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When DCs have friends round in the hols do you limit computer/gaming time?

(24 Posts)
whippet Tue 05-Jul-11 14:24:53

My DSs (11 & 9) like to have friends over during the hols (which is fine) but they all always seem to make a beeline for the Wii/ PC / video game etc.

My two then seem to take advantage of the situation and spend much more time on the Wii/ PC that I would normally let them.
If i limit it then they complain later that I'm 'mean' and that 'nobody else's Mum does that' (?)

I also actually find it hard to march into the room and get them to switch it off.
The whole 'policing' of gameing time makes me feel uncomfortable. On occasions some of their friends have been slightly rude and said "oh come on... (rolling eyes)" or just ignored me until I've had to get quite angry about.
If I tell my DCs that they can only have e.g. 45 mins then they conveniently 'forget' and then it's down to me again to stop it.

I'd prefer them to go outside/ entertain themselves in other ways. I hate all the video gaming as the 'default' activity. sad

I need to have a plan before the holidays start.
What's your strategy/ policy/ tips?

Flyonthewindscreen Tue 05-Jul-11 18:02:28

I personally wouldn't limit while friends were over but then my DC (7 & 9) tend to want to move around fitting lots of different play (gaming but also trampolines, bikes, etc) in when they have friends over. You could encourage more varied play (trip to park, tempting set of water guns, etc) and also tell your DSs that if they use all their gaming allocation up with friends there will be none at other times?

7Seas Tue 05-Jul-11 18:03:49

no limit, but would take them out all day the next day so that can't use it.

admylin Tue 05-Jul-11 18:21:09

I'm in the same situation and trying to think out a holiday plan before they break up tomorrow.

With my it's ds (13), his ideal summer - stay in his room for 6 weeks, just come out for food and every now and then have a friend round to sit at the computer in his room with him.

Fuzzled Tue 05-Jul-11 20:51:23

"Break" the wii? (take the fuse out!)
Amazing what alternatives will then present themselves!

whippet Tue 05-Jul-11 22:28:25

Fuzzled - hmm - not sure - I think they'd just gravitate onto PCs/ iPods/ DSs...

I don't want to feel I have to be a) organising alternative entertainment; b) having to take them out

Sometimes the purpose of having friends over is to keep them busy so I can get stuff done!

mathanxiety Wed 06-Jul-11 06:46:51

What's wrong with the wii? I love it when they're occupied and all playing fairly quietly. I don't know how we all lived without it -- oh yes I remember, the constantly slapping door as they came in for more stuff/water, the bathroom floor soaked, the trail of crumbs from the kitchen to the door, the empty cereal and cracker boxes put back in the drawers and cupboards, the whining about boredom...

<runs away>

admylin Wed 06-Jul-11 07:15:44

mathsanxiety, is it maybe an age thing - I mean I used to be able to interest ds with a trip here or there or if his friend came they would go to the playground but now nothing is cool enough. Or as you say, they would play with water, chalk and sand outside for hours.

I also get the same line as whippet, K is allowed to play this long, k's mum never says he has to go to bed at 9pm, k's mum doesn't insist that he comes for dinner in the middle of a game.

whippet Mon 11-Jul-11 14:21:42

admylin - yes - that's the thing for me - it's the element of confrontation that occurs as a result of having these things.
Seems to cause so much arguing and grumpiness in our house.

I have to 'police' how much time they spend. If I didn't tell them to come off, then they would honestly still be there 3-4 hours later.

I can tell 'screen time' affects DS2's behaviour, so that's why I try to limit it.
It's also not just about the time they spend on the Wii - it's about the time they're NOT spending doing something else (more constructive IMO). If they spent 4 hours a week 'practising' something else then they'd be brilliant at it!

We have a rule that they can have half-an-hour/ an hour, whatever, but then it's "I just have to finish this..." "but I've just got to this level" and "OK, in a minute..." etc. Then I have to literally stand over them to get them to switch it off. On one occasion, when I was getting so angry with DS2, who kept just ignoring me, I switched it off at the plug. He then had the most humungus hour-long melt-down. It's not healthy.

They regard their 'half-an-hour on the PC/Wii etc' as a right rather than a reward.

I don't know how we ended up like this, but I hate it.
I hate seeing kids inside on a sunny day crowded round a screen sad.

admylin Mon 11-Jul-11 15:50:19

Whippet, I feel the same as you.

This is the first year (summer holidays, one week in already) that the dc don't want to do anything. They're happy lounging about and ds communicates with his friends online by skype! I keep telling him to actually meet up with them and one has turned up today and I've given ds money to go and get an ice cream in town or something in the hope that abit of fresh air hits them!

