How much time does your teen spend in front of a screen? My 14 year old DS has just saved up his pocket money to buy himself a laptop. He also has an IPad. He doesn't have much of a social life - is quiet and self contained - but he seems to be happy online. During the week he isn't allowed on computer games, but he seems to spend every waking weekend moment glued to a screen of one sort or another, conversing with other gamesters from all over the globe. Tonight I gathered all 3 DC together and suggested that a couple of hours or an afternoon every weekend are consecrated to us doing something as a family - eating, cooking, chatting, playing a board game, going out! I'm conscious that in 3 years DS will be gone, and we all seem to co-exist independently, shut off in our own little worlds. Am I being too ambitious or prescriptive? What do you all do as a family with your teens? Any advice would be very welcome. Thanks.
Spent most of my teenage years on the computer for 6-8 hours a day, it was only when I went to college and got a new social group that I started going out more- but even then spent 5 hours in front of a computer. My relationship with my parents is brilliant. It's just what young people do now, unless you're lucky enough to end up with a sporty child who is training 4 nights a week
Sadly for you 'screens' are the norm now, not scrabble and hungry hippos and rounders with the kids on the street. I think as long as he's doing a variety of things like chatting to friends, Skype, forums, Wikipedia browsing alongside games it's fine. It would be a different case if he was sat in front of the same MMORPG day in day out out (think world of Warcraft!)
I'd leave him be, once he discovers girls and looks old enough to get served in the pub- it won't be a problem any more.
It's life now I'm afraid. At least they are socialising when they are playing on line with friends. I have two teen DSs and we do pretty much what you suggest. We sit and eat together as a family every night but I try to do special meals at weekends. We also do play card or board games or all go out together at sometime during a weekend. I try to do a day out or so in school holidays. When they are older these things are all a bit more expensive, a trip to the park doesn't cut it any more, but I'm concious they won't be at home forever..
Like secret - NO games throughout the week and no screens after 9.30 would cause uproar in this house! I think your "3 hours of nice family time" a weekend is a bit optomistic too. I have 2 teens (+ a nearly teen) and of course lots of nieces, nephews, Godchildren and children of friends. I've come to accept that their life just involves screens, for all sorts of things that we managed without!
Just to explain, though: during the week we are up at 5.30am, to leave the house at 6.45, to be in school for 7.15 (it starts at 7.30am), and because we're teachers in said school, we run after school activities and often don't all get home until 5.30 - 6pm. Then homework, tea and down time. 2 youngest head upstairs at 7.45 because it's such an early start. It's a blood treadmill ... Don't like screens on too late in the week because DS1 isn't a great sleeper and needs time for his brain to calm down.
I suspect you're right about my weekend plans being over-optimistic but I'd like to see them and touch base from time to time!