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Please share your thoughts with Vodafone on how long you allow your children to spend with technology each day: you could win a £250 voucher NOW CLOSED

(312 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 20-Oct-14 09:50:04

To celebrate the launch of the new Vodafone family price plan (Red+) they would love to get you discussing how much time you or your DP/DH allow your child(ren) to spend with technology each day or what rules you have in relation to this.

Vodafone say "For some parents, the internet can seem like a bit of minefield and with new technology emerging all the time, it can be hard to stay up to date. If that sounds like you, worry not. Vodafone has put together some guides and articles to help parents maintain control and keep the family safe – find out more here"

"Vodafone has also launched a new plan, designed specifically for families. Red+ gives you one data allowance to share and you can even cap your kids’ data so they don't go over their limit. You'll get one simple bill for all devices, saving you money compared to individual plans, and you'll also get unlimited calls and texts".

The Vodafone Digital Parenting Guide can be found here: www.vodafone.co.uk/family

So please share on this thread your thoughts on this: for example

~ Did you have to set a time limit or does your child self manage?
~ Why do you set time limits and what do you think your child would do if you didn't?
~ What sort of sites or apps does your child spend the most time on?
~ Are you concerned about the amount of time they spend online or is it not a concern to you?
~ Do you have any rules re time online or any techniques or tips for dealing with it?

Add your comment to this thread and you’ll be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £250 John Lewis voucher.

Please note your comments may be used by Vodafone or MN on Vodafone pages, social media or possibly elsewhere - please only add a comment if you're happy for it to be used.

Thanks and good luck
MNHQ

FanSpamTastic Mon 20-Oct-14 13:21:52

No time limits - depends how knackered/hungover or otherwise occupied I am. They have worked out they get longer on gadgets if they let us have a lie in and don't start arguing.

Fighting/arguing etc over gadgets results in confiscation.

They play whatever obsession of the moment is - been club penguin, moshi monsters, minecraft but now into animal jam. Occasionally make them do something educational first before allowing time on gadgets.

If they are starting to look a bit pale and pasty due to being sat inside all the time then gadgets are confiscated and they are thrown outside to get some fresh air. Likewise try and make one evening a week movie night - no gadgets allowed. Though I usually fail that one and get told off!

They are all far more IT literate than me and soon work round any limits or tricks I try to put in their way!

BellaVida Mon 20-Oct-14 13:23:10

With 4 kids, we are very aware of the importance of technology as a tool for learning, but also for recreation.

- we restrict access during the week, unless it is related to homework.
- we have a curfew in the evenings, to allow them to wind down by reading or drawing quietly before bed.
- they mostly access fun videos relating to their favourite toys/hobbies and games.
- as we control the time they spend online, our only concern is monitoring content. We have filters and controls in place and are present when they are online, with the volume high enough to check for inappropriate language!
- other rules we have is that recreational technology use is a privilege, not a right, so it can be withdrawn for bad behaviour. Fantastic deterrent!

WatchCowspiracy Mon 20-Oct-14 13:31:13

~ Did you have to set a time limit or does your child self manage?
Self-manages. No stress, no nagging. Feels right. He doesn't spend hours on the iPad, I am happy with his balance of tech/indoor play/outdoor play/sleep etc!
~ What sort of sites or apps does your child spend the most time on?
He is four. Lots of games where he is racing, mazes, puzzles. He also likes finding songs on YouTube.
~ Are you concerned about the amount of time they spend online or is it not a concern to you?
Not in the least. He follows his interests. Best way.
~ Do you have any rules re time online or any techniques or tips for dealing with it?
No, but we do encourage downtime about an hour before bedtime. Though there is no set bedtime - as with tech, he chooses his own bedtime. But it's around the same kind of time, so workable.

purplepowers Mon 20-Oct-14 14:09:24

Did you have to set a time limit or does your child self manage?

Yes we do - half an hour max. At the weekend we're not so strict.

Why do you set time limits and what do you think your child would do if you didn't?

I don't think it's great or healthy for your DCs to spend a long period of time staring at a screen.

What sort of sites or apps does your child spend the most time on?

