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My child is addicted to technology.

(36 Posts)
Cosyhusky Thu 04-Apr-19 07:08:53

She's 5.5 and the first thing she said to me this morning was, 'Can I go on your phone for a while please'.

I know how terrible this is. But I'm wondering how to break the habit without just going cold turkey, as that will never end well.

Anyone else have a child like this? How did you go about it?

womandear Thu 04-Apr-19 07:19:51

No you can’t is the answer. You’re the parent - do not let her play with your phone. Delete the apps and games she uses.
Don’t let her have iPad time and monitor screen time as ‘screen’ time to include telly. Tv for us is something we might let them watch after school at the end of the day when chores or honeworkinf or reading is all done.
She won’t suffer - because when little kids get ‘ bored’ they go off and play and do other stuff.
And forget all those ‘eductional’ Apps that promise to help your kids read or count - at her age she just needs pictures books and to be read to. And to play with the pennies from your purse, or count her dolls. To teach her problem solving get her some Lego or jigsaws.
Basically - turn off the tech and say no!

FusionChefGeoff Thu 04-Apr-19 07:19:56

I'm afraid you've answered your own question. I'd rip off the plaster with cold turkey. Give her good warning and talk about it lots - don't know when Easter is for you but decide if it's best before, during or after.

Talk about other things she can do instead. Get her involved, perhaps write a list together of different activities. Maybe put them all in a jar so she can pick one out.

Instigate a reward system and talk about that lots too. Decide, with her, what she wants as a daily reward for not making a fuss about it eg a sticker, marbles, star on a chart and then build to a mini treat at 3 days with a big treat eg cinema / swimming trip after a week.

Then, stay firm! Try to focus on the reward, positive side rather than punishment etc.

It will need a lot of 'parenting' so choose a week when you will be able to give more time to her.

Once you've cracked it, you can carefully, again with talking lots, agree to slowly introduce it with strict limits so do all the jobs (dressed, breakfast, teeth, reading) and earn 20 minutes per day perhaps. If she starts moaning for more, privilege is removed for the day after.

Short term pain, long term gain. You can do it!!

womandear Thu 04-Apr-19 07:21:20

Cold turkey would be my advice - uou’ll Be amazed how quickly she accepts it once the kids apps and all games are off your phone. Personally I wouldn’t want to start getting into bartering with a 5 year old on this!

corythatwas Thu 04-Apr-19 07:21:52

Like anything else that a 5yo might find to nag about that you wouldn't want them to have on a regular basis: sweeties, pepsi, McDonalds.

"Not now, darling, these are the rules, now let's go and do x instead"

Clear rules, firm adherence to rules, brisk cheerfulness, distraction.

IceRebel Thu 04-Apr-19 07:22:08

without just going cold turkey, as that will never end well.

Personally I would go cold turkey and put some firm rules in place for behaviour if she gets aggressive / shouts about wanting technology. As mumsnet famously say no means no.

However, if you don't want to go cold turkey you need to limit the time spent on it to perhaps 1 hour a day in 20 minute chunks. If she refuses to come off she loses the chance to have a go later. When she's not on it offer other activities, toys, games, playing outside drawing etc. It doesn't have to be something difficult, simple things like bubbles can amuse a child for quite a while.

Also the other thing to look at is when you offer the phone. At 5 1/2 she will be at school most of the day. No phone or technology until she has had breakfast and is dressed and ready for school. No phone or technology after school until homework / reading has been completed.

dustyphoenix Thu 04-Apr-19 07:22:23

I've found an advance warning helps. Rather than say no when she asks, try telling her in advance that you're reducing phone time. make it clear when she can have it and stick to that.

FusionChefGeoff Thu 04-Apr-19 07:24:15

And yes to pp about them finding something else to do. I love it when mine have been moaning - they don't get much sympathy so usually end up wandering off and then 15 minutes later I find them engrossed in something really creative!

Oh, that should be another part of the plan.

Make sure you're well stocked with stuff eg junk modelling, sellotape (one of the dispensers is great), felt tips etc. Mine also love colouring sheets that you can print off so they choose different ones each time.

womandear Thu 04-Apr-19 07:24:37

She’s not going to fall behind or not know how to use tech by the way - it’s everywhere. And she’ll use iPads and games and coding bots in school from reception/ year one so don’t listen to anyone who says she’ll suffer that way. She won’t. I have a 9 and 7 year old and they are tech whizz kids despite the major restrictions we place on them.

ApolloandDaphne Thu 04-Apr-19 07:31:11

She isn't addicted to technology if she is just having a look at your phone in the mornings. However I can see you don't want it to continue which is sensible.

You deal with it by saying 'no' when she asks because you at the grown up. Put it somewhere out of reach where she can't see it and don't make any fuss about it. She may have a sulk and a strop about it but she is only little and will get over it quickly.

Ewitsahooman Thu 04-Apr-19 07:35:09

You don't need to go cold turkey or break any sort of cycle, just keep it low key. When she asks for it say "not right now, we haven't even had breakfast yet. You can have a turn later" and then it's up to you when 'later' is and how long her turn lasts with no turn at all if she fusses about it.

My DC have got kindle Fire kids tablets and we can limit their time via the parental controls if we want to, we can also set it so that they can't access their games and apps until they've completed a certain amount of reading or educational apps. Both of their schools have an online reading scheme so instead of a reading book and reading diary they have to log into the reading scheme and read their book online instead, I have it on their kindles and they have to read before it fully unlocks. DS doesn't do homework but his school has an online homework system via an app, our other school is starting this too from September so I'll be adding on that this must be completed before they can access it. I don't particularly police screen time other than an arbitrary "you've been on that long enough, let's put it away for now" and a few basic ground rules mainly around behaviour and manners (e.g.using headphones) such as having to complete reading/homework first, misbehaving means no tablet at all, and no tablets in bedrooms.

