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To think the biggest threat to my parenting is screens?

(91 Posts)
FWBcomplexity Thu 14-Jun-18 22:54:24

I know. It's a dramatic title. But I spend a ridiculous amount of thought, planning, energy and worry around the iPad and the Xbox. I want it to end. I need it to end.

I have bought a box, with a lid and a 12 hour padlock in my quest to get this issue under control. I turn off the wifi at 9pm. I deal with crap parenting day in, day out in my job. I know about rules, boundaries, consequences, the kindness of saying no, nurturing, attachment blah blah blah. But I'm still not getting it right.

Still Roblox and fucking Fortnite are a daily negotiation so complex it makes Brexit look smooth. An outright ban seems archaic but is that the only route? Does anyone else find their generally lovely kids turn into demonic, screaming, slightly unhinged weirdos after? It effects their sleep, eating, concentration, mood sad if I let them, I genuinely think they'd never stop. AIBU to feel like screens are the one bit of parenting that I can't get right?

And here I am, laid in bed, stressing about screens. Whilst posting on my phone hmm

Loopyloopy Thu 14-Jun-18 23:17:42

They're addictive, and deliberately designed to be so. You can't reason with that!

mrbob Thu 14-Jun-18 23:21:38

Um don’t have an Xbox and iPad? They will get over it, do something else and you won’t have to deal with it

Teapot13 Thu 14-Jun-18 23:24:38

I really don't see the issue with an outright ban. My kids are still little, though, so the issue isn't one I deal with much yet.

Can you give them a block of time that they can do it, like on the weekend when homework is done, and ban the rest of the time?

AhoyDelBoy Thu 14-Jun-18 23:26:54

I don't know the answer unfortunately OP (I'm sure I'd be very rich if I did!) but I'm very worried about all this screen stuff already and my DD is only 8mo. You sound like you know what you're doing generally so at least you have that advantage. I'd say just get rid of them all but I'm sure that's much easier said than done. Good luck wine

busybarbara Thu 14-Jun-18 23:31:24

Sounds like how my parents used to bang on about telly in the old days. But anyway.. I've found the trick here isn't to ban or restrict anything but to actually introduce and add extra activities into their lives so they'll naturally do other things with their time and self moderate. Think things like brownies, scouts, biking, dance clubs, instruments etc

SeriousSimon Thu 14-Jun-18 23:40:40

Sorry but I find it hard to relate to this and I have two boys that love their x box and Fortnite.

Screaming? Unhinged? Just get strict. Mine know I don't stand for whinging, arguing or any screen related bad behaviour and I also don't put up with moaning or bargaining. If any of that happens, the X Box remains off for as many days as I choose until they remember their manners.

Just set a time limit. One hour each on Tuesday and Thursday and two on Saturday (or whatever you choose). Any moaning and they forfeit their next upcoming day.

Efferlunt Thu 14-Jun-18 23:51:03

It’s so hard. Mine are perhaps a bit younger and mincraft obsessed. We only allow it a n a Friday and Saturday. That way the expectations are very clear on both sides and while we still have a battle it’s not a daily one.

PorkFlute Thu 14-Jun-18 23:54:05

Mine get 30 mins a night to spend on the Xbox or iPad. I can’t say I’ve noticed any issues with behaviour after.
Why are you turning WiFi off etc. Do they have consoles in their bedrooms?

Pascall Fri 15-Jun-18 00:02:26

Rules, rules, rules. And stick to them... no matter what.

I find my own advice hard to implement even though I know it is the answer.

DS(12) is pretty respectful of the rules, but dd(15) is a different kettle of fish. The fallout from taking her social media off her is HUGE, but then she is a different child for a while... until she gets it back. She cannot stick to the rules and will employ devious and manipulative tactics to get her own way. When she has unrestricted access she is rude and mean. When we take it away (for being extremely rude and mean) she is hell on earth for about 24 hours, then we get our lovely daughter back. But then invariably she needs it for homework, or to chat to her friend who emigrated, or this, or that (all genuine reasons) and we give it back to promises that it wont happen again.
I am worn out with the cycle of it and constantly think about taking it away for good.