Mainly games or Hangout so they can talk to their friends.

Are you concerned about the amount of time they spend online or is it not a concern to you?

Not really. I make sure they do other things, such as read, play board games, Lego, run around outside etc.

Do you have any rules re time online or any techniques or tips for dealing with it?

Not really apart from not spending too much time online, unless it is for homework purposes. If we have tantrums, removing their tablets/games consoles for a day seems to work well!

nerysw Mon 20-Oct-14 14:14:17

My kids are 3 and 5 so a little young to be spending a lot of time on tech. My daughter (5) spends time on a Reading Eggs site which I bought a subscription for. Sadly it doesn't work all that well so she doesn't spend long on it. She also likes Cbeebies and plays the games happily. I only stop her if she has homework to do or if it conflicts with us going out or meal times. My son is three and likes some of the easier Cbeebies games but needs my help with them.
Timelimits haven't been necessary yet but I'm sure the time will come. I'm not concerned about the amount of time they spend on it as it hasn't been an issue for us yet.

BornToFolk Mon 20-Oct-14 14:17:59

DS is 7

~ Did you have to set a time limit or does your child self manage?

Not a set time limit but I will tell DS to stop using the computer/TV when hes had enough.
~ Why do you set time limits and what do you think your child would do if you didn't?
Because I don't think that too much screen time is good for him, there are lots of other ways to spend his time. If I didn't tell him to stop I think he would give up eventually....
~ What sort of sites or apps does your child spend the most time on?
CBBC website and Minecraft on the laptop. We'll also look at things like YouTube or Wikiepedia but we usually do that together. DS also uses my Ipod touch and likes games apps.
~ Are you concerned about the amount of time they spend online or is it not a concern to you?
No, not at the moment. I am planning to get DS a tablet for Christmas though and I suspect that will change things somewhat!
~ Do you have any rules re time online or any techniques or tips for dealing with it?
With my Ipod touch, I've got in-app purchases turned off and DS does not know my itunes password so he has to ask if he wants to download something. I've set him up an account on the laptop and restricted the sites that he's able to view.

ouryve Mon 20-Oct-14 14:24:06

~ Did you have to set a time limit or does your child self manage?
~ Why do you set time limits and what do you think your child would do if you didn't?
~ What sort of sites or apps does your child spend the most time on?
~ Are you concerned about the amount of time they spend online or is it not a concern to you?
~ Do you have any rules re time online or any techniques or tips for dealing with it?

It's different for both boys. DS1 would spend all day on ucoin, with the odd minecraft break, if he got half a chance. We use windows parental controls to restrict it to an hour on school days and 2 one hour stints on non-school days. Without the timer, he pushes it as far as he can go and becomes hyperactive and argumentative when we eventually prise him off.

DS2 doesn't need such restrictions. He hasn't bothered to pick up his tablet or my iPod for over a week, now. He goes through phases of being absorbed in a game. We had to uninstall angry birds because he was becoming very frustrated and angry with a particular level and refused to either try doing it a different way or tackling something else. When he does go through phases of being more interested in particular games, the only restriction we put on is that he doesn't use it between dinner and bed time, so he can wind down. He's usually quite good at picking it up for, say, 20 minutes and then putting it down to do something else, for a while.

SixImpossible Mon 20-Oct-14 14:26:19

We have limits on when screen time can begin (7am) and must end (2h before bedtime, unless the family are watching a film/programme together).

Norton controls computer access, 2h/day for the 11yo, including homework, 1h/day for the 7yo. It also restricts where they go: no porn, violence, drugs etc, but also no file-sharing, social networks or downloading.

