so just need to regulate use of the phones.

StressedoutMotherofTeens Thu 03-Jan-13 14:58:50

Both have their phones/ipods taken off them at night. That way at least I know they are going to get a good nights sleep!

No phones/gadgets at mealtimes and no electronic stuff until homework done and if no homework usually not allowed to play on them until after dinner. Bed early (9pm) even if not asleep they have nothing to play with so they can read!
DD (15) and DS(13) - if I left it up to them they would never stop playing.

GetorfsaMotherfuckingMorrisMan Thu 03-Jan-13 15:01:32

I used to have dd plug her phone in in my bedroom at night (and turned the broadband off). It was a non negotiable rule. No point in arguing with it really - when she was about 14 or so she would have been on the thing for hours.

She is 17 now so doesn't have to do this, but it was a good rule for a couple of years.

GrumpySod Thu 03-Jan-13 15:03:26

Ideally, I think I should take phones & devices (iPad, DSi) off them consistently at 9pm, return at 8am.
In reality, I can't quite be that organised.
So far their late-night comms are not causing problems, but situation is under constant review. When they are difficult getting up & out or if I see them still on late at night on school nights, I take the device off them there and then. I'll turn a blind eye on non-school nights, though.

If a kid has ASD isn't it supposed to be easier to set rules & stick rigidly to them? (Sorry if I'm showing ignorance).

uggmum Thu 03-Jan-13 15:05:31

My dd has an iPhone and an iPad. I do not restrict usage. She is sensible and is allowed her phone in her room at night. When we eat together or have 'family film' night (once a week) she is not allowed to have her phone with her.

ScaredySquirrel Thu 03-Jan-13 18:14:40

thanks everyone - i think I'll have to specify that phones get taken out of rooms at a specified time (and are only available after homework is done) - I don't really want to turn the broadband off though as I like to surf in the evening! dd1 will not take this well though.

i don't have to worry about dds homework, as she is very sensible, but I'd rather she read a book at night. but the iPhone is a huge point of principle for her so there will be a massive strop I think when we discuss this.

ds1 would stay up too late (and be exhausted at school the next day) , and race through his homework doing it to a really crap standard though so I need to watch him carefully though.

grumpy sod it helps for me to be consistent with him and have the same routine every day. Unfortunately he wouldn't obey every rule though - just some, so it means that today when he played monopoly with his siblings it was a nightmare because he applied every rule rigidly, even to the little ones.

it also means he gets obsessive about things and can't control his temper particularly well.

Floralnomad Thu 03-Jan-13 18:23:37

I have a 13 year old and a 19 year old , I've never limited access or taken electronics off them, I just advise . I think it's better for them to learn to regulate themselves . However mine are both sensible and have always decided stuff for themselves i.e I've never had bed times and always had TVs / Internet etc in bedrooms . I find that both of mine spend a lot of their evenings downstairs with us .

Startail Thu 03-Jan-13 18:30:51

No rules except ticking DD2 off mildly for texting her friend at stupid o'clock at night.

Oh and no face book. DH hates it and both DD1's school peers and the primary school gate mums are dreadful gossips and we don't want to get sucked in.

There would be trouble if DD1 (14) went over her contract (exceptionally unlikely as she has only a couple of mates she chats to) or DD2 wanted vast amounts of Credit on hers.

I'm afraid, I'm of the the Internet is everywhere, and if you block things they'll find them else where brigade.
I know DD2 does FB occasionally at a friends.

You can't stop them borrowing a friends phone or lap top or finding a loophole at school and you have to trust them.

also we live in the sticks so it's hard to physically meet anyone without the mummy taxi.

Startail Thu 03-Jan-13 18:34:23

As for sleep it's the book cases not the tech that would need moving down stairs.

Both have been known to read until stupid times and to put there lights back in after midnight when they have pretended to be asleep when I checked.

Theas18 Thu 03-Jan-13 19:02:04

I dunno somehow I don't mind reading till silly o'clock!

I am a ittle concerned that younger teens with unlimited net access and teen brains will get round net nanny type stuff and be doing inappropriate stuff, just cos they can! Also gaming/screen time late at night can affect sleep quality etc

outtolunchagain Thu 03-Jan-13 22:30:53

My 11 year old is just getting an iPod toch with his birthday and Xmas money plus savings. I wasn't keen but he was the only one of his friends without one and has saved very diligently .

My plan is to disable safari on the restrictions menu and app purchases etc . I don't think he will be pleased several of his friends seem to have unlimited access but that's the deal.Plus not allowed it after bedtime

ScaredySquirrel Thu 03-Jan-13 22:44:04

explain that to me again outtolunchagain - how do you disable safari? would that disable you tube?

Dd1 says she reads books (illegally downloaded hmm) on her iPhone, but then I worry about her eyesight.

She hasn't been foolish enough to post a late message on fb yet.

my son is just playing zombie type games afaik, not porn or anything dodgy.

outtolunchagain Thu 03-Jan-13 23:25:13

Well on my iPhone if I go into Settings/ general/ restrictions you can not allow safari without a pass code . Hoping that will work, don't mind him playing angry birds or listening to music but surfing the web gives me the worries

flow4 Fri 04-Jan-13 09:15:19

What makes you think the books are illegally downloaded, Squirrel? My DS2 has downloaded quite a few books onto his new iPod too - which I have seen as a Very Good Thing because he's never been keen on real paper books! AFAIK, there are lots of free iBooks available legally, in much the same way there are free books for my Kindle... But you've made me wonder if I'm being naive!

LeonieDeSainteVire Fri 04-Jan-13 09:27:41

We insist that all phones/iPods/iPad left downstairs at night and I check before bed that they are. If they are upstairs they will be confiscated for a week. I think they are such a distraction at night and they need their sleep. Oh and the iPad can only be used upstairs with the door open.

But we don't have TV upstairs or take our phones upstairs so these have always been the rules and so probably easier to implement than trying to impose them later.

My bigger problem is limiting the time DS spends on his iPod games, he's always on there and it drives me crazy.

Hulababy Fri 04-Jan-13 09:45:14

DD is 10y. Her new iPad doesn't go upstairs at bedtime. She has an old iPod Touch which resides on her docking station but she never uses this at bedtime. TBH as she sleeps in a top bunk we'd hear her getting up and down.

I reserve all rights to read any messages and emails. It would appear many of her friends received tablets, netbooks or iPod Touch type things for Christmas so there has been a lot of iMessaging, emailing and Facetime conversations in the past week or so.

I am letting DD have unrestricted use, bar bedtime, on hr new iPad over the holidays anyway. When she is back at school it will be restricted as not in anyway. he will also be expected to complete all homework before it is used, and not to be used at meal times or when friends are visiting.

Weekends will vary. I don't set times, etc but will monitor. But same rules regarding homework and visitors, including family - unless showing them, etc. If out and about - neither to be used when sitting together eating, chatting, etc.

DD goes up to bed between 8 and 9 depending on the school day. No iPad at this time. She reads on her Kindle and that is it. Lights off around 9pm and def no devices then. Weekends - bedtime later, but no iPad or messaging etc once she goes up for the night.

outtolunchagain Fri 04-Jan-13 10:16:13

Hula my ds is the same age,does she have free access to safari and youtube as well as games .Have just had discussion with ds3 about games ,music,youtube etc .

Think I am worried because we have recently had problems with ds2 downloading all sorts of stuff over the internet,mostly games with 18 cert and am worried about what ds3 could be looking at or able to download

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