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about tablet/computer use

(26 Posts)
iwouldgoouttonight Tue 20-Jan-15 20:02:36

DS (8) is currently in his room wailing and shouting that he wants different parents because we're so cruel and don't care about him and everything is not fair.

The reason is because apparently everyone else at school has a tablet or phone of their own that they can use whenever they want. We have a tablet and a laptop that belong to the whole family rather than just being his, but he's the only one who uses the tablet so it's virtually his anyway. DD occasionally uses it but not much. The laptop has minecraft on it and during the day, if we don't need to work on it, he's allowed to use it.

We set time limits, not exact times, but maybe something like 'you can play on it until tea time and then put it away until tomorrow'. So he'll have an hour or so on it most days, sometimes more and sometimes less.

But apparently everyone else can spend as long as they like playing computer games and can sit in their room all day with it if they like. hmm

So AIBU in not letting him use it more or not letting him have one of his own? From the wailing going on at the minute I'm starting to feel as though we're the worst parents in the world.

ApocalypseThen Tue 20-Jan-15 20:05:48

I wouldn't be too convinced by a child's report of what everyone else is allowed to do, to be honest.

TheWhiteRoad Tue 20-Jan-15 20:09:15

I wouldn't be swayed by an 8 year olds pronouncement of what 'everyone' else is doing either.

whothehellknows Tue 20-Jan-15 20:10:14

Nope. DD(7) does have one of her own. But it's used as an incentive to get her to do the things I need her to do, as opposed to having unlimited use. For example, once she's gotten up and gotten herself ready for school in the morning (uniform, breakfast, teeth, bag packed, etc) then she's allowed to use it until it's time to leave. Otherwise she hangs about and gets distracted and it's a struggle to get her out the door on time.

After school she's allowed to use it when all of her homework (reading, spelling and other assignments) are finished, and it goes off when it's time to get ready for bed.

Any bad behaviour and it's confiscated. But after the first couple of weeks, the novelty wore off and she spends more time drawing and mucking about.

tomandizzymum Tue 20-Jan-15 20:12:16

But do you feed and clothe everybody else? If you did, he'd have a lot more to complain about than time on the screen.

I've had the everybody else speech before. My usual response is that I don't have time to go about parenting everybody elses kids so he needs to stop worrying about them all wasting thier lives away on screens, but it's nice of him to care so much.

loudarts Tue 20-Jan-15 20:12:48

My dcs do have their own tablets, but they are only allowed on them after 3 and they are turned off by half 4 so nowhere near all day

tomandizzymum Tue 20-Jan-15 20:14:21

I've had the everybody else speech before. I said I didn't have time to go and parent everybody else but it was kind of him to worry about how much time they spent on screens.

MagratsHair Tue 20-Jan-15 20:15:25

I'm the same as you OP, my DS didn't have his own tablet until his 9th birthday and we set times as well smile we have an Xbox in the living room for both boys to share.

But I have a DS2 who is 5 and already there are classmates who have their own iPad and we walk to school with a mum who has a 9 year old with his own Xbox, TV and DVD player in his room. The boy is in there playing 18 rated games from 7 am til its time to leave for school and then again after school until about 9 or 10 when he decides to go to bed. This info is from the mum herself.

I would believe your child tbh as there are parents who use consoles as babysitters.

madmother1 Tue 20-Jan-15 20:23:23

You have to have rules about the time your child spends on tablets. Believe me, my daughter of 14 spends way too much time and moans when I take it off her at bedtime. She says I'm a cruel Mother, blah blah blah. I just tell her, I'm the boss of the family and I'm in charge of the rules - tough!! It is okay to lay the law down. We are not our children's friends. I remember hating my Mum for not letting me have things and letting me do things, but I stilled loved her. I sometimes wish that the ipad/phones hadn't been invented. My children have such a different life with all these gadgets and that I could take them to an island where they didn't exist!!

SweetsForMySweet Tue 20-Jan-15 20:23:29

YADBVU Op! I dont know how you sleep at night! Call Social Services this second!!! The neglect!! grin
Seriously, of course 'Everyone' else has it but your ds, it was the same 30 odd years ago when I was young when we were trying to manipulate convince our parents to get us the latest craze. It's a strategy to guilt trip you, don't fall for it. Fwiw, your ds is lucky to have access to a tab/laptop under supervision at home, not every child is as lucky. Play him back, turn on the water works and the whole spiel 'oh look! I hope you're happy now, you've upset your mum' sad grin

Goingintohibernation Tue 20-Jan-15 20:23:34

YANBU. DS (7) doesn't have one. I don't see that changing within the next year. He has access to an ancient Wii DH and I bought ourselves years ago, and our family laptop, but only at weekends and during holidays. He hasn't yet told me that everyone else has these things, but I am sure it is only a matter of time!