The 14yo has free access, but more-or-less respects our rules: no screens at night, no inappropriate websites, switch off when we ask. He knows that we can see where he has been.

choccyp1g Mon 20-Oct-14 14:33:11

Did you have to set a time limit or does your child self manage?
~ Why do you set time limits and what do you think your child would do if you didn't? Self manage, which means some days he is on it constantly
~ What sort of sites or apps does your child spend the most time on?
Games, including linking up with friends
~ Are you concerned about the amount of time they spend online or is it not a concern to you?
Yes I am concerned, but I still think he has to learn to manage it himself.
~ Do you have any rules re time online or any techniques or tips for dealing with it?
we tried complicated rules, but it just caused arguments and an attitude of staying on as long as allowed just to prove he could, so I now take a laid back attitude. So long as school work is done, grades are keeping up, he gets up on time for school, takes enough exercise, what he does in his leisure time is his choice

DrankSangriaInThePark Mon 20-Oct-14 14:38:19

Do you set a time limit?

When I have to, if there is homework to be done, it will be "OK, you can have an hour" Once homework is finished, no limits though. Although dd still enjoys "playing" rather than using technology.

What sort of sites/apps?

Animal Jam, Facebook. Sites where you can modify photos etc.

Are you concerned?

No, not at the moment. Her friend came to stay over on Saturday and I noticed she was constantly fiddling with her phone, (the friend) dd isn't that interested.

Rules/Techniques.

I haven't had to, but I would say no phones when a friend is round, or when at the table. We have an unspoken no computers, tvs or anything in the bedrooms.

WowOoo Mon 20-Oct-14 14:45:08

During the week I stick to limits: half an hour for both boys. On the weekends I'm more relaxed.
Any chores or homework has to be done first.
My eldest plays Minecraft and my youngest goes on the Cartoon Network games site or CBBC website.

I am concerned that my eldest would probably play Minecraft for ever if I didn't stop him. Happy that my youngest will choose to come off after 20 minutes usually and play imaginatively.

If limits and rules are broken it results in a week ban. Ds1 has had to live through this and would never risk it again!

marymanc Mon 20-Oct-14 15:23:08

My children self-manage, they have no limits but are pretty sensible. My daughter is allowed to use the tablet only if she has done her reading and music, my son is 5 and has no restrictions for now.

They like playing with apps as minecraft and lots of other games but my son loves watching videos on Youtube of Mickey Mouse or Thomas the Tank Engine. I expect is like watching television, sometimes he switches to games but always with the same characters.

I am not concerned about the time my children spend online because they do other things like going out to play with friends and spending time with books and playing with their toys.

sanfairyanne Mon 20-Oct-14 16:40:02

no official limits although i might ask them to turn it off sometimes
i try to plan activites for us as a family so kids are kept busy a lot
what they do with their 'down time' is up to them (parental controls obv)

popperdoodles Mon 20-Oct-14 17:18:01

I largely allow them to self manage. So far this is working well. Luckily they all love sport and are very active most days. If they started to regularly be online for more than a few hours each day I would have to re think and probably turn wifi off for a bit.

Mostly they are using you tube or facebook. They also watch things on BBC iplayer (as a family we don't watch a lot of live tv). In terms of games they play tapped out and clash of clans. They have a playstation but not a huge range of games, they adore Fifa so mostly choose that.

They have to take turns on iPad and playstation which can cause arguments occasionally. eldest 2 each have smartphones which can make it trickier to keep track on what they are accessing but I feel I have to trust them.

BBQsAreSooooOverrated Mon 20-Oct-14 18:41:29

~ Did you have to set a time limit or does your child self manage?

iPad goes off after dinner before bed and only reading in bed before lights out but other than that they self manage.

~ What sort of sites or apps does your child spend the most time on?

My dc's are 5, 8 & 11. The iPad is mainly used to play minecraft and other games. My 11 yr old also uses FaceTime and iMessage to chat to school friends, YouTube is used to watch minecraft videos hmm

~ Are you concerned about the amount of time they spend online or is it not a concern to you?

They all do other things and play outside in fresh air so time spent online doesn't concern me.

~ Do you have any rules re time online or any techniques or tips for dealing with it?

No tech after dinner and only reading in bed until lights out to unwind. They all stick to this. iPads/tablets stay downstairs.
I don't stick to this rule though and frequently mn or fb in bed (warmer and comfier) wink Shh don't tell the dcs

IHeartLockhart Mon 20-Oct-14 19:33:35

~ Did you have to set a time limit or does your child self manage?
It varies. I don't like him to be on my phone or the iPad for long a amounts of time, but tbh most of the time he's bored after 30 mins

~ Why do you set time limits and what do you think your child would do if you didn't?
I don't lika him on for long as I like him to be able to entertain himself without the need for technology.

