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11 yo DS's consumption of mobile phone, iPad etc is nearly out of control

(25 Posts)
whataboutbob Wed 21-Jan-15 09:36:49

Eldest DS started secondary school in Sept and we bought him a mobile phone for communication and safety. Since then it's no exaggeration to say he has not used it once to get in touch with us (or answer it when he got home late a couple of times). It is exclusively a games console and of course some of the "games" are dubious in style and content. It is very hard to get him off it (he gets angry, shouts) and DS2 (8) is equally in its thrall. This week I tried to impose a 2 days a week only with phone rule, I took the phone to work and left it in my office as I know if it is in the home he will find it, take it to bed and play games and it is wearing to check his room at bedtime, he always manages to find/ hide it anyway. So DS 1 spent 10 minutes on homework, then found the iPad and started playing games. I entered his room to check the content and found he was watching: someone on a BMX bike gash his head against a concrete wall, cue blood everywhere. Some kind of cowboy turning up at a farm, a woman runs out saying something like "Oh I'm so glad to see you" he shoots her in the head, cue blood everywhere. I told him this was unacceptable content and he said something like "it's fun".
I am really concerned at his level of need/ desire to spend time on these devices, and the content. I am concerned it is affecting his schoolwork (he just rushes through stuff to get onto a device), his memory and exposing him to stuff which is really unpleasant. I know i am a fogey, not at all interested in technology for technology's sake, i have no interest whatsoever in electronic "games". I wouldn't mind it the content was less violent and disturbing, and if it wasn't so apparently addictive.
I am sure other parents have been there or are experiencing similar. Any advice would be most welcome. I am thinking of just toughing up and banning it for the whole week, allowed only at weekends and monitoring the stuff he watches (but that is hard to do). Thanks for reading so far!

TeenAndTween Wed 21-Jan-15 11:40:17

Not been in your position as we have always been quite hardline on electronics.

no ipads
PC in DD teen room for school use only, social networking sites blocked on it, internet turns off part way through evening
electronic stuff after tea only if homework done
phone usually off, and anyway in school bag overnight
at weekends only after other stuff done, eg exercise

I think you have to get a handle on it now. He clearly can't yet self-regulate yet. Schoolwork and behaviour are suffering.

Suggestions:

Replace phone with a standard no frills phone
Use login accounts and parental controls on things like ipads
Other stuff kept locked in your car?
Block online games you don't like
Only allow at w/e or Fri evenings, after all h/w completed to your satisfaction

Vintagebeads Thu 22-Jan-15 19:24:35

For the ipad download an app called screen time, it sets a bedtime blocker for late nights, it can block apps and switches itself off after a certain amount of time, its password protected so they can't get around it by uninstalling it.You set the amount of time you want them on it.
It emails you if they have tried to mess with the settings yes you ds
I would get a basic phone for contacting him at school.
Its saved alot of arguing here.

AnyFucker Thu 22-Jan-15 19:30:27

Oh dear

I think you need to ask yourself who is the parent here

it's so "wearing" to find the devices and he "always finds them"

well, you are not trying hard enough

does it upset you when your son acts like he hates you ? I suggest you get over that, and quick

AnyFucker Thu 22-Jan-15 19:49:21

*hide

MinceSpy Thu 22-Jan-15 20:48:40

Anyfucker is spot on.

whataboutbob Thu 22-Jan-15 22:45:25

Anyfucker and mince- not very helpful or supportive. Do you have any constructive advice or are you just lurking around to get your kicks?
Tween and vintage- thanks a lot for your good suggestions. The mobile phone is now in my drawer at work till Friday, the iPad has a password.
If things get out of control with mobile phone consumption over the weekend, I'll go out and buy a basic one and the current one will go. I also like the sound of the screen time app.
There were tears and screams when I broke the news of the weekday ban, but he settled down quite quickly. We spent and enjoyable (yes really) hour and a half on his homework together today.
Thanks again to those who took the trouble to give constructive advice.

AnyFucker Thu 22-Jan-15 22:49:49

It is perfectly constructive to point out that you are in charge of an 11yo and not the other way around

Homsa Sat 24-Jan-15 21:31:03

I also have an 11 yo DS with very similar issues. We have the Screentime app on our tablet, which is brilliant, and I'm so glad I only bought him a basic "brick" phone when he started secondary school - the games on that have no appeal whatsoever. He doesn't have a PC in his bedroom, and won't be getting one any time soon.
The one thing that derails it all is the Wii - he's completely addicted to it, spends all his pocket money on games. He NEVER comes off it voluntarily. Once I've prised him off it, he's still reading the little game booklets or fingering the remotes!
These things are just so bloody addictive, and I think create such a buzz in their little brains that nothing else comes close. He used to have other hobbies - Lego, programming, puzzles - but he's no longer interested in them.
I guess I should be glad he's not interested in violent games, but it's sad to see him so lost when the Wii has been turned off.

Fiddlerontheroof Sat 24-Jan-15 21:48:08

I have to say that my jaw is a bit on the floor that you've allowed it to get to this stage. Absolutely take on the advice you've been given. With my 11 year old, the rule is the phone is mine, not hers and I'm entitled to look at it anytime I like, phones only allowed in communal areas, not bedrooms, and all Internet is banned unless again in communal areas. iPad/phone not allowed in bedroom at night. My wifi is set up so that it blocks all innapropriate content.

