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Computer Time for 9 and 12 year olds

(3 Posts)
Lassie71 Thu 02-Jun-11 19:35:52

Hi, I'm new here and could really do with some advice please.

I'm mum to 2 girls, of 9 and 12 years. My eldest is high functioning autistic. They both have laptops. They both have DSi's.

Both girls have continual online access. Whenever they are not at school they have access to their laptops.

Youngest is not much trouble. She is not dependant on it, plays computer games, Wolfquest, Feralheart and very occasionally visits her Facebook page with just a couple of schoolfriends. She plays in her bedroom and we remove laptop on school nights between 10:30pm and 11:00pm. She is happy to entertain herself in other ways though, is artistic, plays with her toys, reads etc. However her computer time is gradually increasing.

Eldest is totally dependant on the computer. She is very clever in this area, and has an incredible understanding of it. She can write Java script and is knowledgable beyond her age. She is mainly on an american site with many other kids and finds it a good way to interact being autistic this comes hard. Again she has constant access and would be on-line 24/7 if she didn't need to go to school or sleep. Being autistic sleep has always been a problem and she and we have allowed her, to use the computer as a crutch to get to sleep. She would often be awake until midnight before the computer and the problems were hell for all the family. Now the computer entertains until she falls asleep. This can be until 1 or 2 in the morning.

We are now experiencing problems though. Lack of sleep is making her schooling suffer so we have removed all internet access on school nights. This is early days.

But more seriously, I work full time and my husband is a stay at home dad. During this half term holidays I have been contacted by my cousin who tells me she's been using the 'F' word on facebook. I've also been contacted by the owner of american site advising that she has been wrecking havoc creating junk accounts to harrass admins and members, she has been using proxy servers and opening fake email addresses at sites I've never even heard of. She has also been associating with someone who broke into a server and released personal ID details. I guess this is hacking accounts. I don't not know how involved she was with this, but the site owner has infored the police although not implicated my daughter.

I am extremely concerned over this and know that I am just as responsible for allowing her unlimited access unsupervised.

I am here really for advice on how strong my punishment should be and what sort of computer time should be allowed for children of this age.

At present the laptops and DSi's are consficated but I am not sure how long my eldest daughter will cope without this.

We all have clearly made big errors of judgement here and I am looking for help in getting things back track.

Many thanks


lljkk Thu 02-Jun-11 20:22:50

I think you'd be better off posting on the SN boards, because your DD1's autism is such an issue.

If she didn't have the autism I'd say lots of discussion and strict ground rules (I strictly controlled access, trouble with my eldest DS looking for porn, and he's still primary school age sad). Time and type of access is limited. I know some say that if your dd is clever enough she will find a way around... but she can't, I suspect, if she doesn't have the password to the WiFi.

That said, my vague understanding is that most autistic people quite like clear and rigid rules and boundaries. Does your daughter appreciate why certain behaviour is criminal, and what it would mean to commit electronic vandalism?

Don't think you should be shocked about the F-word, though. DC know they aren't allowed to say such things in my presence, but I tell them I can't control what they say elsewhere, they have to figure out for themselves why it's not nice to say.

Lassie71 Thu 02-Jun-11 20:32:05

Thanks for your reply lljkk. She does have the password to the WiFi. I wonder if there is any way we can change it.

She does like rules and guidelines, I guess it's our fault for not implementing any here. She has been told that hacking is illegal, as soon as we found out what had been going on. We had not even mentioned hacking before, as we thought it something way out of her understanding. I think what has happened has shocked her somewhat.

I will postin the SN threads. thank you. smile

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