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has anyone banned tv and computers on school nights?

(12 Posts)
dolally Thu 15-Jul-04 23:31:08

I'm thinking of doing this when term starts, partly to see if my 12 yr old dd focuses on homework a little more, and the younger two see her do it. Has anyone else done this? I have noticed once when the computer and tv packed up our evening was much calmer, the kids seemed more relaxed and things for the next day thought about... I don't want it to seem like a punishment but I suspect that's how it will be viewed. Anyone else tried it?

JJ Fri 16-Jul-04 04:05:21

Dolally, I don't know that I'd do it. Maybe restrict it, but not take it away.

My parents didn't have a tv from the time I was 4 until I was 14. I really wish we had had one. I felt very out of it and this was nearly 20 years ago. It hasn't helped me at all.. as soon as I was in a place with tv at uni, I watched it constantly. I do have a friend who thinks she's better for it (they never had a tv), so who knows?

tigermoth Fri 16-Jul-04 07:05:18

I do like the silence and general calmness when the TV is turned off, I have to admit. As my sons and I are bad at getting ourselves ready on time in the morning, I've banned TV on school mornings pretty much, and it's worked well. As you can see I have not banned myself from using the computer in the early am!

I think it's an idea to restrict TV and computer use on school evenings, as jj says. I'm sure lots of parents do this anyway as in 'do your maths then you can watch Buffy on TV'. I guess you probably do this already? Obviously you can't put a blanket ban on computer use if computers are needed for homework projects.

Personally, I wouldn't put a ban on all TV on school nights. Your dd deserves to have time to relax when she is at home, and if she chooses to veg out in front of the screen, she should be able to do it, as long as her homework gets done. Have you considered banning TV on one or two nights only - the nights when she has the most work to do?


As you say, I think a total ban would be seen as a punishment, and your dd would think you are unreasonable - especially if you turn on the TV yourself on school days when she is in bed. If you really want to follow this through, I think you'd have to get rid of the TV entirely for all of you, or really limit your own viewing of it.

dolally Sun 18-Jul-04 22:51:30

thanks for your input, I should perhaps have mentioned that I'm really thinking of the three nights when we get home at 6.30 pm (i'm out at work on these days) and those evenings are slightly nightmare-ish - with 3 school-age kids and a tired dh, the kids usually go straight into the family room and watch tv and play computer games simultaneously. Nobody thinks of school work ( although I must admit usually they do it all at their afterschool clubs before home) or gym clothes, or papers to be signed until about 9pm. Also think that elder dd has work that she hasn't always done at afterschool club - puts it off til later - and then once the tv and computer are on well.... if i do decide to cut out tv and computer on those days, they can still play, read, listen to music. I agree, JJ I would never throw the tv away completely but I just hate the way it takes over our lives, sometimes!!

Philly Tue 20-Jul-04 08:31:54

We have always banned the computer and playstation from Sunday evening until Friday after school.As we have always had the rule we don't get a lot of arguments,I findit easier to do this than having endless negotiations.They don't tend to bother too much with the TV,Ds2 (7) is the worst but he tends to want to slob in front of a favourite video when he comes in and as he finds school hard I don't have a problem with this,I generally find that he goes out to play in garden after tea anyway.
We have had to allow the computer for homework for Ds1 (10) where absolutely necessary but he knows it is only allowed where the teacher has specified it and to be honest this really annoys meI don't think that year 5 children should get homework which has to be done on the computer,I mean if he has to write up a piece of work he spends half the time choosing a font and then a picture and the content of the work is the least of his worries!!

What do other people think about this?

frogs Tue 20-Jul-04 08:54:21

I think you're entirely right, Philly.

My two older ones are 9 and 5, and I don't let them watch telly at all during the week, and not much at the w/e. We don't have a playstation, although they occasionally use the laptop to play on the Harry Potter website.

At one point I tried letting them watch telly one evening a week, and it caused endless arguments. Eventually I just started saying no every time they asked, and after about two weeks they stopped asking.

Now they occasionally watch a kids film at the weekend, and dd1 sometimes watches things like Tomorrow's World or Science Shack, but that's pretty much it.

When they come home from school they mainly play in the garden, do colouring, or play lego or even board games, amazingly enough. I know they would watch telly if I made it available, but I'd hate to see them missing out on all the other stuff they do instead.

hercules Tue 20-Jul-04 09:23:49

We dont let ds (8) use his xbox during the week and found very quickly he hardly ever played with it at the weekend as he was so used to doing other things. It wasnt a punishment, more a mutual agreement as when he does play for any length of time he gets moody. He certainly didnt see it as a punishment and understands why.

Tv is limited to 2 hours a day usually but can be less during the week.

