10 yo ds' new ipod touch creating problems - need help with limits - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 12-13-2010, 10:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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my son just got an ipod touch from a family member as an early xmas gift. Before that, our big xmas gift was going to be a wii with a couple of games. Now I'm looking at having to manage not one but TWO new game systems at once and i'm feeling overwhelmed.

 

We homeschool, mostly unschool, so I need help setting fair limits on the itouch without stepping all over his need to feel powerful and in charge of his new toy. Right now our coop classes have ended and we have very little on our official schedule so there's a lot of time available for touching his itouch. I have talked to him and expressed my concerns and said the following:

 

I would like him to be in the same room as me when he's using it -- he had some games on there that were for 12+, all of which were games where you hack the people you meet to bits. No blood, but still. enough already. I emailed him some different games and deleted the more gruesome ones, much to his displeasure. Not very respectful, more of a knee jerk reaction on my account, but what's done is done. I'm just not ready to lost my boy to a screen all the time and I figure if he's present in the room while he's gaming, he's still absorbing the environment and is still more a part of the family than he is when holed up in his room gaming.

 

Also, since it has internet access, I have concerns about where some of those clicks might lead. Doesn't seem to take many clicks these days to end up at some unsavory stuff not too 10 year old friendly.

 

I would like to limit his time on it to 1 hour per day. We have always limited "screen time" (dvds or computer games) to 1 hour. They would often go over, but I felt that if we bumped it up to 2 hours, we'd end up on there for 3 ya know? I would just rather be making an exception than have them plugged into a screen for 2 hours a day, which is 14 hours a week. Seems like a lot of time.

 

I offered for him to put an app on there that you set the timer and it tells you when your time is up and the parent has to enter a passcode to stop the alarm from ringing. Seems draconian, obnoxious and a whole host of other things that aren't my style, but frankly I'm tired of being naggy mommy and would like something like that to make it easier. He feels violated, that that limits him (ha!) and is adamantly opposed to it. So now what?

 

Have any of you grappled with this issue? How did you resolve it? Frankly I don't want him to have the darn thing, and I feel that the things I'm asking for are reasonable. How do I make myself comfortable with this, but also honor his need for autonomy and acknowledge that he's growing up?

 

Thanks for any advice.

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#2 of 14 Old 12-13-2010, 11:26 AM
 
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What kind of person gives a minor a handheld device with wireless internet access without consulting the parents??

 

Maybe, instead of making it about him being a kid, make it about manners for everyone.

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#3 of 14 Old 12-13-2010, 11:37 AM
 
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We have loads of gadgets.  I just tell my son that he may play for a certain amount of time.  When that time is up, I am right there to make sure the item is shut down.  It doesn't matter if it's the Nintendo DS, his laptop, my iPod Touch.  With any wireless device you can turn off the wireless in settings.  Is he savvy enough to figure out how to turn it back on? 

 

Honestly, I don't see the issue. I am mom. I am in charge. When I say time is up, it's up. On the other hand, I don't have a child that pushes issues like this. If he has an hour to play something, when the hour is up, he shuts it off himself.  He is also 10, soon to be 11.

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#4 of 14 Old 12-13-2010, 11:38 AM
 
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There are actually plenty of parental limits you can put on the Touch, similar to the ones you an apply to a child's account on a Mac using OSX.  

This article has good info:

http://knol.google.com/k/how-to-setup-parental-controls-on-iphone-ipod-touch-os-3-0-edition#

 

Including a technique for limiting browser access to safe sites.


savithny, 42 year old moderate mom to DS Primo (age 12) and DD Secunda (age 9).

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#5 of 14 Old 12-13-2010, 01:50 PM
 
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You know, I'd be tempted to do the following:

For the next week (or maybe 2), you can play as much as you like for as long as you like. You just have to stay in the room with me. Let him really get it out of his system. It's new, it's cool and he doesn't have a lot to do in the next couple of weeks. View it as a sort of 'vacation'. Then after 2 weeks (i.e. after Christmas), you're back to your regular schedule. He can use it for 60 minutes a day, and then he's done, just like with other screen time.

 

If he wants more time, I'd turn that into a learning occasion. For example, to get more time, he has to write you a persuasive letter detailing why it's OK to increase it more, and negotiating how much more screen time. The next week, he needs to do some research on the effects of media on kids and demonstrate that his extra screen time won't fry his brain. Then maybe write up a screen-time budget.... That way he'd be earning more time, but with something that's under his control. All of us have to do that. In fact, I'm posting right now because I just 'earned' 10 minutes of down time after reading 5 job applications. After the next 5, I'll give myself 10 more minutes...


