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Computer Time for 9 and 12 year olds

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Lassie71 Thu 02-Jun-11 20:34:23

I posted this in the parenting forum, but was guided here, so here goes....

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


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