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iPad at boarding school

(8 Posts)
nocturnus Tue 05-Feb-19 10:13:47

Name changed to discuss this topic.

DS has free access to his iPad 7.30am to 9pm at his boarding school. He uses it for study but can do without as plenty DCs don't have iPad, though they have other gadgets such as laptop, tablet, larger phone. DS has a phone with a tiny screen so usually uses iPad to communicate with friends/family or any research for study.

He has busy timetable but has a break here and there and has a long lunch break three days a week. He seems to play games or watch something on iPad with friends at breaks, not always but often, especially now the weather isn't great.

His lessons/preps finish at 8pm, so 8-9pm is his true free time. He watches a movie or something or skype on iPad when he isn't doing other things (table tennis, football, evening clubs, PS, etc...).

I have no problem with him having screen time once all his lessons finished. But letting him have it through a day...? If he was at a day school he wouldn't have any access to screen daytime - he didn't before starting the boarding school anyway. He has packed schedule so no much time to play with it. But still, wouldn't it be tempting to touch it when you shouldn't if it's accessible? He is only 11.

Actually, I am surprised the school let the students as young as DS to keep gadgets all day. I know a few academic day schools in our area let the pupils have access to their smartphone or bringing iPad is compulsory. But I assume it's harder for the day students to play with it when they shouldn't? Boarders have their bedroom and school wouldn't know how much screen time they spend during breaks?

I would like him to learn self-discipline eventually, but even grown-ups find hard to keep themselves away from their gadgets. I think it's a bit too much to ask for a 11 years old who newly obtains the free access to his gadgets not to be tempted... So I am thinking to interfere by asking the house master to restrict his access during daytime and letting him have it in evenings only. DS says he and his friends like to have it during daytime breaks so thinks I am being unreasonable. But of course he would say that.

What is the screen policy at your DCs' school both day and boarding? Will you let your DCs keep iPad all day at boarding school if it's allowed? I need to do a reality check before taking any action.

OP’s posts: |
sugarplumfairy02 Tue 05-Feb-19 10:29:50

Unfortunately, this is the way of the world now. Not much we can do about it. My DCs are at day school where an Ipad is compulsory. In theory it is to be used for educational purposes. The schools WiFi blocks social media, so what do all the children do.....they put a VPN on their machines!! In theory they have signed a document to say that they won't do this, but of course this isn't policed and how would you anyway! We have the machine blocked as much as possible but I think schools need to take more responsibility. If I'd known I think I'd have chosen the alternative school where it's not a compulsory item!

Yoghurtpeanutsx Tue 05-Feb-19 11:04:12

@sugarplumfairy02 - we have the same problem. My Y10 DS also gets an iPad issued by his school. They block inappropriate content, social media and warn the kids that there is an audit trail however the problem is he watches hours and hours of mindless videos on Youtube or via Safari on it (he genuinely needs these apps to do homework). Nothing he watches sets off any alarms or can be blocked as by themselves the video clips are harmless (normally he's watching gamers playing fortnite etc. w/ a running commentary) however when your child is hooked on them and watching at any opportunity its a BIG problem.

When he tells me he is doing homework on his iPad he is actually watching rubbish instead. The school expects them to self-govern now and it's completely impossible for me to watch over his shoulder all the time (he is almost 6ft tall and 15 years old!). It's causing massive arguments at home. To be honest its an addiction and I can see him, a very bright child, wasting so much potential.

Its not an issue with the school giving him an iPad, it's the wider challenge of managing screen time for older teens.....

nocturnus Tue 05-Feb-19 11:41:10

Thanks for your post, sugarplumfairy02 and Yoghurtpeanutsx.

I can check how long and what he's using on his new iPad Pro. It also let me select certain things to restrict the amount of usage. His old iPad Air didn't have these functions (as long as I know...) so I downloaded screen watch apps but many of them weren't very useful. I set time for entertainment (mostly Youtube) and apps (mostly games) last weekend, though he can easily change the setting if he wants to be cunning... We are going to review this together next weekend.

However, his morning, DS contacted me to ask for a purchase of a game when he was supposed to be studying. Why was he asking me about it when he was not supposed to play iPad?? So I thought I would email the house master to restrict his use immediately.

But, I may wait till this weekend and review together as we planned initially. Meanwhile, hopefully I can hear more opinions from you wise people, which will definitely help me reach more insightful solution (if there is any...).

OP’s posts: |
williteverend99 Tue 05-Feb-19 12:21:08

plenty DCs don't have iPad,

I think that is your solution if you do not like the amount of time he is spending on the device.
I think IPADs are especially addictive as they are so quick to switch on, so portable etc.
Replace with a lap top.

sugarplumfairy02 Tue 05-Feb-19 12:47:52


When the school says its an ipad, its an ipad! Yes, of course it's a parent's job. In my experience, a lot of parents don't seem to care enough to do anything about it. We have blocked as much as is possible....BUT, then there's the phone...and it goes on. Not that simple.

williteverend99 Tue 05-Feb-19 13:05:36

@ Sugarplum

It may be the case that IPADs are compulsory at your DC‘s day school.

But OP has clearly said that it is NOT the case at her DC‘s boarding school and that many DC there do not have ipads. She has chosen not only to give her DS an IPAD but to upgrade from an IPAD air to an IPAD pro - which is even more fun to use. She is then surprised that he spends a lot of time using it. The solution really is very simple - keep the Ipad for home and let him use a laptop or a phone with limited functionality for communicating with home.

nocturnus Tue 05-Feb-19 13:14:08

a very bright child, wasting so much potential

then there's the phone...and it goes on

Totally agree....

OP’s posts: |

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