I was wondering what other parents of teens and pre-teens do about their children's access and time on screen devices. When our oldest children were pre-teens, the internet was new and we had dial up service and they were limited to 15 minutes a day online each.
With our youngest child, things are much different. She has her own lap top (pretty much a necessity for kids in Accelerated Programs) but she also has: A tablet (which my mother bought her without asking me) an iPod that connects to the internet and last week we all got Smart Phones.
Last school year, despite usually being a good student our youngest DD, Sage's grades began to drop. As I have said in other posts, she has Tourette Syndrome and Aspergers (despite honest genius level Intelligence) and her Tourette Symptoms had gotten so bad that she was regularly pulling muscles and was diagnosed with a chronic pain disorder, at 12! She also had a lot of choir commitments and was in the school play and had given up on doing homework. Luckily we have a system in our school where the parents can check their child's grades day by day and we caught it early. We got three of her teachers to help with the deficits (one reason was actually not knowing some of the concepts being taught in Algebra because she had missed a lot of school because of the chronic pain) but we also noticed a LOT of time she was spending online. We cut back her screen time, and I made up a contract where she had to sign in and out of each device and limit it to no more than one hour a day, after homework was done. If homework required the internet (which it often does) then we would account for that. I then found that she was going online on her iPod, so I took possession of that until the end of the semester, a period of about a month.
So far this year, it seems she has learned from past experience and is not using the tablet at all, and is doing her homework as soon as she gets home. In our Accelerated Program (our schools interpretation of A Gifted Program) home work may take several hours a day and as she is a perfectionist it takes her longer.
We have limits on the time online, a contract with sing in & out times and taking possession of the device if things deteriorate.
I was wondering what other families are doing with the near omnipresence of devices which connect to the internet.