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Limiting screen time

(24 Posts)
HorribleMother Tue 26-Feb-13 14:47:56

When DS was 7yo we figured out that he would literally play computer games 24/7 given a chance, he had no self-limiting mechanism.

So we instituted lots of screen time rules, fairly flexible, needed for sharing time with siblings, too. WiFi now goes off at 8:30pm for instance.

We found that DS didn't overdo it with his DSi so allowed him to get an iPad for birthday last year (13th).

Lately he's using massive amounts of bandwith watching Youtube (currently banned, used 10 GB in 36 hours), tending to not go out or do anything else. I think key solution is to encourage him to have other interests (I have a few ideas) so that the iPad naturally reduces to something reasonable. Think we need more than one strategy, though.

I probably wouldn't mind if it was all FB, but a lot of it is watching videos, shooting games, "free" apps. He can't do much Minecraft on iPad and I wonder if it would be better to give him more Minecraft time on proper PC, but then would have to reconcile with how much screen time other DC get.

What do you all do to keep your teen's screen time at a moderate level?

ShirleyB25 Tue 26-Feb-13 14:52:27

Yes please - tell me! Our limiting of screen time is particularly difficult over school holidays, if the weather is poor. Our 12 year old would also happily stay on I-pad or computer the whole live-long day!

AnythingNotEverything Tue 26-Feb-13 14:56:59


Ds is nearly 13 and I'm interested in the responses you get ... Don't think I've much to offer though!

Ds spends a lot of time playing with friends online, and I can justify this as a reasonably social activity. He's also setting up a you tube account and posting videos, which again feels like valid activity rate than just dead screen time.

Am I being daft?

Hope we get some input from other parents ...

booksteensandmagazines Tue 26-Feb-13 15:03:15

You can restrict internet access to specific items with some internet users - so you may be able to limit his access to the internet from the Ipad as long as he doesn't then use 3G (even more expensive!)
Also my son plays a version of minecraft on his kindle - pocket mine craft? So you may be able to sort something with that.
Otherwise its just down to restricting time - I limit the time they can spend on screens at the weekend and I do ask them to put their kindles etc in the study so I am sure they are having a break. They hate it but they accept it now.

musickeepsmesane Tue 26-Feb-13 15:21:31

Adults are in charge of children. I don't understand posts like these. All the kids in our family (Nieces, nephews, birth - extended family) have very little screen time. It isn't rocket science, just take things off them. You pay the bills, if the kids don't regulate, you have to. All screens and torches are put in boxes outside bedrooms at bedtime. If the sun is shining, play outside. If weather horrible - children ask permission for screen time. Then I know when to say that's enough. They all have a DS, their own portable DVD player and we have a WII. Rules are few and not flexible. There are no tantrums cos we all play games like scrabble, dominoes, read books etc. Also, a new friend of DS has been round playing, told DS "I don't really play outside". 2 weeks later, he is here a lot and thinks it is amazingly awesome outside and now joins us on walks.

TiffIsKool Tue 26-Feb-13 15:38:15

The answer? Music and homework smile My DCs have about 90 min of homework a night plus 30min music practice. An hour of screen time at the end before bed is their reward.

At weekends they have regular activities like swimming that gets them out of the house for the day.

purpleroses Tue 26-Feb-13 15:51:00

DP and I have 6 dCs between us at the weekends - 3 boys aged 10-14 and 3 girls. We don't find any need for rules for the girls at all tbh as they naturally self-limit (though they are notionally under the same rule as the boys). What we're managing OK on with the boys though is agreed times of day that are no screen times - we do 10-4 on a Saturday and after 12 on a Sunday. This still gives them at least 4 hours a day potentially on their computers, but it does give good sized chunks of time when they have time to think of something else to do. Previously we'd been trying to limit them to 2 hours a day each, but were having difficulties with endless disputes about when they started gaming. Plus they would end up watching each other game when their own time had run out. We let them do homework outside those times, but not youtube, FB, etc.

In the week, there's only my DCs in the house, and I generally let DS on his computer for an hour or so when he gets in, and then no more until homework, music practice, etc is all completed - which usually takes him up til bedtime.

HorribleMother Tue 26-Feb-13 16:27:26

Our modem doesn't allow restricted access for specific devices or users, we are thinking of that but would mean researching & buying a different modem.

Us to have full custody of the iPad and only hand it over at limited times: I'm apprehensive about that because DS paid £140 of his own savings for the iPad and he didn't acquire it with that understanding. It feels like a violation of contract to change the terms of use like that. I know it's an option, would leave DS violently angry so I had hoped for ideas that wouldn't create such much fury.

I would love DS to do more clubs but he has never been much of a joiner.

purpleroses Tue 26-Feb-13 16:52:33

Rather than take the ipad off him, a compromise I've used with DS is to insist that the charging unit lives out of his bedroom. That at least limits how long he can use it under the bedclothes.

But if you insist on rules on when it's used, and then he breaks them, I think you can take it off him legitimately.

musickeepsmesane Tue 26-Feb-13 16:56:13

horriblemother It is difficult to introduce new rules. I am concerned that your son is ruling you with anger. If you don't take charge there will always be fury. If lines are constantly being redrawn your DS knows he will win. You are not doing him any favours looking for an easy option. I do agree tho', if he is not a joiner, don't force him to go to clubs. It does make it more difficult that he used savings - still your house, your rules. Would you be able to ride out the storm of temper tantrums? Give him weekend tasters of potential hobbies? Things you can do as a family eg golf, football, cycling? He might decide he likes something enough to want to join a club, rather than you suggesting it?