Neither of them had a phone till year 7, or social media till 13 (ds still doesn't have it) and he only got a PlayStation last year. They both turn their devices in by 9pm and (in theory) have limited time on them - supposedly to match the amount of physical exercise they do. But it's a constant battle and I hate it.

However, my mum is very fond of pointing out that I was exactly the same, and there were no screens then. The telly wasn't even on in the afternoon or after 10pm. And I was still a hellish teenager. She used to give out to me for READING too much fgs.

No idea what the answer is.

UrgentScurryfunge Fri 15-Jun-18 00:04:08

I'm guessing yours are older than mine. I let them on later in the day and expect them to burn energy off first. Left to their own devices, the pent up energy from sitting too still for too long seems to explode out of them later.

gillybeanz Fri 15-Jun-18 00:08:39

Behave with it, or outright ban.
I had one who could self regulate, very mature, the other who would try anything as was addicted and hard work to monitor.
Dd hasn't really bothered and will play something occasionally with a friend/sibling

MumofBoysx2 Fri 15-Jun-18 00:16:19

The game makers are so clever, they know exactly how to reel kids in with their upgrades and instant gratification. Most of my kids' friends play. We haven't banned it but they have to earn it for doing their homework (we're mean and give them extra on top of their school homework), and it gets taken away again just as easily for bad behaviour. I like the idea of the lockable box!

teaandtoast Fri 15-Jun-18 01:26:47

How long do you let them on for, op?

As a gamer, I'm suggesting a larger block of time once/twice a week, rather than half an hour a night. Half an hour is just not worth it on the PS4, imo - you'd just be getting into it and have to stop. If you can't save it, for whatever reason, then you might as well have not bothered at all.

Ozgirl75 Fri 15-Jun-18 04:58:32

I agree about it being a threat and to that end we just have never really introduced much technology - but enough so it isn’t forbidden fruit.

My boys have an iPad that they share and are allowed some apps that I currently vet. We don’t have a games system and we won’t be getting one. They won’t be allowed online games at all. They can only play games in the shared areas of the house, not their rooms.

And the main thing - we try to make sure we have lots of other stuff to keep them busy. Clubs, sport, playing out, homework grin so that when they do go on tech, their time is automatically limited.

It’s a hard and ever changing issue though.

Henrysmycat Fri 15-Jun-18 05:12:31

I’m exactly the same. DD is 10 and she has only a kindle that she got for Xmas. Somehow, she managed to download both Roblox and Forthnite by guessing the adult password, getting into the settings and changing all the restrictions.
It’s a bloody minefield. We we given a PS4 or something and it went straight to a resell site just for this reason. She has classmates that play that proverbial non-stop.
She has activities and I keep her busy but those few days that she on on roblox she was a zombie. All were confiscated (because of the lying) now but damn, I feel so stress parenting about this subject. My parents were whining to get of MTV and tv but that was machine. Nowadays, it’s relentless.

Pixiedust2017 Fri 15-Jun-18 05:20:03

This is something I have yet to deal with as my little one is too young for this to be a worry yet. I did however see a wonderful idea on mumsnet on a thread where the mother gave her children "time tokens" for screen time and allocated it every week like pocket money. The children could trade their tokens in for 1 hour of screen time per token and could use them as they chose but when the tokens were "spent" that was it for the week. I thought it was a great idea. It limits screen time but with the child making the decisions as to what they use it for and if they don't save it for the weekend then they have to find new ways of entertaining themselves. I shared this idea with my friend who is struggling with this issue with her 8 year old and she has adopted it and thinks it is fab.

parrotonmyshoulder Fri 15-Jun-18 05:43:27

How old are they?
Read Nicola Morgan (not the former education secretary) ‘The teenage guise to life online’ and then share it with your DC. It’s a book, but she also has a good website with tips and advice.

