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How much electronics (videogames) do you allow?

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
Most all the conflicts in our home lately involve electronics: video games, ipod, portable play stations and so on. In a perfect world we would live in a community of like-minded people and I would home school and have little or none at all, but that is not the case. DS (12) is an only child. We live where we do because DH got a job here but we don’t have any relatives or even friends with children here. Ds goes to a mainstream school. We allow DH electronics. He has video games, an ipod and a portable play station. We try our best limit it to Weekends only with the exception of listening to music on the iPod, but it has been a growing conflict. DS says all his other friends do it every day. And once he starts it is always very hard to get him off.

So I am just wondering how much electronics do you allow in you home?
post #2 of 46
We have a PS3, XBOX 360, Wii, two Nintendo DS systems, and everyone has their own computer. DS2 has an iPod but nobody else cares to have one. There is a lot of gaming going on around here....both kids play WoW, as well. Hardly anyone watches television.

I don't set limits on gaming. If something more interesting is happening, the games get put aside voluntarily. If nothing interesting is happening, then I don't see why they can't game....?
post #3 of 46
Similar here. We have 3 Xbox 360's w/xbox live, 2 ds's, an old gamecube and PS2. We have several TV's w/cable/DVR's. 2 computers, I-pods and 1 kid has an ipod touch (has internet access).

We are pretty much allow unlimited access, but I do reserve the right to limit esp. with my 11 yo. He needs to clear game content with me on new games. I also ask both 11yo and 14yo to get off for bed and other things. I'm am completely hands off w/18 yo.

Although they all really have enjoyed gaming, they really do seek balance in their lives. 18 yo whose life used to be so gaming-centered has really moved on. He uses his xbox live now mostly to play and talk with his cousin who has been away at college. 14 yo is moving on too. Interesting to talk to him about gaming now vs a year or 2 ago. Sometimes they need the freedom to immerse themselves in something like this to really appreciate it's limitations. YMMV.
post #4 of 46
We are unlimited.

I suspect that *your* perfect world and *your son's* perfect worlds are very different. At this point (my youngest is 12) I'm more concerned with helping them make good choices and find balance on their own rather than telling them what to do. They only have a few short years left at home.

My kids do have lots of other things going on (this week is an outdoor day camp for teens) but they spend some time on screens most every day.

And I don't think that an iPod really counts as a game -- it's more like a stereo.
post #5 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
I suspect that *your* perfect world and *your son's* perfect worlds are very different.
A very good thing to remember.

OP, I understand that we, as parents, want to impart our values onto our children. However, we must also understand that they are not replicas of ourselves. They are their own people with their own desires and needs. "Like-minded people" will differ for them, as well.
post #6 of 46
I don't regulate, either (though, my kids are younger, I'm responding thinking about my 9 yo since I consider her a pre-teen). She doesn't happen to care about the wii or her DSi at this point, but she does enjoy using the computer to look things up, play games, watch music videos/shows, etc. She also has a cell phone she texts a little bit on, and talks to a couple close friends and her cousins. She has an ipod for music, and a MP3 player that displays short videos. She doesn't use the last two devices daily, but I wouldn't limit them if she did.

Anyhow, I guess my thing is that her electronic use doesn't tend to get in the way of other activities. She doesn't have homework to worry about (then I could maybe see encouraging finishing it before using the computer - but that's a bridge we'll cross when we get to it - I'm not a fan of homework, TBH), and she happily prefers to be outside riding her bikes or playing basketball with her little brothers. I'm just playing it by ear, for now. If I felt like essentially allowing unlimited use was detrimental at some point, I'd likely step in and place some gentle limits, I think. I don't know that I would go as far as some of DS's friends who only allow video games on the weekends, but I might bug DD more to get off the computer and do something else - if I were worried.

FWIW, my 7 yo (so I know, not a pre-teen or teen) goes through periods when he plays the wii a whole lot. Like not too long ago when he got Mario Galaxy 2 and it seemed like he played it for 4 days straight (except he didn't really, b/c he had school and ate and of course slept ) but he was determined to beat the game - and he did, on the 4th day. Anyhow, my point is that since then, he's used the wii very rarely - in fact, I don't think I've seen him on it for several days now. Even at a younger age, I don't put a limit on gaming for him, and he's shown me that he can regulate it himself. He's active, super thin (almost too much so), and like his sister would pick going to the park or riding his bike over sitting on the couch, any day.

ETA: this approach is just what works for us, right now.
post #7 of 46
Thread Starter 
[QUOTE=Linda on the move;15517534]
I suspect that *your* perfect world and *your son's* perfect worlds are very different.QUOTE]

Yes, absolutely! I think that is the Waldorf left in me although it has been 5 years now since we left!
Ds is very physically active and has life outside of video games as PSP, but I do worry that all the radiation from these things could be damaging for his health.

