Limits on Media/Computer/Gaming - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 11-24-2008, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
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I wonder if all you wise ones can share with me what limits (if any) your family has on TV, computer and video games? What are the ages of your children?
I'm curious about time limits, content, how you came up with the limits and do the adults in the house follow the same rules?
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#2 of 12 Old 11-24-2008, 11:36 AM
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My daughter is almost 16 and our son is 2 1/2.

When my daughter was in Junior High, so 13-14, we had a limited multi-media rule for her from Monday thru Thursday (school nights). The rule was no video games, computer or phone during the week with the t.v. going off when we went to bed, which is usually between 9:00 and 9:30. The t.v. stayed off for her until she got her homework done.

We implemented these rules because she was having a hard time concentrating on her schoolwork and it seemed to help a little. At least she didn't have the excuse that she was wrapped up in her MySpace or IM, etc.

Now that she is in high school, it's a little different. If her grades are kept up, then she has all of her freedoms. As soon as her grades drop below Cs, then all of her social activities are taken away...this includes, phone & computer. Same rule applies to video games & t.v. Both go off when we go to bed.

With our 2 1/2 year old, it's all about regulating the amount of shows that he watches. He gets to watch about an hour and a half a day on the days that he is at home. We have TIVO, so they are mostly prerecordings of shows that he likes, such as, Little Einsteins & Winnie The Pooh.

We always try to have a period in the day that we go outside to walk or play and we always try to have a period in the day that we play music...he really likes the Beattles!
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#3 of 12 Old 11-24-2008, 12:02 PM
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The biggest limit we have is by design.

We have 1 Tv and 1 computer - for 5 people. It makes its own limits and works like a charm!!

I do not limit screen time - as I do not have to - our equipment does it for us.

I do talk about priorities - family time, outings, eating, sleeping, hygeine, visiting with friends, learning activities - all of these should (and usually do) come before screen time.

I am also very pro-active in creating an environement where friends come over. There are a lot of reasons for this - but a nice side effect is friends are excellent at getting my kids off the screen of their choice and onto other activities.

As per content: Based on ages, there are things they are not allowed to watch now (although I am fairly liberal). There are a few things they are not allowed to watch ever in this house because I will not have them in my house. I regularly talk about how when we watch a show - we are actually voting for it, and giving it money - and there are a few things I refuse to support.

DS, DH, and I do not watch stuff that will frighten or upset the younger kids in their prescence. The news is included in this.

Yes, we have similar rules for adults and kids.

DC - 6, almost 10, almost 13
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#4 of 12 Old 11-24-2008, 08:58 PM
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My b/g twins will turn 14 in December. They have Xbox (live), wii, nintendos…basically every game system except ps. I set no limits because it’s not necessary. Both kids are in school during the day, then have homework, bring in very good grades, and are involved in time consuming extracurricular activities (ds's on a swim team, and swims 5 x a week and has drum lessons, dd has vocal and dance classes and practices during the week when not in class). Whatever spare time they have can be used as they please…socializing with friends, playing video games, watching tv, playing on the computer, reading, working on hobbies, or whatever.

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#5 of 12 Old 11-25-2008, 09:16 AM
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My oldest is 13 and we have no limits. He does do one site very often throughout the day that I can put parental control on and so I have a set time limit on it. Other than that, he doesn't really watch a whole lot of t.v. and rarely plays video games. In fact, I don't remember the last time he picked up his handheld. The PS on the livingroom t.v. has been collecting dust for many years now. My kids all stay busy with other stuff usually.

46-year-old single (divorced), self-employed working, home schooling, mommy to:

19 y-o
12 y-o (private school)
5 y-o (home schooled)
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#6 of 12 Old 11-25-2008, 10:39 AM
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We have some limits by design like a pp said - 7 people, etc.

Life comes first then tech stuff. I don't follow the same limits; mdc is my real life.