~ What sort of sites or apps does your child spend the most time on?
He mostly plays on game apps like CBeebies, racing cars, jigsaw puzzles etc. we also have a netflix account that he enjoys using.

~ Are you concerned about the amount of time they spend online or is it not a concern to you?
Wjen he is old enough to access the internet it will be a big concern for me. As he gets older and gets a phone/tablet of his own I will have strict rules of the amount of time allowed and what sites can be accessed.

~ Do you have any rules re time online or any techniques or tips for dealing with it?
Nothing firm at the moment, we just take it as it comes.

bluebump Mon 20-Oct-14 20:13:12

~ Did you have to set a time limit or does your child self manage?
It depends, sometimes my DS is not remotely interested in the laptop/iPad and other days he would play non stop if he could. I tend to play it day by day, if he's done all of his homework/reading etc then he can have a play.

~ Why do you set time limits and what do you think your child would do if you didn't?
I set time limits so that he does other stuff, doesn't spend all the time watching screens which I'm sure probably isnt good.

~ What sort of sites or apps does your child spend the most time on?
Websites would be Bug Club (the school use this, they have books online to read), CBBC/Cbeebies websites, Moshi Monster world. On the iPad it tends to be games, Minion Rush, Angry Birds etc.

~ Are you concerned about the amount of time they spend online or is it not a concern to you?
I think we manage it well, and my DS can be found on his trampoline or making a mess doing craft stuff as much as being online so we have a good balance.

~ Do you have any rules re time online or any techniques or tips for dealing with it? No iPad just before bed but that's about it.

MakeTeaNotWar Mon 20-Oct-14 20:33:33

DC are 4 and 2 with no set time limit - they muck about playing cbeebies games, counting games, drawing. I think they benefit from playing together and learning. However any squabbling leads to instant confiscation,

BettyMoody Mon 20-Oct-14 20:34:52

mine dont have a time limit

they self reg

BettyMoody Mon 20-Oct-14 20:35:18

they do Minecreaft . total team fortress, instagram, facebook and endless youtube videos

CMOTDibbler Mon 20-Oct-14 20:53:09

Ds is 8, and needs a time limit otherwise he would happily sit and play Terraria, watch Kratz/ minecraft videos or play other games. The amount of time depends on what else is going on that day. Weekdays, 30 mins, more at the weekend

missorinoco Mon 20-Oct-14 21:16:47

My children are young enough that I am sure the control I have will lessen with age. At present it is one hour of computer time on non school nights, although I will be flexible if a friend is playing.

Internet use is monitored, they can use the computer for school activities, as yet it hasn't occurred to them they could look up anything.

Games are allowed via CD, the Wifi, or on my phone, where in app purchases are password protected.

School educates via internet safety, but I think I will add to this over the next year, so that in relaxing the rules are widening them, they are still my rules.

sharond101 Mon 20-Oct-14 21:19:01

~ Did you have to set a time limit or does your child self manage? Not particularly set in stone but I do not allow any prolonged use (no greater than 30 minutes 2x per day) and only supervised (DS is only 2).
~ Why do you set time limits and what do you think your child would do if you didn't? I think it destroys the act of Communication and he becomes so hypnotised by it he cannot concentrate on anything else.
~ What sort of sites or apps does your child spend the most time on? Ceebeebies.
~ Are you concerned about the amount of time they spend online or is it not a concern to you? Not at the moment but he loves it so much I believe as he gets older he will want more and more.
~ Do you have any rules re time online or any techniques or tips for dealing with it? I tell him the iPad needs a nap which often works.

goingloombandcrazy Tue 21-Oct-14 00:05:36

We don't limits but observe behaviour. Any aggressive/ narky comments due to game playing result in a ban.
Both my children love cbebbies playtime and story time apps. Eldest is 7!
They do this whilst Im busy cooking tea

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