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#6 of 14 Old 12-14-2010, 06:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think much of the problem with this stems from the fact that it is HIS, whereas any other screens at our house are family or parent owned. I'm trying not to step on his toes, as I'm looking at this as the first of many steps of independence as we head into his teen years.

 

His aunt is always pushing the envelope which is fine except that it often contradicts our family policies, if you will. She got us the wii the first year it came out, even though I had always said no video game systems until after he was 10. So it stayed at her house and didn't come home with us that year. We were down by her for her sister's funeral (my children's grandmother) so she took the kids so I could go to her deathbed for a little bit before they came to the house. In the 2 hours that she had them, she took them to dunkin donuts (we're gluten free vegans who don't eat chemical-laden or animal product food unless we must to be polite), sonic for onion rings, and the apple store to spend money she doesn't have on an inapproriate and completely unnecessary christmas gift, as she'd already bought the wii AND a game for each of them. And is not in a position to afford even that, never mind an ipod touch.

 

I had thought about something like the last suggestion, and basically did that since we were at my in-laws house for a week for my husband's mother's death, wake and funeral, as well as a few days to help his dad out cleaning up and writing thank you cards. Ds was on the ipod constantly. I refrained from saying anything because I needed to get these other things done, but I did occasionally ask him to get off and play with his sister who was getting bored entertaining herself. Now we're halfway through week 2, but we're home again. And he can't keep his hands off it. He keeps checking it, to check the weather, his mail, hsi battery, etc. It's like an addiction and I don't care for that. Maybe you're right that he just needs to get the "new toy" thing out of his sytem, but I see people all around me, adults mind you, that can't engage fully in a discussion without constantly checkign their blackberries.

 

Thanks for the opinions. I guess this is just one more example for me that we don't live in a black and white world. Gotta love the grey!  ;-)

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#7 of 14 Old 12-14-2010, 06:34 AM
 
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there are also gaming limits (ex T for teen, appropriate for anyone, adult only) you can put on it straight from the settings screen.  I have done that with both my boys since our house is wireless and they can access it freely.  It's interesting how it affects some (my ds1 and yours) and others, me, dd and dd2 use it for a couple hours for music or a book on tape and have no issues engaging with people if they are more entertaining.

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#8 of 14 Old 12-14-2010, 06:42 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mirlee View Post

Honestly, I don't see the issue. I am mom. I am in charge. When I say time is up, it's up.

I totally agree. nod.gif I think that he sees that you are wavering and uncomfortable stepping on his toes. So he's taking advantage of your indecsiveness. If I tell DD she has one hour, she has one hour then she shuts it off. Set a timer. If she doesn't do it on her own, I take it away for a day or two. Simple as that.


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#9 of 14 Old 12-14-2010, 06:46 AM
 
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My ds has had an iTouch for 2 years (thanks to dh who wants all the Apple toys and had no need for one, so ds got it).  He's 10 now and goes through phases of using it constantly and then not touching it at all except for music when he walks to the bus.  I think it's probably because it's so new and cool that he's a bit obsessive, I'm sure it will calm down soon.  

 

Just because it's "his" doesn't mean you can't set limits.  I'm pretty easy going with screen time and whatnot, but I don't care who paid for it, if it's in my house and I say it goes off, it goes off.  There was a point where ds was searching for things that I felt were inappropriate so I password locked it and he could only use it with permission.  

 

Silly but true story, Sunday night dh, ds and I were all on our iPhones and iTouch, playing the same game.  When one of us would get stuck on the level, we'd pass it on to another person who would try to beat it.  I made a crack about bizzaro world family time now consists of passing a phone to another person to try and kill pigs. (Angry Birds, try it, you will become obsessed!)  It was weird and fun all at the same time.

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#10 of 14 Old 12-14-2010, 07:19 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by siouxbee View Post

I think much of the problem with this stems from the fact that it is HIS, whereas any other screens at our house are family or parent owned. I'm trying not to step on his toes, as I'm looking at this as the first of many steps of independence as we head into his teen years.

 

His aunt is always pushing the envelope which is fine except that it often contradicts our family policies, if you will. She got us the wii the first year it came out, even though I had always said no video game systems until after he was 10. So it stayed at her house and didn't come home with us that year. We were down by her for her sister's funeral (my children's grandmother) so she took the kids so I could go to her deathbed for a little bit before they came to the house. In the 2 hours that she had them, she took them to dunkin donuts (we're gluten free vegans who don't eat chemical-laden or animal product food unless we must to be polite), sonic for onion rings, and the apple store to spend money she doesn't have on an inapproriate and completely unnecessary christmas gift, as she'd already bought the wii AND a game for each of them. She is 68, still works and her rent is paid by my husband's brother. Not someone in a position to spend 350 on a handheld for my 10 yo. Just to give you some perspective into the situation.

