When do you stop restricting time on phone?

(13 Posts)
twosoups1972 Fri 02-Aug-19 10:49:40

Dd is 12.5 and on the autistic spectrum. She hates rules so we try and keep them to a minimum. We are fairly relaxed parents I think l but I am strict about screen time. I restrict her phone usage from the device, 1.5 hours per day on school days, and 2 hours per day weekends/holidays.

She thinks this is very unfair mainly because I don’t do the same for my older daughters (16 and 18). When they were 12 they didn’t have smartphones and didn’t start using SM till later.

Dd3 is asking me when she’s older will I lift the restrictions. So my question is, at what age do you start letting them regulate themselves?

She’s upset because she thinks we don’t trust her. I’m trying to balance putting a few rules in place and listening to her feelings.

OP’s posts: |
Firefliess Fri 02-Aug-19 12:39:41

I think it depends what they're doing on the phone tbh. If she's mainly gaming then you're right to put a limit on it as gaming is addictive and probably doing very little for her social life or skills. If she's messaging friends though I think your rules might be a bit strict and risk holding her back socially. I'd suggest having a rule that the phone if off whilst doing homework, at mealtimes and after, say, 9pm at night, but otherwise allowing her to use it.

If you're not sure what she's doing on her phone, talk to her about it. Chat about things on your own phone (things your friends have posted on FB, a news story you've read, etc) and try not to let her online world be something you know nothing about. Follow her on social media once she's using that - 12.5 is an ideal age to allow social media that's technically not allowed until 13 but on the proviso that she tells you her password so you can keep an eye on things.

twosoups1972 Fri 02-Aug-19 13:00:46

Thank you, she’s mainly using it for chatting to friends on WhatsApp and watching YouTube videos on dance, hair, make up etc. The phone shuts down at 8.30pm but excluding Spotify and YouTube as she listens to music when getting ready for bed, and watches a YouTube video to stretch to.

OP’s posts: |
BrokenWing Fri 02-Aug-19 14:25:06

We don't regulate time on smart phone/games console, but we do have loose rules that reduce the amount of time he is on it.

The obvious ones that are just being polite or common sense include no phone at dinner table, when visiting people or we have guests, no phone during homework/study, no phone when we are in the car and having a conversation, phone is off an hour before bed (on school nights) as he needs to get bag ready/reads etc and we do notice a difference in how easily he gets to sleep.

We make sure he has activities to keep him occupied and off the phone (football training, going to local footie team matches, gym etc), and during the weekend/holidays if he doesn't have plans to go out with friends to break up the day we go out or find things to do (walk the dog, chop veg/help cook dinner, go out to eat, go shopping etc).

If she wasn't on the phone what would she be doing instead? Personally I don't see much difference between watching You Tube videos about something that interests you and watching a TV program so wouldn't restrict for that reason.

Social media is different, and something that should be monitored, checked and talked about anyway, if she experiences issues with social media deal with them appropriately as they occur depending on the problem.

twosoups1972 Fri 02-Aug-19 14:32:52

Her main hobby is dance and during term time she does a lot of classes which is great - she enjoys it, gets her off screen and is good exercise. I totally understand the need to watch something to relax, we all need that. But I do worry that she's addicted to her phone. For example my 16 year old middle dd will go out for a few hours without her phone....youngest dd - not a chance.

She only has WhatsApp at the moment, I've said no to any other SM, I think she's too young and I worry about the negative impact on mental health. I know when she turns 13 the discussions will start again though.

OP’s posts: |
azaleanth90 Fri 02-Aug-19 14:58:52

I tried not regulating for a bit at 13 but have upped my control again as dc was spending 8-10 hours a day on the phone, mostly game or instagram. I'm not seeing any sign he can be reasonable at the moment!

Ledkr Fri 02-Aug-19 15:07:16

This is one of those Mumsnet topics which gets extremely different reactions depending on who's about
I think it's very much depends on the child or young person's ability to self regulate. My dd was awful and hugely addicted to her phone from around 13 and if we didn't have limits she would have literally been on it all night.
Even now at 17 she will be on it late chatting to her boyfriend and then struggle to get up in the morning for college but at her age I don't limit it although I do turn off the WiFi if she takes the piss too much or refuses to clear up her mess.


Bookworm4 Fri 02-Aug-19 15:09:14

I must be one of the few who don’t set allowances, only agreement is not at the table and left out of bedroom at10pm on school nights, but she’s not glued to it.

twosoups1972 Fri 02-Aug-19 15:13:30

@Ledkr so what happened between 13 and 17? Did you gradually increase the time limit?

OP’s posts: |
landscapingtrees Fri 02-Aug-19 22:01:25

AT 12.5 would definitely restrict it. Even up to the age of 16, I restricted it to 1 - 2 hours a day, and phones put away by 8 p.m. I think you've got it about right OP, and I don't think you need to change it that much until post-GCSEs (would be my view).

However I have a DS16 now, soon be 17 - its hard to know what restrictions to have now. I just haven't worked it out yet and I'm actually not sure what to do. But I think my son would stay up to midnight, 1 a.m.etc on his phone if no limits and nothing else gets done unless he's rushing out somewhere. I'm thinking a phone curfew of 10 p.m. might work hmm.

landscapingtrees Fri 02-Aug-19 22:03:20

I will need to talk to DS16 about it but I know he hates any restrictions. Its understandable to some extent as will be 17 in a few months - but do I just say "do what you want, its up to you" at that age - its a tricky one.

pauline987 Fri 02-Aug-19 23:06:42

My daughter is 12 and I have lifter her phone restrictions as it was becoming a daily battle and the whole house was miserable

I didn't restrict the usage from the device. I was physically taking the phone from her when she came in from school (she gets the bus to and from school by resell so I like her to have the phone With her Incase anything happens) She then got it for an hour after her homework was done and then another at some point in the evening before bed. At weekends holidays she got a bit more

I realised I was being a bit unfair a few weeks ago when she was sat in the house on her own one Saturday afternoon. It turned out that her 2 best friends had gone to the beach with one of their families, last minute as the weather was so good. They had been texting her the night before asking her to go, but because I had removed her phone, she hadn't gotten the messages 🙈🙈 they had already left by the time she got the phone back the next day

She then had a bit of heart to heart with my DH about how left out she was feeling because she couldn't join in with her friends in the group chats and things as much because I kept taking her phone off her. She said she was missing things and not understanding things they were laughing about the next day because of it and that no one else's parents were so strict with their phones. After I checked the group chats, I realised she was right. She was the only one that was MIA from conversations for long periods of time. I guess phones are just a part of life now

I have just said I trust her to be responsible with using it, not to stay up all night texting, and the first time she gives me a reason to doubt her, the phone will be removed again

So far, it's going good

Mary8076 Tue 06-Aug-19 04:49:18

I am strict about screen time too, my oldest DDs 12 and almost 16yo still have a full parental control on their phone and I set the screen limit to 1 hour a day on school days and 2 hours on weekends.
If you look online about that you will find that 2 hours a day of screen time is the recommended maximum time for children 5-18yo, many suggest even just 1 hour limit in all, so considering PC/tablet at school or TV at home, 1 hour a day on phone is even too much. It's plenty of studies about problems of eyesight, posture, social disorders, growth, ... linked to screen time, in addiction to bullying, fraud, pornografy and other dangerous things. So, the best thing a parent can do is limiting the maximum phone time, block it at night, monitoring it and block all the inappropriate apps and websites. It's not a matter of trust or age, it's about the others with which they interact and the strong peer pressure, until like 18 actually they haven't the tools to manage that and self regulate, so a parental control is indispensable.

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