Piffleoffagus Tue 20-Jul-04 09:42:42

yep, we banned ps2 and tv until homework is done, he never watches tv anymore, and ps2 has now given way to guitar which we like better anyway! And he is now so keen he does homework in flash...

tigermoth Tue 20-Jul-04 09:59:08

I don't like banning things outright, unless it's for a punishment. That's because my 10 year old son goes through so may crazes - one week he's into his Xbox, another week he's into his Gameboy, another week it's dragonball Zee on television. Right now he has no interest in playing on his Xbox or Gameboy, despite it being the holidays.

I think it's important for him to feel he can go with the flow. I don't want him to have too many rigid rules if I can help it. Obviously if homework and exercise are not happening and his behaviour is not good, then the offending item is banned or restricted.

At school, he has to follow strict behaviour rules, all day he has to follow a timetable. It is all laid out for him. He has to work hard. As well as that he has homework, an hours' extra coaching on a saturday for the 11+, 11+ homework, cubs, youthclub, church, after school football etc. Not everything every week, but lots of his time is ordered already. I strongly think he needs to have freedom each day to do just as he pleases. Or nothing at all if that's what he wants. If I did not have some time off each day it would do my head in.

Also seemingly trashy pursuits can lead to unexpected creativity: my son's interest in yughio, pokemon, dragonball Z cartoons has sparked off and interest in manga drawing. He has spent hours and hours with pencil, paper and a 'how to draw dragonball Z characters' book, and then that lead to him wanting do more life drawing.

I haven't mentioned my 4 year old - much of the above applies to him - I feel he needs time to switch off in the evenings, and if he chooses to do this in front of TV, within reasonable limits, that's ok by me. Also, both boys often do other things while watching TV - drawing, lego etc.

I have known some children who far more consistently into Xboxes or videos etc than my oldest son, so it's hard for me make general statements about restricting TV/computer viewing. Faced with a child who was not happy doing anything else, I think I would consider a blanket ban on them.

I also agree with philly that it's wrong for year 5 children to have homework that can only be done on computer. It's not fair on those children who don't have access to a computer at home. They are too young to go alone to online centres and libraries to use a computer.They are dependent on their parents' support in taking them to a pc. And some parents will not/ cannot do that.

soyabean Thu 22-Jul-04 13:22:26

We had a rule for a while that half an hour of music practice or homework earned an hour of computer, which worked quite well when ds1 was about 9/10 and constantly wanting to go on the computer. We dont have xbox or playstation and TV has generally been less of an issue. That worked pretty well. He has just finished his first year at secondary school and therefore is home a bit later, has more homework and less time but the general rule is that if homework is finished and bag ready, he can go on the pc. This seems to pretty much work OK. The younger two watch childrens TV usually 4-5 pm, and ds1 sometimes watches something in the evening (queer eye for the straight guy or something equally uplifting)but I think thats fine for relaxation, I do the same after a day at work.
I agree that if we were to ban TV it would have to be for all of us.

dolally Mon 26-Jul-04 22:38:09

i've only just seen your messages, no time now its school holidays! Found everyone's views very interesting. I'm convinced that if i did have the strength to cut out tv and computer for the middle three week days, which are when we all get home much later, and maybe offered some kind of reward instead to make it seem less like a punishment??? my kids would not suffer and would not feel deprived. I've seen how they fill their time when the computer or tv have been out of order - they draw, paint, play games, talk, dance everything. I do agree with whoever said that their lives are so full of rules and regulations that they need some time to do what they feel like. But equally they sometimes sit in front of something on tv just because it's ON! Somebody once said that the prob with Tv is that the moment a child is a little bored before they've given any thought to what they feel like doing... they just switch the tv on... of course we all do that. My other reason is I also need them to muck in with getting dinner ready, talking about what went on today and what's they need tomorrow. I often find it's only when they're in bed that there's any time for them to talk about what went on at school, ask about things that worry them, etc... and by then I'm knackered myself!!

I can't help feeling that if I remove these two things which have such a hold over them I'm actually giving them BACK their freedom! Lots of mixed views on this subject aren't there?

tigermoth Tue 27-Jul-04 08:24:26

I see what you mean, dolally, about encouraging your children to use their imagination by freeing them from the grip of the TV and computer, for three nights.

Your last message is very reasonable and persuasive - have you spoken to your children giving this point of view? It sounds to me that you are ready to talk to them - that's if you haven't done so already. I think that in order to make this work( as you say too) it's better to get your children sold on the idea, get them on your side. If not, even if they accept you will be banning TV and computers, they might not be as well behaved or as calm on those three nights as you hope.

Are there any particular TV programmes the children hate to miss on those particular nights? If so, could you compromise and let them watch that one thing only? if each child likes different programmes, they could take it in turns each week. I think it's important to listen to their requests, to make concessions to keep everyone happy, to show you are not imposing a punishment, just a new system.

If there is any special activity they are into - drawing, reading, playing games etc - your could ask if there is anything they need to make it more enjoyable - (new drawing pencils, a subcription to a comic etc) or you could say as a reward for having no TV and computer on three busy nights, they can stay up a bit later at the weekend.

Aanyway, as it's the holidays, you've plenty of time to sort this out

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