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Reality check - how much screen time is your 11/12 year old allowed?

15 replies

dabdab · 13/01/2013 23:44

We have always had 20 min of computer time allowed, but recently there seems to be lots and lots of gaming and you tubing going on with her phone and even the ipod nano. Is this an inevitable slide, or do you just take the phone away at home time? Am I being uptight and old fashioned? I am happy for her to use the phone for communication, but am disturbed at the thought of the majority of time outside of school becoming screen based.

OP posts:
ripsishere · 14/01/2013 00:15

My DD is restricted to an hour a day. She would sit and watch Scrubs back to back if we let her. DH put some sort of filter on that won't allow her to watch family guy since she did the same with that.
Unfortunately, she logs onto the iPod to view instead.

PootlePosyPerkin · 14/01/2013 00:21

11 year old DS goes through stages of watching too much telly, then wanting to "play out" all the bloomin' time, then being on the PC too much.

Because his "fads" are so changeable, we actually don't time limit anything (so long as homework is done first). We find that one month we'll be worried about DS2 spending too much time playing on the XBox - but that the next month he'll be playing out & barely touch it!

DS1 has Aspergers so is a different kettle of fish. Still no time limits as such though (and he is 16).

nooka · 14/01/2013 00:34

dd and I spent about 9 hours yesterday watching Glee (I was recovering from jet lag and it was very nice to snuggle up with her and veg a bit). Twenty minutes seems very short to me, I can't imagine doing anything very useful/fun in only 20 mins. We don't generally watch a huge amount of TV but are a gaming family, so our TV gets a lot of use.

I go more on making sure that there is plenty of good family time, that homework (if any) is being done, friends socialised with etc and then beyond that free time can be spent doing whatever the children enjoy.

ripsishere · 14/01/2013 00:41

We aren't in the UK so there isn't much on the telly for her to watch. We do look at films as a family.

MrsShrek3 · 14/01/2013 00:47

same as PPP - but we also have an aspie 12yo. Things come and go so as long as we don't make an issue of it, he doesn't either Wink

marialuisa · 14/01/2013 08:48

We don't have any official limit. Life means that DD watches very little TV and has very little opportunity for "screen time". We had a relatively quiet weekend and she was on skype for an hour yesterday afternoon but I think that's today's equivalent of the endless phone calls me and my friends used to make. If we ever think she's been on her ipad for too long we just get her engaged with something else but it doesn't often happen and we're aware that we need to be careful not to look like hypocrites!

dabdab · 14/01/2013 14:52

I should have clarified - we don't have a television, so she doesn't watch that. It is just that given the chance she would spend hours on her phone, on the computer, and on the ipod doing games (eg 7-8 every morning and 4:30-8 every evening). As it is, I am limiting this, but it is causing an awful lot of aggravation and difficulty when I ask her to stop.
I worry that if we allow her to go on as much as she wants, it will encourage a very passive lifestyle. She isn't interested in sport and has a somewhat limited social sphere. I feel concerned that it is perhaps escapism and not contributing in a positive way to her life.

OP posts:
derekthehamster · 14/01/2013 14:59

I don't limit screen time, but as the wii and x box are attached to the only TV, they do get booted off at regular intervals for me to watch tv.

Occasionally I decide they've been playing minecraft (or whatever) for too long, but I'm quite laid back about it all.

The only rule is, no gaming after tea (or childrens tv).

20 mins is quite a short amount of time imo

DeadTall · 15/01/2013 22:38

20 mins?!! Shock Ours are currently on between 1-1.5 hours a day, but I can see that being reduced as the homework increases. I think I'm probably allowing too much, but I'm also aware that this is a lot less than some of their friends.

What I'm finding difficult is that they both now have iPods, so it's harder to control what they watch as they disappear into their rooms and 'listen to music' with their earphones in. They are quite clearly watching You Tube videos... (I've found the parental guidance stuff the BBC iPlayer, and I think I've restricted their YouTube to age appropriate levels, but it's really confusing!)

