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Television, computer, and video games, oh my

post #1 of 80
Thread Starter 

I'm constantly at odds with my 5 yr old son daily about the t.v. and the computer and recently he's increasingly verbal about wanting a video gaming system for his birthday.  I don't like any of these, especially for use on a daily basis. I know I'm being hypocritical about the computer as obviously I'm using it now but I do use it sparingly and I think make good use of the time I spend with it. I am really against video games of any kind, even non violent, educational types, for children. I don't want to get on my soap box about my opinions about these things but I would love ideas about how to handle this with my son. I admit I am so tempted to go dictator and ban him from it all. I'm afraid that will have the forbidden fruit effect. I want to give him some freedom to make the right choices with them because that seems more practical to me, I can't hide him away from a society that has to have internet connections on their cell phones and apps to get the weather or leave a tip.

 

The problem is, he is addicted, alraedy, it is sad and worrisome. The second he comes through the front door he turns on the tv or asks to use the computer.I will give him a time limit on the computer but he wont get off. It's all he wants to do, it IS all he talks about tv shows and computer games.  It is what he acts out in his play.  I don't know how to or if I should give some choices with him being so hooked. The other thing is he's an only child and I'm sure if he had siblings to play with he wouldn't be quite so quick to turn the to screen for entertainment but there isn't anything I can do about that. I'm not even sure how to talk to him about this. He asked me the other day why I hate television. Sigh. I told him I don't hate it, but they show a lot of things like fighting that are against my values and it's mainly used to sell people things that they don't need. I kind of lied to him, while I don't hate it, I did sugarcoat my feelings a bit.

 

Do I forbid it? Do I lighten up? Do I give him more choices? I just don't know. Any thoughts or advice?

post #2 of 80

I think your 5 year old is perfectly normal. He wants to play video games something he probably talks about at school with other kids etc. From what you have said, I think you are going slightly overboard with the No TV, video game rule. You need to give your child different options.

 

What I mean by this is balance things out. After school get him to join a sports club, an after school club, take him out to play etc. Give your child different things to do. All too often parents complain about video games, TV etc but then parents need to make the effort to engage with their child in different activities. 

 

When your child is physically tired they won't be playing video games all the time. I sit down and build lego with my son's, challenge them to build things, get their minds to be creative etc. 

 

Hope this helps. 

 

Jessica 

 

 

 

post #3 of 80

i always think the best thing to do is to have your kid work with you to develop a plan.  it's MUCH easier to stick to and you typically don't have to try to enforce something if the kid helped write the "rules."  can you explain your concerns and ask him to help you think of good limits?  show him or read to him the screen times that are suggested for his age group:

Children over the age of 2 — including into the teen years — should spend no more than two hours a day in front of a screen. (American Academy of Pediatrics)  that means total screen time.. video games plus tv plus computer...

see if you can make that work for you, and let him decide when the best times, or when he wants to watch will be. 

also, offer options.  go outside or to the park consistently every other day, or when you can do so.  maybe have a schedule for weekends?  establishing a rhythm might help, too.. such as on saturday, we go to the farmer's market, then the library together, then go home and eat lunch and read, etc. 

do you already know there's a TV free forum here on mdc?  you might get some ideas there, too.

<3

post #4 of 80
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the tip, I did not know there was a tv free forum here, I will definately be checking it out. I really like the idea of bringing him into the decision making and structuring our days more. I just have to work on that. wink1.gif   We do a lot of things together especially card games and board games and puzzles. Last summer I was trapped in CandyLand misery, honestly I never knew I could grow to dislike Candy Land so much. I do need to think of more things for us to do and it's hard with him having no one at home to play with and especially during the summer. Where we leave it is too hot and humid to play outside during the day, we have about one good hour in the evening before the mosquitos come out in full force.

post #5 of 80

you must live where I live! 

post #6 of 80

I would be the parent and place limitations on them. If he doesn't follow your rules then you limit him even more. Give him other activities to do. Take him to the park, outdoors for walks and doing other things, play board games or outdoor games, play in the dirt! My son was always outdoors at that age getting dirty. He still does at the age of 15, lol. I would definitely start placing strict limitations on technology while your child is still this young or it may get out of hand later.

post #7 of 80

He doesn't need a sibling to have a play mate, YOU play with him. He will be so excited he'll forget all about TV. I highly recommend "Playful Parenting" by Lawrence Cohen. 

