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

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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