HorribleMother Tue 26-Feb-13 17:28:43

I can impose another set of rules. Would rather not, though.

I have rules about what they eat, what they watch, how the treat each other, what they wear. Any strategy that doesn't involve another headache system of extra rules would be lovely. smile

MuchBrighterNow Tue 26-Feb-13 20:18:08

I sometimes flip the trip switch and pretend its a power cut... fairly believable as it's not that unusual where we live. Not a regular solution but it's very effective for making them all emerge from their rooms, blinking into the light grin

HorribleMother Wed 27-Feb-13 07:52:05

I did that once (flipped the trip switch); DS1 KNEW instantly and raged at me about it. Not good for poota, either.

CheddarGorgeous Wed 27-Feb-13 08:09:00

I don't know if this will help with iPads but might help others whose children are stuck to facebook when supposed to be doing homework.

Sorry the thread is a bit bonkers because the OP was deleted and then reinstated.

CheddarGorgeous Wed 27-Feb-13 08:09:46

Once again with link:

nagynolonger Wed 27-Feb-13 08:26:34

If necessary (very rarely) I turn the rooter off and confiscate my 16 yearolds phone. He knows this will happen to encourage GCSE revision!

Once he has done his GCSE he will be allowed a bedroom TV.

The 19 yearold is an adult so I don't limit his time on games at all. He does work full time and still has lots reports etc to write for his apprenticeship. He always does that first.

I leave the 17 yearold to self limit too. He knows the importance of A levels. He has a TV in his room but doesn't bother with it much. He listens to the radio a lot.

If it's miserable and cold out I don't mind them playing games online with friends for as long as they want. They still do sport etc and we eat meals together.
Once the cricket season starts the computer games stop anyway.

nagynolonger Wed 27-Feb-13 08:56:44

Sorry about the spelling!

theredhen Wed 27-Feb-13 10:52:05

I must admit I would like to learn how to turn the Internet off for part if the day for the school holidays. We have simple rules for school days and weekends, which we enforce because we are both at home but teenagers in the holidays tend to sit in front of screens all day if not supervised in my house.

Anyone know how to do it so that a very tech savvy teenager can't get round it?

purpleroses Wed 27-Feb-13 11:10:40

Redhen - turn the modem off, unplug it and hide it grin

theredhen Wed 27-Feb-13 11:15:35

I've thought of that but that would mean they couldn't use it all day and I don't really want to restrict it that much. Im sure they would make excuses about needing to do homework. So if it didn't come on til 1pm for example, that would be perfect. grin

mumandtwo Thu 28-Feb-13 10:27:44

I have just discovered that I can set my router (sky broadband) to go on and off at certain times!! So now it goes off at 10.30pm and goes on at 9am, that way my 15yo DD cannot stay up on tumblr, skyping people in America and all the other stuff she's been doing til all hours.
Also (big, bad mother bit), as being late for school has become a huge issue, if she is late, she doesn't get to have any internet at all after school - we're only on day two and it's hard, but she knows I mean business.
It's all very well and good now, but when her dad (divorced) gets back from his holiday in 2 weeks, he says he is going to buy her an iphone and get her a contract with internet so she can go back on the internet whenever she likes, as he thinks it is so wrong of me to control the internet for his lovely (manipulative) daughter!! Oh the joys!!

theredhen Thu 28-Feb-13 13:03:48

mumandtwo - that is a bit of an issue in our house too. DSD2 has an iphone so I limit computer and x box for DS but DSD2 is on the iphone.

I think the answer is to ensure that the phone is charged downstairs overnight. Doesn't matter if Dad has bought it for her, when it's in your house, it's your rules!

Ahoque2 Fri 20-Jun-14 13:26:43

Here is the solution we use in our house. We have Android devices and Microsoft laptops.

For the kids' laptop which runs Windows 7 (similar on Windows 8):
There is no charge: standard part of Windows 7 and 8. You have to setup a user account. Then you can make settings to control when they can access the laptop for each day of the week. With Windows 8, you can also set a time limit for the day e.g. stops working after 2 hours. They cannot login during the restricted hours and they cannot use it once it is bedtime! Also web filters: you get an email summarizing blocked internet requests.

For Android phones and tablets:
There is a free app called AppLock which is great. (It has had 50 million downloads). Just download from the �Play Store� onto each device. When you run it, you have to enter an email address and password. You can do all set up on the device. It lists all of the apps on the device and you can either lock or unlock them. When they try to run a locked app, they get prompted for the PIN. Remember to lock the �settings� app so they cannot uninstall AppLock.

In AppLock, save these list of locked and unlocked apps as a �profile�. We have three profiles: night time (calls only), daytime (music, camera etc), evening (Facebook and Internet). Then go to advanced settings and create a �time lock�. You can activate a profile at a particular time. So �night time� might come on at 9pm. Daytime at 8am. You can set different time locks for different days of the week.

Our BT broadband also has parental controls to turn off any internet nasties coming through the wifi. 3G devices not protected. They may also be able to connect to a neighbour�s un-password protected wifi!

Why all this work? Just asking them to not use it when requested does not work. They have just accepted their time limits and we do not have to do anything. Before we did this, we had them sneaking phones into their rooms to Facebook into the early hours or we had phone bans that hurt both of us.

user1488902838 Tue 07-Mar-17 16:38:47

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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