 

Also, you said it in your post, but you are being hypocritical. Maybe just relax a little bit. If you have a healthy attitude toward technology your kids will pick up on it eventually.

post #8 of 80

i am agree with all

post #9 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy68 View Post

I would be the parent and place limitations on them. If he doesn't follow your rules then you limit him even more. Give him other activities to do. Take him to the park, outdoors for walks and doing other things, play board games or outdoor games, play in the dirt! My son was always outdoors at that age getting dirty. He still does at the age of 15, lol. I would definitely start placing strict limitations on technology while your child is still this young or it may get out of hand later.



you know this is the Gentle Discipline forum, right?  i'm not sure how "placing strict limitations" and "if he doesn't follow the rules then you limit even more" is gentle or helpful exactly.  can you elaborate on how you "enforce" your "strict limitations?"

post #10 of 80
We limit screen time and have found they find things to do. they play outside.They build things. they create art projects. I do at times have to gear how unfair life is however it is worth it to see how creative the have become
post #11 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by hildare View Post
you know this is the Gentle Discipline forum, right?  i'm not sure how "placing strict limitations" and "if he doesn't follow the rules then you limit even more" is gentle or helpful exactly.  can you elaborate on how you "enforce" your "strict limitations?"


 

I agree. The phrase "I would be the parent" also really rubs me the wrong way. What else would you be? The family dog? 

post #12 of 80

I suggest putting a time limit on how much he can play then getting him out to do other things.  My dd and I love to read together, sit and talk, walk to coffee shops, go to the library, run in the sprinklers at the park, attend the various activities going on around town, etc...  If you don't enjoy playing kid games there are still many other things you can do with your child to make limiting tv possible.  If you have a YMCA in your area then I also suggest looking into getting a membership, at least for the summer.  They offer scholarships if you can't afford their full price.  Our city pools offer summer passes at half price this time of year so you may want to see if yours do the same. 

 

If you find that limiting the game does nothing for your son's attitude and behavior then I would ban it all together.  My dd was very very very negative after watching the Wizards of Waverly show and I did eventually ban it outright.  We had many discussions about her attitude after watching it, my feelings on the show, and my increasing desire to ban it so it really didn't come as a surprise when I did.  I still allow other shows because most don't affect her like that, but the few that do I am willing to ban for a few years so she has time to mature a bit before she watches them again.  Gentle Discipline doesn't mean that you don't have absolute limits on some things, it means that the limits are thoughtful and take the child's feelings and well being into account.

post #13 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by hildare View Post





you know this is the Gentle Discipline forum, right?  i'm not sure how "placing strict limitations" and "if he doesn't follow the rules then you limit even more" is gentle or helpful exactly.  can you elaborate on how you "enforce" your "strict limitations?"

what is wrong with strict limits on screen time?  How is that NOT gentle?  It's more gentle to let a child get addicted to that kind of thing?

 

We absolutely cut back on screen time here if I feel like my DS is getting too  'into' it.  And yes if there is whining/obsessive talk I limit it even more.  It's simply not healthy for a child to become obsessed with gaming/TV at the age of FIVE.  My God how is this being debated?
 

 

post #14 of 80

We moved house when my son was 4.5, a serious Discovery Kids addict.  The TV we had was the landlord's and a loaner.  When we got to the new house we had no TV.  Strangely he did not really miss it and spent much more time outside. 

 

Maybe you could just go on vacation and pretend you got broken into and someone stole it and hide it away upstairs. 

 

We don't discuss video gaming systems in our house.  I do not like them.  I find them a  total time suck and unimaginative.  I made it clear that he may play them when at his friends' houses if they have them but over my dead body will one ever enter my house.  He has a better chance of getting a cat than a Wii, and we are devoted dog-people.

 

For the computer, we just have one, so we have to share and since I do a large part of my marking via e-mail this significantly limits his use.  Mostly we use it to watch movies together.

 

When we got a TV again, we decided to use the set timer for programs, he can choose two 30 minute shows a day, he has to program them, and when they are finished he must agree to share the Tv with everyone else or he is taken off TV privileges until he can learn to share with a happier attitude. (ETA: that goes for everyone in the house btw, except for the baby who doesn't give a rat's patootey about TV, even when I wish she would so I could just do one more exam script, or if there is a special sports event or movie on.)

 

That's what works for us.

post #15 of 80

Hildare...here is how I enforce TV limitations:  I unplug the TV and put it under my bed, or lock it in my room.  I bought it.  I pay the cable bills.  I control the use of it.  I am fair and I expect him to be and if he can't...bang goes his right to share it. 

post #16 of 80


I agree with this assessment.  According to dictionary.com, to discipline means "to train by instruction" or "to bring to a state of order and obedience by training and control." 

 

I'm going to stop here and preface that this is my own personal opinion, and mine alone, so I do realize and respect that other people feel differently.  But here goes...