BlitheringIdiots Fri 15-Jun-18 06:21:54

Make some timing rules and stick to them. Our rules are homework has to be done, dinner eaten, washing up done and school bag got ready for the next day then DS can go on laptop. His computer closes down at 8pm and he knows that's it. Weekends again homework done, spending time with us etc all done and he can then ask. Laptop isn't online til 10am so he can't sneakily use it. He's 12.5. Works fine.

headhurtstoomuch Fri 15-Jun-18 06:25:36

Completely understand where you are coming from. Mine become so argumentative with each other about turns, which then turns into a rage etc. I do think these games have an adverse effect on kids. We too turn the WiFi off. I put a limit on it but then the arguments of how I don't let them do anything they like start.

Before anyone says put them into sports etc mine go to actives everyday after school and on the weekend. I think with school work/ sports etc they need there own form of downtime and Fortnite is it sadly. I'm reluctant to completely ban it as they just don't have time to play everyday but the agreement is that all school work has to be completed beforehand.

No advise but just to say I feel your pain and you are definitely not alone in this battle!

SEsofty Fri 15-Jun-18 06:26:38

Genuine question. If you are worried about screens why did you buy a dedicated gaming machine

Like all potentially addictive things it’s much easier to handle if the temptation is not in the house.

Not to mention the expense

FWBcomplexity Fri 15-Jun-18 06:29:25

The eldest is 15 - no problems whatsoever because he has constantly got a guitar in his hand. He only does homework on his school iPad and he looks up chords on there, that's pretty much it.

The next one is 10, he is the Fortnite fiend. He is restricted to one weekend day and one night per week (between 6-7) on the game. He accesses the iPad to do his maths homework and watch YouTube videos about chicken hmm He knows the rules. They are written in our daily rules and he still asks everyday. He is definitely the most addicted and will not part easily with the iPad after his 30 mins is up.

The youngest is 7, she's the roblox fan. She has 30 mins of iPad time per night but her maths homework is incorporated into that. She will engage in alternative activities. Last night we did mini olympics, she will craft, go for a walk, will play out with me. The middle one is scornful of doing any of this.

I am a lone parent. They do one extra activity each, guitar, cycling and gymnastics. I can not afford anything else plus I work FT so getting them out x2 a week after school is enough.

I LOVE the idea of screen tokens. I'm not sure about how many hours per week token wise to give them? It has to be an equal amount as they are obsessed with siblings getting more/less.

I will read the recommended stuff. Thank you all. I have done an outright ban when it got really bad, I had an operation for endometriosis last year and the youngest two were on it more while I recovered so that took a lot of undoing. It's so difficult because it's just me, they don't have a friends in the village I've moved to (it was cheap!) so don't play out unless I play with them. I do feel quite a shit parent and I am struggling (hence the thread!)

Canigoonroblox Fri 15-Jun-18 06:31:15

I have rules about screentime, I'm firm about them coming off when time is up. They are both fit and active and do lots of other things. They still protest when coming off screen time and ask for more. If it gets too bad I take the Xbox away for a couple of days. I could happily chuck it in the sea.

BackInTime Fri 15-Jun-18 06:31:30

I ageee OP it is so hard to keep a lid on this. I firmly believe that screens and social media are having a major impact on the health and mental health of young people. I am constantly amazed by how some seemingly sensible parents give their DCs free reign online and allow them to have devices in their rooms at night. Some people will just do anything for a quiet life but it’s up to parents to be tough, make rules and make them stick.

stopfuckingshoutingatme Fri 15-Jun-18 06:32:05

Yes !

I don’t know what else to say

The addiction
The fury it generates
Having to hide them
The reluctance to do homework
The potential bullying longer term
The lack of interest in anything else

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