Hullygully Mon 11-Jul-11 15:55:43

<agrees with maths secretly>

Ragwort Mon 11-Jul-11 16:00:08

Fortunately my DS usually goes to play with other children as we just don't have any of these gadgets - no Wii/Xbox/mobile etc - the PC is a family one (only one) and I do not allow DS to use it with friends; he does have a very old PS2 but not many other kids are interested in that grin.

I also book him onto lots of sports activities so he has to go out <mean mum emoticon>.

whippet Mon 11-Jul-11 19:59:48

How old is your DS Ragwort?

cat64 Mon 11-Jul-11 20:26:34

Message withdrawn

Ragwort Tue 12-Jul-11 08:10:28

whippet he is 10 ........... occasionally says he is the only child at school without all these technological gadgets grin. He has money saved up in his savings account so if he really, really wanted to buy himself something we wouldn't stop him but it is not something we are prepared to spend money on; DH and I are totally not interested in those sorts of things.

We do spend quite a bit of money on all his sporting activities which we are happy to do (and he loves).

Riveninside Tue 12-Jul-11 08:13:31

No. I really dont get this mumsnet obsession with limiting something fun cos you dont enjoy it yoirself.
We have never limited screen time.

whippet Tue 12-Jul-11 08:49:50

Riven - we don't limit it because it's fun - we limit it because if we didn't, then it would be the ONLY thing the DSs did all day, everyday in the times when I'm not actively engaging then in something else, or taking them out (which I can't do every day, and to be honest, I hadn't expected to be having to 'entertain' them by the time they are 11 and 9!)

I just feel gaming is so addictive, and can become a time-waster/ life-waster. for every hour spent gaming, DS isn't doing something else - like reading, or riding his bike, or building lego, or playing outside with friends, or playing his guitar, or drawing or....or.... (you get the idea).

I understand that gaming is part of life these days, but they need to learn how to do it 'responsibly' as it were, and not let it take over their life!
I've tried letting them have loads of time (to see if they get bored - they don't sad)
I've tried making it a reward for doing other things well - they just keep badgering me all day 'have I earnt my Wii time..? '
I've tried being really strict about having exactly 30 mins etc, and DS2 in particular has real tantrums when he has to come off.
When I don't allow them extra time they then nag and whine constantly "I have nothing to do/ I'm bored" or start fighting & winding each other up to the point where I have to take them out or send them to their rooms.

I really hate it all. It is has a very negative impact on out family life. sad

That's why I was hoping someone could share their own strategies.

Ragwort Tue 12-Jul-11 10:14:15

I agree with you whippet - although my DS doesn't do gaming (see above comments) he would quite happily lie in front of the TV all day - just mindlessly surfing from channel to channel - surely that is not good for anyone? That is why I (try to) limit TV time and get him out and about playing sports and book him onto holiday courses. Personally I don't like sport so its not because it is something I want to do myself - but it has to be better than watching TV all the time. I am happy to 'entertain' him - but he turns his nose up at any suggestion I make - cooking/board games/exploring/days out etc etc

I know I would be fitter, healthier and have a much cleaner house if I wasn't addicted to Mumsnet grin. How do we limit PC time ourselves ? !!

cat64 Tue 12-Jul-11 19:45:04

Message withdrawn

usualsuspect Tue 12-Jul-11 19:51:03

No, I never limited screen time

my ds still played out/rode his bike etc and taught himself to play guitar

In fact he taught himself to play guitar using the internet

whippet Tue 12-Jul-11 19:53:22

Riven - I just wanted to add, that I'm not judging anyone who does allow their children unlimited screen time, it's just that it clearly doesn't work for us.

I can appreciate that in your situation having something to entertain your DC at times may be valuable/useful.

I just don't like the way it seems to make my children act/ react etc....

Riveninside Tue 12-Jul-11 20:10:26

My children have always self limited because its never forbidden. Sure, sometimes they spent hours a day for weeks p,aying something, in phases. Then they do other things. Ds1 especially, with his asd. He is nearly 18 and prefers piano now. Ds2 is reading right now. Its just one of many things becasue its not 'forbidden fruit' as it were.

whippet Tue 12-Jul-11 20:18:46

Riven - don't you HE? (or have I got that wrong?)

I think my DC are probably less self-starting, and seem less able to initiate their own activities, so default to the lowest common denominator.

Would love to know how to change this! (but HE is not an option for us)

Riveninside Tue 12-Jul-11 20:25:33

I used too but they chose to go back to school at 13. Up until 7 or so i did do the limiting screen stuff and it was very scary stopping and letting them find their own level. I think they pkayed runescape for 18 hours a day for 6 months solid when i removed all barriers!
Course i fretted at times but two are now adults and appear to be normal grin

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