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16yr old DS won't turn off screens

(14 Posts)
legoismylife Sun 08-Sep-19 19:50:55

My DS is 16 next month and for the last year he has barely put down his iPad. He seems alright in himself, sleeps, eats, goes to school, does reasonably well but while all his friends and doing more going out he is just in his room. He chats to real friends through WhatsApp and online "friends" through games he plays but he just doesn't go out and meet anyone in the outside world. Is it a phase? What to do??

birdlawyer Sun 08-Sep-19 19:53:38

If he sleeps, eats, attends school and is doing well at school, why not just let him be? At 16 he should be able to spend his spare time as he wishes.

ThisIsNotAIBUPeople Sun 08-Sep-19 19:59:03

My DS is 15 and similar, but we do make sure he gets out of the house for activities that he enjoys. Biking, walking, self defence classes. He just doesn't really socialise with friends other than at school and on the Play Station. He's doing well at school and I don't begrudge him down time, as long as he gets out and about as well. Its just getting the balance right.

Charles11 Sun 08-Sep-19 20:00:21

Why doesn’t he want to go out?
I’d still try to keep encouraging him to put his iPad down and go and do something but it’s good he’s doing well at school.
Just keep an eye on it. I only say that as I know some teens who get more and more addicted to their screens, particularly gaming.
It can become a problem sometimes.

bigchris Sun 08-Sep-19 20:01:31

My 15 year old is the same , editing YouTube videos etc

Him and his mates don't see each other outside of school like we used to

Rapidmama Sun 08-Sep-19 20:03:29

I posted about this earlier. But it was an Xbox.

I sold it.

legoismylife Sun 08-Sep-19 20:17:32

Charles11
That's the bit that worries me.....the balance. There just isn't any and it's beginning to feel like he is getting left behind a bit. I think he is anxious about going out. He has stopped doing anything he was doing before - football, cycling. His iPad has become everything.

legoismylife Sun 08-Sep-19 20:25:40

Rapidmama
I just looked for your post but couldn't find it. He paid for the iPad so I can't really sell it. If I could make it disappear I would. How old was your DS? What happened??

Rapidmama Sun 08-Sep-19 20:32:06

He was 12. Obsessed with his xbox. Same as your son really. Didn’t want to do anything except game and sit in his room. Got into horrible rages when it was taken away or even when we made him go out with us. I’d read so many stories on here about kids addicted to gaming. Families where the dad just sat staring at a screen the whole time. Boys dropping out of college and uni with no motivation to do anything except sit in their dark bedroom in front of a screen.

One day I took it all out of the house and sold it. I gave him the money since they belonged to him. I’m not going to lie he went fucking ballistic. Screamed, shouted, begged, pleaded it went on and on and on. I just remained firm and said I will not have consoles in my house. End of story.

That was about 6 months ago. He never even mentions it anymore. He had a brilliant summer holiday out with his mates on their bikes and at the local pool. He’s a different kid

Their brains are still growing and these things are so addictive even for adults. I find it hard to put my phone down!

Rapidmama Sun 08-Sep-19 20:33:44

I realise it’s extreme and I don’t expect every parent to do that but he’s 15. He lives in your house. Using your WiFi and your electricity.

I’d come down on it like a ton of bricks and do not give an inch.

BarbedBloom Mon 09-Sep-19 16:37:08

Personally I think you were totally out of line rapidmama, but I appreciate I may be in the minority there.

I think it is important to teach children to learn limits though. Otherwise in a few years they will be living their own lives and have free access to tech and no self regulation. Removal doesn't teach limits, just boots the can down the road for a few years.

Honestly, the world has changed. I do think screens are addictive, but the world as a whole relies on technology now and that is why I fall on the teaching self regulation rather than scorched earth. People now don't see each other as much they use whatsapp etc instead and I see this as much with 40 year olds as 16 year olds.

If your 16 year old is still doing schoolwork, speaking to other people and generally doing what they need to, then you're doing well

Just my opinion though

SunshineAngel Thu 12-Sep-19 01:16:11

I know others have said that he's old enough at 16 to choose how he spends his time, but I'm of the opinion that this shouldn't be the case if it's going to be detrimental to his long term wellbeing - and I think screens are more of a problem in our children's lives than we're willing to admit. At the age of 16, young people only know what they know (if that makes sense), and they still need a firm, guiding, parental hand to steer them away from bad habits.

I wouldn't ban it outright, but what we do is to make sure we all eat together each evening to catch up on the day, and there's no devices allowed at the time, so that's a start.

I would also try and plan things to do that don't involve screens, such as walks and days out, for the whole family. Also maybe ask him to do little tasks for you like walk to the shops, or something, and suggest maybe watching a film together (which I know is still a screen but I do think it's different).

I just worry that at the moment we're creating a zombie generation who don't know how to socialise effectively, and as parents we should be encouraging activities that are more productive or beneficial.

Our 16yo is allowed an hour on his PlayStation each evening, though we're pretty easy going at the weekends and he's free to go on it so long as he's up to date with homework and we're not going out anywhere. When he's not on, he will either read a book, or come and chill with us and watch some tele - which is at least a little more social.

Mary8076 Sat 14-Sep-19 19:03:17

Use the built in parental control function on his iPad and phone to limit the maximum screen time for each day and to block it at night.
It's could be a phase but it could be also something getting exponentially worse. Screen addiction is a common thing and parents need to stop it, the bad effects are so underestimated.

Whichoneofyoudidthat Sun 15-Sep-19 06:40:11

I can switch off devices remotely and I do. Often and to a schedule. I will do it until they finish secondary school or they pay for their own device\wifi. Whichever comes first.

Adults find it hard to ration screen time. I don’t know why we expect children to be able to.

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