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.

Hulababy Fri 04-Jan-13 11:05:18

In restrictions it is set so that she
- cannot buy apps (she also doesn't know my iTunes password)
- cannot buy any in app purchases
- only use things/watch videos/use games that are U, PG or 12 (not 15/18)
- no explicit language

She can:
- use safari - we have done internet safety with her, she's used internet at home a lot anyway, she knows what to do if sees anything she doesn't like, she also knows that we can access any internet searches/history
- has face time and skype using her own email account but is only allowed to do this with known friends and family
- has own email accounts (her yahoo one, which is one linked to a parent account, plus her school gmail one which has high restrictions to who she can contact anyway) - again I have complete access to those
- can iMessage

She isn't allowed facebook or twitter.

Hulababy Fri 04-Jan-13 11:08:45

DD is allowed to go on You Tube but we have had serious chats about it, I monitor and she asks beforehand.

DD will be getting a phone for her birthday in April, before going to secondary school. It is likely to be a smartphone, so we are trying to build up gradually whilst teaching her sensible safe aware internet and communication use. I have chosen not to ban many things such as internet and email as I want her to learn to use them properly, so ave gone down the trust route but will serious chat before and every so often, and what to do if something goes wrong. So far we have had no problems and she has had her iTouch 3 or 4 years, the iPad Mini came at Christmas and has introduced cameras for her hence facetime/Skype.

DD is very aware that I can and do monitor her use.

Theas18 Fri 04-Jan-13 14:37:08

Hullababy you sound very sensible. I'd just have a thing about whether she needs an internet capable phone/package. She could legitimately use the net at home and at school whenever she wants after all.

I went on a bullying update and cyber bullying on mobile devices is really really common and it's effect is to "bring the bully/bullying into your safe place" ie your home and bedroom, even your bed.

Oodhousekeeping Fri 04-Jan-13 14:51:17

thea it's quite scary what kids do via internet ( and people tricking kids). I went on a course run by CEOP which got me very paranoid! Plus I've seen a lot of bad affects ofFB etc at work( children's services)

Hulababy Fri 04-Jan-13 15:48:31

Yes I have also been on the cyber bullying type courses via dd's school and also educational inset type. But feel happy at present and continue to monitor.
The new restrictions are good though ESP re the age ratings for videos, music and apps separately

Some good advice here but many posters are talking about young children and not teenagers. You do have to adapt as they get older.
You really can't treat a 14 year old the same as a 10 year old.

ScaredySquirrel Sat 05-Jan-13 08:55:40

agree with secret squirrels - my 9yo is v similar to hula baby's 10yo and I don't really worry about her access/use of the iPod as she doesn't do fb, and really only iMessages her friends. my 12 and 14yo are very different kettles of fish!

It seems from other posts on here that older teenagers are pretty good at self-regulating, and maybe 12-14/15 is the trickiest age. For me (and I suspect lots of others), this is made more difficult by the fact that both of mine are really hormonal at the moment, and it is difficult to have any rational discussion with them, as it is likely to accompanied by slamming doors, huffing off and downright refusal to comply! so it's not going to be a pleasant conversation. (they do know though that the access to their phones they've got at the moment is not going to continue!).

I for one would rather they read books late into the night than played on their phones.

I was assuming dd was downloading not very legally as she isn't reading the classics like What Katy Did for free, but more recent teenagery type novels, which I assume aren't free. But I may be wrong!

Theas18 Mon 07-Jan-13 12:41:59

Scaredy I definitely think that they do start to self regulate at 15-16 but that 13-14 they just can't really do it- probably part of the boundary pushing game and not really having an adult sense of balance/priority.

DD1 (19) said we were baaaaad parents for given them tablets when they'd got January exams. She puts hers at the other side of the room when she's working LOLOL . she's got a really good ( for a student) sense of balance and allowing time for all areas of life- even if that does mean the essay/revision is done in the minimum time- that is the minimum time to do it properly and get get a 2:1 or 1st!

(and this is really odd because she'll be working on a laptop anyway!)

BackforGood Mon 07-Jan-13 15:25:00

I think it depends on the personality of the child.
My ds (16) can't self regulate at all, whereas my dd is FAR better. We've tried the trusting them and advising them - it works with dd, but ds has to have his lap top taken off him when we go to bed.
I don't get the 'turning off the internet' thing - dos that leave the whole house without internet ? Can't see that working here, as it doesn't seem fair that the other 4 of us should be unable to access the net just because ds can't self regulate himself.

ScaredySquirrel Tue 08-Jan-13 10:25:42

I've started the new regime now they're back at school - it involved the 9 yo having half an hour on her iPod downstairs before bed at 7.30 - she can't take it up to her room.

the older 2 are more difficult (had a row with dd1 last night over something else and she stropped off!). But they are currently both leaving their phones outside their rooms at 8.30. They are also having to prove they've done their homework (ds has to do it downstairs as he is too unreliable otherwise) before they can play on their phones.

My dd1 is just spending too much time on her phone at other times of the day and I need to tackle that. it's tricky though because she does all of her homework and to a very high standard. it's other things that are suffering like interaction with the family and reading of books. She doesn't watch any tv either.

Startail Tue 08-Jan-13 11:06:49

If we had to have phones and ipods and laptops downstairs every night we would actually never get to bed.