BackforGood Tue 20-Jan-15 20:34:38

"Everyone else" is an oft overused phrase, and has been since time began I should imagine.
When I were a lass, "everyone" was allowed to stay up and watch Starsky and Hutch except me angry until one of my firends parents happened to be chatting to one of my parents once and the truth came out not that my parents were daft enough to believe me - I'm sure everyone else will remember their own. grin

Gorja Tue 20-Jan-15 20:35:52

I'm probably one of those Mums you are cursing. Mine all have their own tablets. I don't limit screen time at all and expect them to self moderate.
This seems to work well with mine as they are often doing other things, barbies and dolls for youngest two, lego for the nine year old and drawing for my eldest.
I don't take them away at bedtime nor do I monitor what they are doing on them.

As I said it works for us, but we are probably the Mum of the kids that are telling their parents everybody else is allowed.

stealthsquiggle Tue 20-Jan-15 21:59:53

My DC have their own (through various combinations of saving, handing down and presents). However, that doesn't mean they can use them whenever they like. We are in the process of drastically reducing the amount of time they can or do spend on them, having finally noticed the correlation between DD(8)s screen time and her horrendous behaviour. DS(12) is not quite as badly affected but knows that his screen time will be limited too.

iwouldgoouttonight Tue 20-Jan-15 22:00:14

Thanks all. I know he's exaggerating about everyone having their own tablets. I always thought I'd be fine at this part of parenting and I'd just say well you can't always have what everyone else has, but he was so upset this evening he got me doubting myself.

ApocalypseThen Tue 20-Jan-15 22:14:12

But even if everyone else did have it, that has no bearing on what's best for your family. To my mind, that kind of a tantrum (as my kids will repeat, wearily), is a sign that the child isn't able to handle any amount of time on any device so we may have to revise whether any access is suitable at this time.

Tends to work.

blanklook Tue 20-Jan-15 23:59:29

Gorja "I don't take them away at bedtime nor do I monitor what they are doing on them."

Do you have any parental controls set on their screens or do you just allow them unlimited internet access?

catsofa Wed 21-Jan-15 00:37:57

9 year old DSD has something like the same access as your DS, OP, stick to your guns. No internet access unsupervised (adult in the same room) either, since we figured out some of the stuff she was looking at. Don't think she'd do anything else if we let her use the laptop as much as she wanted!

notquiteruralbliss Wed 21-Jan-15 06:34:07

I'm with Gorja. But we work in tech and are a very tech focused household. DCs have laptops / iPads etc and use them whenever they choose. We have never used parental controls either though I am pretty sure the DCs could easily find a way round if we did.

meisiemee Wed 21-Jan-15 06:47:09

I think about this so often and have started researching into it as I often wonder if screens are the games/toys of this generation. Would I worry so much if DS was playing lego for 3 hours a day?
I feel it's about balance. If DC are getting exercise, not missing out on seeing friends, completing homework, going to sleep etc... And they are playing safely then I feel I have to accept that's how the games are now.
We do use screens a lot but we do a lot of screen time together as well, building minecraft cities for example, it is creative, the new modern creativeness granted.
That's only my opinion!

RingtheBells Wed 21-Jan-15 06:48:51

Of course everyone else has one and can use it all the time, same as everyone else can go to so and so and when he is about 14 everyone else will be going to a pop festival or somewhere unsuitable on their own. If he had his own tablet or phone, everyone else would be still using it all day and as he gets older everyone else will be playing GTA or similar.

Happy days grin we've all been through it.

2fedup Wed 21-Jan-15 07:00:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OddFodd Wed 21-Jan-15 07:12:14

Well if he's desperate for his 'own' tablet, could you get him one for his birthday? And suggest that to him? DS begged me for his 'own' device which he got for his birthday but he doesn't spend any more time on it than he did on a shared device - it's just the sense of ownership which is important to him.

Perfectlypurple Wed 21-Jan-15 07:19:22

My dsd used to be allowed pretty much unlimited access to screen time. At her mums she was allowed on it all day, and I know it's is true from checking the history and seeing how long she was on it. We found she was a nightmare when she was on it too long, she turned into s zombie, was rude, cheeky etc so I limited it. Half an hour at a time maximum of twice a day on school days and a maximum of 4 times on a non school day. She would come offsite out moaning. If I let it go a bit longer without telling her it was longer she would moan when I told her to come off, proving that the longer she was on there the worse her behaviour. So she would then be told I had given her extra time to see how she was and that I wouldn't be increasing the time.

Now she is 17 so I don't have limits but if she has been on it for hours I will tell her she needs to stop and do something else. She has a tendency to get obsessed with things to the detriment of everything else so I still need to make sure she does her college work etc.

stealthsquiggle Wed 21-Jan-15 08:53:37

notquiteruralbliss - we both work in tech too and are in front of screens ourselves all day. That, funnily enough hmm doesn't change the fact that DD turns into a complete monster if she spends a long time on her ipad. I know I am not alone either as RL friends have observed the same in their DC.

TBH I had not made the connection until I confiscated her ipad for some misdemeanor, and after the ritual storm and strop about losing it, half an hour later we had our lovely girl back and she stayed that way all weekend. She got her ipad back in the end, and an hour later she had reverted to the stroppy, defiant nightmare which had had me pulling my hair out to understand where it was coming from. This "experiment" has proved repeatable, too.

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