correlation between screen time and violent outbursts? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 04-04-2013, 12:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Has anyone noticed a correlation between screen time and tantrums?  (violent outburst is probably a little extreme...  but I'm talking about my 7 year old, so its not just a tantrum, yanno?).  I thought it was just holidays -- lack of sleep, excitement, crap food, etc...  but easter was sunday and we kept it to a minimum...back to normal since monday...only difference being my grandmother is in town this week so we've visited every my mothers...where the wii is.  So they're probably playing an hour or so of wii a day, and i usually only allow screens on weekends...  It's only really the 7 year old who is affected, but he's the only one who is screen obsessed so he's also the only one who is playing it the whole time...  


I cannot eliminate screens entirely -- my husband would mutiny.  He thinks i'm way too restrictive as it is...


(This is really driving me crazy, because I would like to cut down on weekend screen time and let them watch for an hour before dinner every long as their chores are done.  (yes, as a bribe to get their chores done...but, at least here...its win-win.  They work for it, plus it lets me make a healthier dinner)  But not if im going to make ds(7) worse... I guess i just have to try and see?

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#2 of 8 Old 04-05-2013, 02:02 AM
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Yes. We have two kids, they get 20 minutes each. The other watches, so that is really 40 min per day. Plus all they want weekend mornings. Mostly Minecraft here. One is 6, the other is 8. If they play for an hour or two on a weekend morning, then we have breakfast and then we do something, it is easy to get them into a different activity. If we let them play after breakfast as well, up until noon, then I really want to get them off, but then they whine and complain and have a fit. It's like overload and they can't stop. 

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#3 of 8 Old 04-05-2013, 06:33 AM
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I have noticed this with my 11 year old son.  But it all depends.  And he doesn't have violent outbursts or tantrums.  He just gets grumpy and argumentative.  When he was younger, I noticed a correlation between screen time (regardless of type) and grumpiness.  But now they don't really watch TV (they watch some Saturday morning on Netflix, we have a movie night Friday night) but he does play computer games or play on his ipod.  When he was playing those mulitplayer games- like Dark Orbit, he would get really frustrated and grumpy and it would carry over into his day.  We discussed it with him and cut his time down.  When the grumpiness continued, we would point out how miserable he seemed to feel when he played MMOG (is that what they're called?  Massive Multiplayer online games?) type games but we wouldn't enforce a total ban.  FINALLY he was able to put two and two together and he quit these mmogs altogether. Now he plays games, but they don't seem to make him so argumentative and frustrated... probably because they don't draw you in as much and require such a time investment.  We have a Wii and Xbox and Kinnect for the Xbox but really no one plays it all that often, even though we have no official restrictions for TV.  Honestly, I don't like the sound of the television during the day so it's mainly off for that reason- because I don't watch it. 

My son used to have tons of trouble regulating his screen time.  My daughters do not.  They voluntarily get off the computer or TV, my son I usually have to give him fair warning that he needs to wrap up.  I wonder if it is a boy/girl thing?  Hm. 

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#4 of 8 Old 04-05-2013, 02:41 PM
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I haven't noticed it so much with screen time, but with DD I definitely notice it with sugar. DS can handle sweets, but DD gets so out of sorts if she has too many sweets.

With screen time, though, we've started using tech tickets, and it's been working really well. Each kid gets 14 tech tickets at the beginning of the week, and each one is good for 30 minutes of TV, computer, or video game time (so it works out to an average of 1 hour per day).

They can use as many as they want, but when they're gone for the week, they're gone and they get no more screen time until the next weekend. They figured out really quickly to regulate how many they use each day so they wouldn't run out.

If they have any tickets left at the end of the week, I pay them 50 cents per ticket. DS tends to purposely save a few tickets because he'd rather get a little money.

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#5 of 8 Old 04-26-2013, 04:30 PM
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Yes.  For certain things like Warcraft 3 and World of Warcraft.  We homeschool and I thought I was being nice letting my 5 year old play for a bit before we start.  Bad idea.  He would get really mad and irrational and not focus.  So we cut out those games and he can play after school.  I was a bit lax on that rule when we were starting up after March break and it reminded me why he can't play before school.  


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#6 of 8 Old 04-27-2013, 12:22 PM
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Yes, my 5yo son can't play computer games anymore at my house.  Even educational games like those at cool math games . com.  It just makes him crazy and screamy.  It does something to him.  I tried limiting it to 30 minutes and only after homework was done, and it does motivate him as a reward, but getting him to quit is scary.  He would flip out to such a degree it scared me.  It's like seeing a drug addiction.  So I said 'no more'.  If the game was a person making my son feel and act like that, would I let them continue to have access to my son?  I even asked my son if the computer game was a person that made him feel like that, would he want to be friends with them?  DS said no, and I think he understands why I cut him off from games, even if he whines about it sometimes. 

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#7 of 8 Old 04-27-2013, 07:23 PM
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My seven year old is more prone to meltdowns when he doesn't get screen time. I've never noticed any correlation, in either direction, with his older siblings.


I have witnessed what you're talking about with a few other kids I've known, though.

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#8 of 8 Old 04-27-2013, 08:18 PM
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I know when my 6 yo gets too much screen time her behavior tanks big time. She can't self-regulate it in a healthy way at all so we really have to limit it or she would do nothing but watch cartoons or play on an iPhone or something all day.

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