DD2 has lost her ipod, again, both have old mp3 players and DD1 a CD player she uses at night. DD1 is forever losing her phone. Neither of them necessarily can trace their DSs.

Both DDs plug their laptops into the mains, wired internet and sometimes external speakers (DD1 often has hers up in her bunk) and DD2 has a desktop machine wired into an impossible corner.

All this is before checking the little geeks haven't borrowed my phone, kindle or mp3 player, DHs phone is ancient and borrowing his work laptop pointless as it has very good security.

Actually neither of them do spend their lives on the phone or their ipods or they wouldn't lose them.

DD2 does spend too long playing SIMs, but what really drives me made is CBBC, I really wish DD2 would decide she was too old Tracey/dumping ground/returns and Hacker drive me demented.

Happily the TV power switch is right next to the kitchen door grin

Startail Tue 08-Jan-13 11:14:39

I think the one thing I do regret and would like to change about gadgets is not watching TV together.

DD1 watches lots of stuff on iplayer that I'd like, history science etc, but I haven't spotted till she mentions seeing it.

DD2 refuses to watch anything educational and DH isn't very keen in TV unless accompanied by a cuddle.

He might still vanish to his workshop without a computer, but DD2 wouldn't always.

GreatUncleEddie Tue 08-Jan-13 11:21:57

My DSs are 14 and 12. Only the 14yo has a smartphone, the other just texts (and has a laptop but no Facebook or Twitter). Rule is that phones go in the schoolbags at 9.30 on a school night, the elder uses his mostly for Facebook chat, the younger uses his very little. The laptop will come out of the younger one's room at that time the minute I catch him using it later, which hasn't happened yet.

SoggySummer Tue 08-Jan-13 11:29:30

I have an 11yo and 14yo. Both have had mobiles (cheap basic payg) for years because they go to boarding school and need to call home. This Xmas we finally relented to the years of begging and they both were given smart phones.

Luckily both their school have a strict rules about phones being handed in at bedtime so we just carry this on at home too. DD1 also had a Kindle Fire HD and we have said on some weekends/hols we will let her use it in her room for (pre agreed) films and books etc but that is ALL it is to be used for. We have already decided that any breech of this rule and there will be consequences. We have agreed to come donw quite hard on a fist offence and follow it through in the hope the penny drops the first time iykwim. She has been told this.

Both new smart phones are on PAYG - both would have been cheaper on contract but we went with Tesco Triple Credit. We did this for these reasons:

Before any of my DC are being put on contract I want them to have an understanding of monitoring and managing their useage. I know some companies cap contracts (Tesco) but I want them to learn that if they send a million texts or spend 1 whole day on 3G that its used up. I have too many friends who have ended up with shocking hideous bills when after 1 week 5000 texts have been used up and the following 3 weeks their DC have continued texting at the same rate. Not forgetting 3G access.

DD1 has a tendency to spend a stupid amount of time on Facebook given the chance. At school the the network firewall blocks this but all her friends use 3G for FB. On a contact with unlimited Data I have visions of her at school just on FB at every opportunity (especially evenings). We wont allow that much access at home so I dont want her having that much freedom to it at school. Putting her on PAYG means once her credit has been used up all on facebook and not calling home, she wont have a mobile. I am hoping this will teach her to manage it better. She will have to resot to using the boarding house phone to call home (which they all hate doing). Am hoping once or twice of her being like this means she will learn to control her useage.

We have a greed to top up by a certain amount every month and DD1 gets a monthly allowance - of she wants to top up more she can out of her own money (except she never has with her old mobile because she is too tight to pay for it herself when she could spend money in NewLook and Primarni instead).

Arcticwaffle Tue 08-Jan-13 12:27:55

My 12 and 11yos don't have smartphones, just cheap PAYGs, which are usually lost or flat anyway, they do have laptops. The laptops shut down from 9pm til 7am so they can't use them in bed.

Besides that I do limit technology use, tv and computer, and if they complain or overdo it I'd confiscate the laptops for a few days.

12yo (nearly 13) is on facebook but I have access to her account so can check what's going on, at least til she's 13. She's pretty sensible but her friends might not be.

I do trust my dc in terms of accessing dodgy sites or buying things they can't afford online, but they are not good at moderating usage, 11yo would spend al day on tv and computer if we didn't step in, I think.

Any arguments, technology gets removed. I find that quite easy to do and it means we don't have many arguments. When they were younger sometimes the tv would go away for a week, if there were arguments about turning it off.

PirateMother Wed 09-Jan-13 00:23:52

dd1 age 13 stared incredulous at me tonight when i took her ipod away at 23:20 until morning. she has been skyping / face timing her friends until all hours. several times i have been chatting to other family members only to find that someone else is listening via the ipod. I have told dd that from now on ipod will be given to me at 9pm and if she is making a video call she must make me aware so that i know who can see and hear me in my own home.
I have looked at the history and it seems at least 20 of her friends are regularly chatting after midnight.
Why are these young people not being supervised? Why am I constantly faced with children whose parents are either niave or not bothered?

Redbat Wed 09-Jan-13 13:54:17

When mine were this age, our routine was that they put their phones on the chargers in the kitchen at bedtime and left them there overnight.

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