I'd be interested to see what everyone else allows, and whether they distinguish between TV, PC games, iPod, iPad games etc.

ThreeBeeOneGee · 16/01/2013 19:34

DS1 (nearly 13) goes out three evenings a week (rugby, Scouts, youth club etc). On the other evenings he might spend between an hour and an hour and a half on family laptop or TV, not including homework time.

DS2 (nearly 11), probably similar.

Weekends are very variable, depending on what we're doing, but if we're in then they might spend a total of two hours in the afternoon on TV/computer/Wii.

Arcticwaffle · 18/01/2013 13:44

It's gone up a lot lately for 12 and 11yos. We used to limit tv and computer time to about 1hr per day, on average, but lately we let them have 2-3 hrs a day as long as they are

a) up on homework and music practice (totally their choice to learn instruments)
b) doing plenty of outdoor activities and exercise.
c) doing other things as well and not complaining when screens go off.

It's still more than I would choose for them but perhaps DP and I aren't great examples as we spend a lot of time online.

TheKaleFancier · 19/01/2013 11:13

We too are just wondering about screen time which is feeling out of control. Both DS used to go to Steiner School where it was easy to limit it as everyone did the same. God that was good.
Now eldest is 11 and at secondary, he was not making friends easily, he told me one day about a game Clash of Clans that lots of boys are playing. I got it for him and now both sons need to check it constantly, we have limited it to:
Before school once you are completely ready, shoes on and all, about 15 mins
After school for about half an hour
After dinner for about 15 mins
With me being lax on timings, and them sneaking in another game here and there, it is probably 1.5 hpd which I think is too much, esp now homework is often on the laptop too.
I have noticed that they have weeks when they want lots of telly and stuff and weeks when they want less, so this self-regulation that others mention can happen depending on the type of screen-time.
I feel the same as you about the amount of time on screens. I agree that 20 mins is too little, I would hope that an hour, maybe in two sessions depending on what she is doing, is adequate.
It might help to really understand what she is doing, how long the activity takes, why she likes it so that you truly understand the value of it to her- then work together to decide a limit. Or rather than time make it outcome-based.
A talk at school emphasised the importance of showing an interest in what children are doing so that they don't ever need to be covert about it, or feel that they can't tell you if they get into trouble online.
i know what you mean about escapism, I wish you well with this- it implies though that you feel she may be a bit unhappy, hence escaping from something? Or does that ot sound right?
I have a real sense that the boys are moping about thinking 'Oh, what is there to do between now and my next screen time' which is devaluing all the activities they used to be really happy with, or would be happy with if they did not compare it with screen time.
On the flip side, since getting this particular game DS has made some good friends. They have all moved on to another game now which is a whole new issue.
We are thinking of making Sunday a screen-free day, for all of us (gulp). I was thinking maybe Wednesday too.

Startail · 28/01/2013 00:42

I haven't the foggest idea how long my two spend staring at screens.

l just turn CBBC off when it gets on my nerves.

But both have lap tops and DD2 watches telly and plays SIMs a lot.

So long as HW is done I don't care.

I've never worked out how screen bans work with laptops, DSs, ipods and phones.

life is too short to begin to police these things and anyhow who wants bored wingy child moping round the room when you cooking.

anyhow, DH and me are always on computers so we' d be total hypocrites.

DD2 would probably carefully calculate our exact screen time and leave us without a leg to stand on.

weegiemum · 28/01/2013 00:46

Our 3 dc get half an hour gaming time a day through the week, an hour at weekends. Plus tv time which varies from none to a couple of hours.

Also having issues with dd1 and ds re:phones. We've decided to be stricter about it in the house, they have them on school bus and in the car.

lljkk · 29/01/2013 17:51

Dedicated own time: up to 5 hours/week in term time. But that doesn't include DSi or iPad which I leave them to it.

Shared with others: infinite.

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