It is that important to her to wage war on your family policies??

 

It's too late now for the ipod touch, but I'd start refusing deliveries from her. Or opening stuff from her when the kids aren't around and donating the items immediately. If she complains, tell her off for being disrespectful.

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#11 of 14 Old 12-14-2010, 07:22 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamalisa View Post
Silly but true story, Sunday night dh, ds and I were all on our iPhones and iTouch, playing the same game.  When one of us would get stuck on the level, we'd pass it on to another person who would try to beat it.  I made a crack about bizzaro world family time now consists of passing a phone to another person to try and kill pigs. (Angry Birds, try it, you will become obsessed!)  It was weird and fun all at the same time.

ROTFLMAO.gifOMG, I thought we were the only family that did that with that game.

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#12 of 14 Old 12-14-2010, 10:30 AM
 
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My 9 year old has had an Itouch for a while and just like his Wii we sat down and agreed to "rules" pertaining there use. 

 

For the Itouch they were more along the lines of common courtesy (look up when some one talks to you, don't walk and play games at the same time), safety (no accessing the web/you-tube w/o our OK) and care (don't eat and use at the same time, keep in case, sync on a reg. basis). Oh and he does not have the Itunes password.  We approve all apps before downloading.

 

We do limit screen time during the school year to 60 minutes a day (this includes the itouch, computer use, Wii, TV/movies, etc).  The exception to the screen time is long/non routine car rides where he can use the itouch.  He recently go really into the kindle and nook apps, which on one hand is great but it can get expensive!

 

When he first got the itouch he devoted his entire 60 minutes to using the itouch.  However within a few weeks he was back to rotating between all the screens, with the Wii winning out the most frequently.

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#13 of 14 Old 12-14-2010, 01:20 PM
 
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I agree with a lot of what's been said. Limits. And be firm. Not a jerk about it...I mean of course you're going to explain your concerns in a thoughtful way (and you could even involve him in problem-solving that....I loved LynnS6's idea!) but when it comes right down to it, you set the limits. We're unschooly and free most of the time, but there are situations in which I say "I'm sorry honey, if I think you're doing something that will harm you or the family, I'm going to limit your freedom on that." And that's that. Not a lot of repeating myself, nagging, etc. I agree with someone previously who said that he may sense your lack of firm resolve and is pushing it. He needs to know it's not negotiable, but first YOU need to be sure. If you're anything like me, once you start thinking of yourself as an unschooler, you suddenly feel like you're betraying the idea when it comes time to set limits. It's not easy. I say, maybe adopting the label "eclectic" would help (it did with us!). For some things we are firm, but in other areas, crazily free. But our son needs to know that our answer is our answer, and we are the parents. We will listen to his arguments, and we may even change our minds if he makes a good point, but once the new, negotiated decision is reached (provided that we are BOTH happy with it....that is, it addresses our concerns for him AND allows him to feel respected and have as much freedom as possible within the agreed-on solution) then that's that.

 

Anyway I think every kid is different. While one kid will be able to handle the "get it out of his system" approach, another kid might be from a family where addiction is rampant, and therefore might be unable to handle that approach.

 

And WHAT is up with the relative not respecting your family's values?!!?  I'd be so ticked off! I have relatives that sometimes try that and I have to speak to them often.  :-)

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#14 of 14 Old 12-16-2010, 11:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the replies!  I was out of town for a few days (went to see Wintuk in NYC which was oodles of fun!) and I have to agree with much of what you guys have said. I think he is picking up on my lack of clarity on this one -- and I'm feeling much more on solid ground about it now. I do struggle feeling like a curmudgeonly unschooler when setting limits about screens especially, but when I strip the emotion from it as I do anything else I consider a no-brainer (say car seats or seat belts for example) it's much easier.

 

I have struggled with the family values thing for 10 years basically since I had him. Both our families weren't exactly supportive when it came to nursing, co-sleeping, not eating meat, etc and most have accepted it. But this one aunt has been a challenge throughout and has thus had probably more limited interactions with the kids. This was in fact the first time she had both of them and actually went somewhere with them without us along. And boy did this go well  ;-)   I don't mean to sound harsh and I'm actually fairly tolerant about it all, but this threw me for one heck of a loop -- I didn't see it coming and with all the emotional upheaval surrounding my mother in law's death, I guess it knocked me farther off balance than I'd care to be knocked.

 

He has angry birds, so I look forward to passing it back and forth as some of you do, and he just got pocket frogs and seems to be enjoying that. And has dealt with the fact that I deleted some of the 12+ games I felt were not necessary. And on we dance.

 

Thanks again so much for your help! It really did help bring me back from the brink to the land of reason!

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