 

In my observations, far too many people take "gentle discipline" to mean letting their kids have free-reign and full control over everything.  While that may work in many households, I disagree.  Gentle refers to the manner you approach your kids, without violence, harshness, aggression, harming them.  But discipline is different from punishment.  Punishing a child is a negative act.  But discipline is about training a child up by instruction.  Discipline, from gentle discipline, involves guiding, directing, and shaping a child.  There have to be limits for healthy growth.  We all have a glutinous side, we all have things we adore.  But we know that we can't gorge on chocolate cake or we'll get fat, get heart disease, and not be healthy.  So we enjoy it in moderation.  But we weren't born knowing that; we had to learn.  We also know that we can't walk in the middle of traffic; we had to learn.  To discipline - in my opinion - is to guide and direct your child.  I can't imagine people actually debating allowing a child unlimited access to screens; we know that they are unhealthy for us outside of moderate amounts, and most especially on a young developing brain.  I can't fathom allowing my kids to have unlimited time at the screen.  And I am personally bothered by someone insinuating that I am less of a "gentle" parent for guiding and directing - or disciplining - my children through limits to something harmful to themselves.  Setting limits is not punishing a child; it is directing them.  And I agree with Mommy68 that setting limits is very healthy and very necessary to help train up a child.

 

Like I said, these are my opinions and are mine alone, so I can respect that someone else feels differently.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy68 View Post

I would be the parent and place limitations on them. If he doesn't follow your rules then you limit him even more. Give him other activities to do. Take him to the park, outdoors for walks and doing other things, play board games or outdoor games, play in the dirt! My son was always outdoors at that age getting dirty. He still does at the age of 15, lol. I would definitely start placing strict limitations on technology while your child is still this young or it may get out of hand later.



 

post #17 of 80

Did a moderator really just use the phrase "train up a child?" Am I the only one who just had a heart attack over that? Yikes!

 

Hakeber, If YOU bought a television and YOU are paying cable bills then maybe you should re-evaluate how much you dislike television. 

 

Also, go on vacation and tell them someone stole your TV? So, I guess the message we want to send is that it's alright to lie to get your way? If you think kids don't pick up on that, you're wrong. 

 

A thought on learning to enjoy things in moderation... I used to eat a piece of chocolate every day. DD discovered that she liked chocolate and wanted to have it all the time. I was obviously not OK with that, I told her that she can have one bite a day just like me. That was not enough for her, she asked for it about 10 times a day. So I said, since you can't do it in moderation maybe we better not have chocolate. But I didn't hide it in the cupboard and tell her we didn't have any, I stopped eating chocolate. If you are going to ban your kids from watching TV, playing video games and being on the computer then you better be prepared to give it up yourself otherwise you are just a big fat hypocrite. 

 

If they can't handle having limits on something, and you feel that they are truly addicted and it is having a negative affect on their well-being, then by all means get rid of the offending activity but don't puss out and lie about it. Also be prepared to put in the extra time entertaining your kids were they were previously entertained by other things. If you want the results, you've got to do the work.

 

post #18 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by holothuroidea View Post

Did a moderator really just use the phrase "train up a child?" Am I the only one who just had a heart attack over that? Yikes!

 

Hakeber, If YOU bought a television and YOU are paying cable bills then maybe you should re-evaluate how much you dislike television. 

 

Also, go on vacation and tell them someone stole your TV? So, I guess the message we want to send is that it's alright to lie to get your way? If you think kids don't pick up on that, you're wrong. 

 

A thought on learning to enjoy things in moderation... I used to eat a piece of chocolate every day. DD discovered that she liked chocolate and wanted to have it all the time. I was obviously not OK with that, I told her that she can have one bite a day just like me. That was not enough for her, she asked for it about 10 times a day. So I said, since you can't do it in moderation maybe we better not have chocolate. But I didn't hide it in the cupboard and tell her we didn't have any, I stopped eating chocolate. If you are going to ban your kids from watching TV, playing video games and being on the computer then you better be prepared to give it up yourself otherwise you are just a big fat hypocrite. 

 

If they can't handle having limits on something, and you feel that they are truly addicted and it is having a negative affect on their well-being, then by all means get rid of the offending activity but don't puss out and lie about it. Also be prepared to put in the extra time entertaining your kids were they were previously entertained by other things. If you want the results, you've got to do the work.

 


So everyone in the house should stop watching TV b/c one person is having problems with it?  That's fine I guess if you want it that way but totally unnecessary, IMO.  

 

DH and I are the bosses here.  We do our best to make the best ADULT decisions to keep everyone healthy.  that involves limits for the kids on TV.  DH and I don't have problems limiting our TV.  So we still have access to it.

 

post #19 of 80

look, you guys are talking about limiting TV and video games like this kid is a teenager and everybody is talking about "being the parent" and "making the adult decisions." This kid is FIVE, he is only watching TV/being at the computer/ playing video games because the ADULTS around him are. If you want your FIVE year old to stop watching TV, then stop watching TV yourself, get off your bum and play with your kid.

post #20 of 80

http://www.mothering.com/community/wiki/gentle-discipline-forum-guidelines

 

Just wanted to be sure everyone has read the community guidelines for the forum "gentle discipline."  Thanks!  thumb.gif

 

 

 

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