I am just curious. Are any of you concerned about it? How much is unlimited? If your child wanted to do video games all day would you let them?
post #8 of 46
We do limit the kids' screen time. We only have a Wii and some computer games like Sims. Most 0f the Wii games are Wii sports, Wii Fit and DDR. They have the Naruto stuff but not that many. My kids are 15, 12, and 9. Some of their peers have mountains of video games, others have none. It's not a problem for them socially.
They all have iPods and we just ask that they not listen to them at dinner, when we are engaged in conversation, etc.
We have tried letting them self regulate screen time and they get nothing done. I'll come home from work and the TV room is a mess, none of the chores are done and noone has been outside.
So, once chores are done and the kids have read at for LEAST 1/2 hour,(not a problem with 15yoDD) they are welcome to play Wii, Sims, watch TV.
DH and I make a point to go on family hikes, go swimming, play board games and do other activities with them so they don't always resort to technology for entertainment.
I think if you are uncomfortable with how much your kid spend in front of a screen, you have to make the effort to offer alternatives. It's just part of their culture. Not a bad thing. But like most stuff...moderation is key.
post #9 of 46
I worry when my kids seem to be spending excess time with either TV or games because it seems like a way of zoning out. I don't feel like the answer is to directly limit the screen time, but to try to trouble shoot what is going on in the rest of their lives.
post #10 of 46
My DH is a gamer, so my kids have grown up around video games. We have many video game consoles, in a addition to computers and hand-held games.

I DO limit screen time because I've found that it makes our family life much happier. I know that in an ideal world, people will self-regulate. However, in my experience, self-regulation doesn't happen in a way that keeps everyone happy. ALL of us (DH and I included) get crabby if we spend too many hours in front of a screen. And once we get sucked in, it's hard to pull ourselves free.

This summer, that kids and I are home. We have screen-free mornings (including handheld games). At first it was tough for the kids, but they've adapted really well and come up with some really creative ways to enjoy their mornings. My kids are getting along MUCH better and there is less bickering between them when we don't have screens on 24/7.
post #11 of 46
As long as chores and schoolwork are done, I leave it up to the teen, how much he wants to play/whatever.
post #12 of 46
We have an only--an almost 10 DD (and we homeschool). She has played some games online. We don't have an iPod, Wii, XBox, etc. Our cell phone has the bare minimum package of minutes. My DH works for a high tech firm so it's a bit laughable, but we simplty can't handle all that stuff in our life. DD and I are high energy, spirited females and this stuff would be like crack to us. She is very active and always has the need to be "doing something". Mostly she plays outside a lot--climbing trees and so I encourage that, even when it is pouring raining and she's building dams out in the gutter. LOL She likes using the computer and has trouble setting limits for herself. So we do. So she's not allowed to have unlimited access to the computer. We feel there are more interesting, healthy activities that engage all the senses in 3D so we don't like our DD to be on the computer a lot. Recently we had to take her off the computer completely b/c we found out that she was communicating on msg boards (which we don't allow). It's been about a week and, after the first day, she hasn't complained about it at all. In fact, I can see her behavior has improved greatly! I think she gets strung-out when she has too much TV or computer time. I'm the same way.

Some families can handle all that high tech activity, but ours cannot. If it's working against your family (arguing, affecting closeness, he can't stop etc.) I would recommend reducing it. But every family has to make their own decision. It has been my experience that it's much easier to keep something from coming in than to get rid of it, so we don't even let it in. And keeping high tech stuff out of our home has made all the difference in the closeness of our family and our lifestyle.
post #13 of 46
I don't get the "no iPod" thing. It's primarily a way to listen to music. We got our kids iPods at the point when we wanted to get them little stereos for their rooms. After shopping around, we decided that iPods and iHomes made more sense than stereos.

And even though we don't limit screen time, my kids aren't on screens 24/7. Far from it.
post #14 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
I don't get the "no iPod" thing. It's primarily a way to listen to music. We got our kids iPods at the point when we wanted to get them little stereos for their rooms. After shopping around, we decided that iPods and iHomes made more sense than stereos.

And even though we don't limit screen time, my kids aren't on screens 24/7. Far from it.
DS will also watch video clips on it. He is the type once he starts reading he really loves it but if he has the ipod with him he'll start watching video clips until it is too late to read anymore. That is why I really do have to limit his use.
post #15 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
I don't get the "no iPod" thing.
If you're referring to my post then I'll explain our family's perspective. Some of our perspective comes from a lot of Waldorf-y experiences we had when DD was little--attending Waldorf homeschooling conferences, reading books, DD participating in Waldorf/nature "classes", etc. One of the first books in my parenting collection was Rahima Baldwin Dancy's "You are Your Child's First Teacher." I gleaned a lot of wisdom from her as well and a low-tech life fits perfectly for our family. We view our bedrooms as a quiet sanctuary so, for us, TVs, computers, stereos and other electronics/tech stuff aren't compatible in there. (I have used a portable CD player with bedtime music for when I would parent DD to sleep. Many times I would sing, though.)