I'm ever amazed at parents who don't look at their kids phones/social networking accounts/types of games they are playing at this age. Because some of the stuff I see my daughters friends post is horrific. I would be very upset at the content of the games your son is viewing. I'd get very hard right now about it. Because kids today have a massive window to the world that we never did, and it's scary unless it's monitored properly.

Soveryupset Sun 25-Jan-15 09:11:40

My boys (even though a bit younger) would easily get to that point.

We have tried everything but the only thing that has really worked is screens only on a Friday night. My DS1 takes the bus to school in the morning, so he is allowed it then and has a game or two (we check them) but then if he doesn't behave he gets it confiscated. He gets picked up from school so no phone allowed then.

It's been quite a hard journey with my two boys; the girls have had the same access to phones/laptops/games/etc and are very self-regulated, they are quite happy to play one game and then move onto something non-screen related, with the boys it has been a completely different story - not sure it's a boy/girl thing or just the fact that DD1 isn't that keen on technology and so her younger sister follows her lead.

DancingDinosaur Sun 25-Jan-15 09:14:47

I'd sell the phone and just get him a basic one. You need to knock this on the head now. You're in charge, not him.

Mintyy Sun 25-Jan-15 09:19:05

Exactly what isn't helpful about AnyFucker's advice??

Try listening instead of getting defensive!

Skatingfastonthinice Sun 25-Jan-15 09:22:09

I agree, a basic phone for school, it's for communicatiing so all he needs is phonecalls and tests.
Password protect the rest, so that he has to ask you to log in and he never knows the password. Different password for each device.
Limit his time, if you can't deal with him agrgung and shouting when he's 11, it's going to be a lot tougher when he's 16 and in the middle of GCSEs. And probably bigger and stronger than you.
My adult children are both on the spectrum and would happily Eat, Sleep, Game, Repeat. I know it's hard and you'll need a thick skin to impose something they don't want on them. You need to get a grip on it now, it's only going to get worse otherwise.

Skatingfastonthinice Sun 25-Jan-15 09:22:50

texts, not tests.
AnyFucker, as usual, is speaking sense.

sooperdooper Sun 25-Jan-15 09:25:08

I would get him a basic phone instead, he doesn't need one that provides anything more than being able to contact him, as you say he just sees it as a mobile gaming device

I have an 11yo, a 14 yo and an almost 17yo. Rules are more relaxed for the older two now but at 11 there were no games consoles/phones(only basic phones at that age!)/internet accessing stuff allowed in bedrooms. Browsing the internet was only allowed in the front room where passing adults could easily see what was being watched (headphones obligatory!)

I'm with Anyfucker and Mince. If they don't like the rules, tough. Even now, any whingeing about screen time (as they have to divide things between the three of them - only 1 TV for consoles, only 1 PC that plays games without lagging) means they don't use it at all. I can't be arsed to arbitrate so they use it reasonably or they don't use it at all.

Having said that both me and DH are gamers so we're probably more lax on what constitutes 'reasonable' than a lot of MN.

Skatingfastonthinice Sun 25-Jan-15 09:28:58

But can you cope with the Cold Turkey yelling, sobbing, tantrums, saying nasty things to you and about you?
You'll need to be calm, refuse to engage in a debate about it, set a few simple rules and stick to them. If he deals with the new situation in a sensible fashion and complies, albeit grumpily, then later you might have some wiggle room and flexibility. But at the moment, he's calling the shots.

Pensionerpeep Sun 25-Jan-15 09:42:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

thelittlebooktroll Sun 25-Jan-15 11:19:11

We have recently introduced a no-gaming on Sundays rule which has been great. We have no access/Internet before 6:30 pm or after 8 pm on weekdays and nothing in the bedrooms. They spend far too much time gaming on Saturdays and holidays though. Constant battle. Mine only play Minecraft which I think is a good creative game. My 14 year old DD is posing and pouting on Instagram

They sometimes have friends around who seem so addicted to gaming that they can't play and don't seem to be able to settle just walk aimlessly around the house looking for a fix.

Mine are 8, 13 and 14

arlagirl Sun 25-Jan-15 11:23:53

Why do ops dismiss those with advice they don't want to hear?
Sound advice anyfucker.

DeliciousMonster Sun 25-Jan-15 11:27:08

Why do ops dismiss those with advice they don't want to hear?

Because they know it is usually the truth.

pommedeterre Sun 25-Jan-15 11:27:55

Seems you hit the nail on the head anyfucker. Op, you know you are being way too soft. Just get rid of it if you're that worried.

Quitethewoodsman Sun 25-Jan-15 11:36:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SavoyCabbage Sun 25-Jan-15 11:40:29

Take them all away if you can't control them. I've an 11 year old but she's not shooting women in the head on her ipad!

We have encouraged creating stuff with the screen time. Art rage, green screen, tellagami and iMovie are some of the apps she uses. And one where you take photos and join them together to make a film. Like a flick book I suppose but I can't remember what it's called.

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