TellMeItsNotTrue Thu 04-Apr-19 07:45:55

Sounds like she's going to kick off either way, so I'd go cold turkey on tech as you have nothing to lose and it will be easier to deal with the kick off one one chunk rather than going on for weeks every time she is told no. I'd introduce it back in after a few weeks with strict rules, like PPs said - none before school, none until homework/reading finished, X amount of time a day and only Y in one chunk.

She'll take to the new rules better if it's starting new, rather than suddenly trying to remember yourself what the rule is, and her trying to get round it or kicking off every time you tell her that her time is up, she can't go on it until this is done etc

I'd limit TV time so that she doesn't just go from one screen to another but would still keep that. Make sure you have a list of ideas for when she is bored and there isn't possibly ANYTHING to do other than screen time

I'd reward (obviously not with extra screen time) days where she doesn't fuss about it while on complete ban and once having limited time back, and when she has it back I'd do what a PP said and if she moans about coming off it she loses her next session on it - maybe have it written down so she knows for sure when she can use it, and then cross it off if she loses that one, so she knows its definitely gone and she can see when the next one after that is and won't want to lose that too

Make sure that anyone else who looks after her will support you with this, not going to help if granny looks after her twice a week and she tries to cram in a week's worth of tech in to that time

Good luck

CherryPavlova Thu 04-Apr-19 07:47:07

Cold turkey advocate here. Learn to say no so that she understands you mean it.
Find better things for her to do with her time and yours. Take her to dance lessons, gymnastics, swimming. Do jigsaws with her. Read with her. Paint and playdough. Let her cook with you.
Model not having constant screen attachment. Set times when television can be on and choose the programmes carefully. Don’t allow any computer games until she’s weaned.

IceRebel Thu 04-Apr-19 07:48:56

they have to log into the reading scheme and read their book online instead

Is this primary school? If so I find that so sad. shock

3in4years Thu 04-Apr-19 07:49:28

Tell her your phone is broken and don't have it out in front of her.

werideatdawn Thu 04-Apr-19 07:51:55

Just say no, not today. Brace for tantrum and job done.

ILiveInSalemsLot Thu 04-Apr-19 07:56:07

At that age I might be tempted to say it’s broken too and quickly add how you’ve got this exciting new sticker book or whatever you think she might like instead.

LovingLola Thu 04-Apr-19 08:00:01

Is it easier for you when she s on your phone ?
And are you constantly on the phone when she is around ?

TeenTimesTwo Thu 04-Apr-19 08:01:53

As well as all the advice above, make sure you are not on your own tech all the time. Lead by example.

todayiwin Thu 04-Apr-19 08:09:10

Agree with you @womandear

My DS is already coding!

It's the way the world is going, keep up or be left behind.

Didntwanttochangemyname Thu 04-Apr-19 08:12:37

Put all phones and tablets out of sight, and if she asks to use them distract her - go for a walk, play a game, make a pillow fort etc
You are the parent, so you take control.

Booboostwo Thu 04-Apr-19 08:32:27

*they have to log into the reading scheme and read their book online instead

Is this primary school? If so I find that so sad. shock*

Why would it be any sadder to read an electronic book than a physical book? Electronic books have many advantages. It is easier to take many books with you (perfect for an avid reader), the font can be made larger or you can listen to an audiobook (very helpful for people who have eyesight or reading difficulties), the reader has access to dictionaries and translations (very helpful for vocabulary acquisition and second language learning), etc.

OP, why would you describe this as an addiction? This is unnecessarily emotive language. I think it would be better to look at the specifics of the situation:

- what does your daughter do with technology? There is a huge difference between watching UTube videos, interacting with others online, playing games (from dexterity games, to puzzles, to programming games, even here the details matter), to educational apps, to physical console games, etc. If she's into gaming for example get her into CodeSpark, an amazing programming app for kids.

- how long does your DD spend on tablets/phones? Is it to the exclusion of other physical activities? You could easily impose a limit for weekdays and weekends.

- is your DD rude about asking for technology and stopping use? I'd deal with this as with any other behavioural problem. Any sign of rudeness and she doesn't get what she wants. Any refusal to finish within the prearranged time limit and she doesn't get the tablet next time. Just like you would if a child refuses to stop playing at the playground.

womandear Thu 04-Apr-19 08:59:08

I second those who say this means you can’t be on your phone in front of her all the time either!

Ewitsahooman Thu 04-Apr-19 09:14:52

they have to log into the reading scheme and read their book online instead

Is this primary school? If so I find that so sad.

It's year 5 so age 9-10 but the lower school are starting it in September.

It's an easier way for the teacher to monitor who is/isn't reading and how much as the system shows when each child logged in, how long they were logged in for, what they read, and how many pages. If they want to hear the child read in school then there is no "I've forgotten my book" because the books are all there online.

It gives the children a wider range of books to choose from and they can tailor the selection based on their interests, the teacher can also add suggested books to the accounts for optional further reading based on what they've been doing in school. Children have the option to build a library based on their favourites.

You can leave comments for the teacher if your child has struggled on any words or concepts for them to follow up in school.

They read chapter books in English as a group with topic work based on that particular book. The teacher can send the book to their accounts if she wants them to read the next chapter at home, she can also cast the book up on to the white board when they're taking turns to read aloud to the whole class meaning school doesn't have to pay for 30+ copies of the same book.

bsc Thu 04-Apr-19 09:20:00

The online reading schemes also ask questions to check understanding/interpretation, which some parents do as a matter of course, but others don't.

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