We have a CD player in our family room that we all use, (as well as a DVD player, stero, etc) but use it at certain times. We don't like the TV/CD player on as background sound. We don't have an iPod in our family b/c we have no need for it. DD isn't interested in one either. She is our only child so that plays into our family dynamics as well. We're connected to each other a lot.

But this is just the way our family does life. For someone else, their situation might look totally different, but this works really well for us.
post #16 of 46
My current (summer) rule is:

You have to earn your electronics by reading first. I know, I know, it's not perfect, but it eliminated a lot of conflicts, especially with my 8 yo. He reads for an hour, then he can play for an hour. (Or if he reads for a 1/2 hour, then he can play for a 1/2 hour.)

During the school year, all homework gets done first.
post #17 of 46
We have a family TV, Wii and computer, the kids have their own nintendo DSs and 10 YO DS has an MP3 player. I don't have firm limits but I do have general guidelines, especially during the school year. The Nintendos are primarily for use in the car (long commute to school) and while waiting for sibling at activities. Schoolwork must be completed before any screen time. Everything gets turned off at meals and bedtime. Electronics can't interfere with getting to wherever we need to be. If the TV is starting to drive me nuts, its time to go do something else (OK, totally artitrary and "parent centered", but there are some shows I just hate the sound track to and I can only stand so much). No "solitary" electronics when there are friends over (so no TV during playdates, but the Wii is OK, for example.)

Beyond that, I don't limit the actual time they spend playing things. But by the time you add school, homework, activities and playtime with friends, we are down to a reasonable amount of electronic time anyway. During the summer I'm a bit more relaxed but they spend all day at daycamp, so there still isn't a large amount of time left.
post #18 of 46
We haven't really established very good limits and we struggle with that. We do no computer turns on Sunday just for the quietness of our home. That limit we have really liked because it is simple.

Our issues are usually related to turns on our family computer, with four children wanting turns. (We have a second computer but it is dh's work computer and is shared more occasionally.) We've tried a couple of ways to organize turns but none has been that great. Also, we use our computer as our "stereo" and it's in a perfect location for listening to music. That, however conflicts with computer games. We generally keep turns for the younger three within a couple hours' length, usually only once a day after other activities and basic clean-up. It's hard to fit it together, though. Often there is only time for one or two to get a turn per day so who goes first, who's next, who missed out today...

Our oldest gets a lot of computer time, but I get frustrated because she is not doing much else these days as far as interacting. We had to put a late night shut off for 11:00 PM on her user account when it became excessive.

One person will play, others sometimes watch. So there is a crowd at the computer quite often, sometimes with the person using it protesting to be left alone. My ds has asperger's, he will invade space, interrupt, and not leave someone be when asked while they are playing on computer. He'll sneak around behind and slip into the room repeatedly. He's the one who is actually the most conscientious about doing chores etc. before requesting computer time.

I am interested in what would happen without limits over time, but the turn-taking seems to set the most limitations anyway and that would still be the big question. Schedule? Or just keep winging it each day keeping it balanced among them and ourselves, but needing to be the source of permission at all times? IDK... All of that said it is not too much of a conflict these days for us.
post #19 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by NaturalMamma View Post
Some of our perspective comes from a lot of Waldorf-y experiences we had when DD was little-...... We view our bedrooms as a quiet sanctuary so, for us, TVs, computers, stereos and other electronics/tech stuff aren't compatible in there.
We were also very waldorfy when the kids were little so I know all that stuff, but as my kids have gotten older, they make their own choice.

Right now, your DD is still young. When you use personal plural pronouns like we and us, you are talking about living choices that were made before she had her own opinion. Over the next few years, she'll grow and change and her idea of the perfect home life will most likely change in some ways. She'll most likely become more independent in her thinking as well as her ability to care for herself.

That is really the point where all this stuff becomes an issue -- when there is a conflict between what you as the parent really think is ideal and what your adolescent wants. What works when your child is 9 is most likely not going to work when they are 12 or 13, because that "we" goes away.
post #20 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
We were also very waldorfy when the kids were little so I know all that stuff, but as my kids have gotten older, they make their own choice.
I guess most of that Waldorf-y lifestyle stuck in our home and has become a part of who DD is as an individual.
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