Ds1 is more able to self monitor so he has those priv. dd1 needs more help and reminding to do what she finds distasteful irl (like chores or showers ). The littles need more help because they are little. I do help them find age appropriate things to do for the most part. My 3 yo won't sit and watch tv or videos except for the Simpsons which is not really age appropriate so she plays on starfall or gamegoo. Life as a 4th or 5th child is different from being first.

We recently got our first game system and they all need more help regulating so I set up 30 minutes turns and if they watch more than one turn it counts as their turn. It takes 3.5 hours for everyone to take a turn and we just don't have that much time in a day for video games so this is where limits by design come into play.

I am good at non-answers.

You don’t owe them an explanation, just a response.
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#7 of 12 Old 11-25-2008, 08:02 PM
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I try to focus on other stuff lie their ntersts/activites/academics. My dd will escaspe in screen an antire day. I try to limit about 2 hourws a day. It ahs been much more at times. I do not not watch TV or movies. We had no TV until 2004.
It is a balance in mho. Salliee
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#8 of 12 Old 11-25-2008, 08:14 PM
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My kids' ages are in my siggy. We have gaming systems, multiple computers, and multiple TVs. I don't set any limits, neither of my boys overdo any of them. They spend just as much time "zoned" in front of the TV either watching movies/shows or gaming as they do running around the neighborhood or spending time with the family.

We also don't restrict content (short of porn). Rated R movies don't phase me, they don't hurt my kids, so they can watch those and play the "violent" video games too - they won't create killers out of my kids.

If it got to where they were spending too much time on their systems, I suppose I would have to set a limit. As it is, they're both great students and physically fit, so I'm not fixing what isn't broken.

SANDRA, 41 year old VERY laid-back mama to VERY free range kids Brett (16), Justus (11), Autumn (4), and Ayla (1)... four perfect NCB's! :::
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#9 of 12 Old 11-25-2008, 09:04 PM
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This is kind of funny but I re-read the topic when it came to my inbox and I thought some more about it. The media I most have to limit is books. They are only allowed to check ot as many library books as they can carry themselves and honestly think they can read in a week. Also, they will not go to sleep with a book unfinished. I am constantly finding them reading at all hours of the night and then they obviously struggle in the morning. It is not electronic medie but media in general that I need to be aware of. We don't have tv beyond rabbit ears (and that is only for a few more weeks) and I am always on-line so they can't be....

You don’t owe them an explanation, just a response.
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#10 of 12 Old 11-25-2008, 10:35 PM
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I do not impose restrictions on my kids. My ds is 15 and he is the gamer. I do however have strong feelings about the violence and de-sensitization with some video games. I share those feelings with my ds. We talk about some of the violent scenarios that come up in the games (which is sometimes very hard for me). I don't berate or shame, I just share how it makes me feel and what I think about how just watching and interacting with games can desensitize.

My view is that he is going to be exposed to these things anyway, what better place than in his own home with loved ones around that can discuss and debate with him?

Mom to DD born 1989 DS born 1993 and grandma to
DGS born 2005
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#11 of 12 Old 11-25-2008, 11:21 PM
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Our kids are 12 and 10.

We limit "screen time"; we limit book-time to a lesser extent.

DH watches the morning news and the kids may glance at it during breakfast. They may also read a book or newspaper during breakfast.

During the week:
After school, they do their homework & practice music. If their homework involves needing the computer (writing a report, or practicing some maths online) then they can access for 45 minutes to an hour. Other than that, they can read books or play w/ non-electronic stuff. They may listen to CDs on their CD players in their rooms.

They may not read at the supper table unless it's special treat or they are eating by themselves (e.g. DH at t'ai ch'i practice, DS and I ate already & DD comes home late because of hockey practice).

They can watch the evening news w/ us and sometimes if there is a good show on TV (usually a nature program) they can watch before bed.

We usually let them read in bed until about 9 or 9:30 but then turn off the lights, because they have to wake up early for school and need their sleep for good health.

On the weekends - We allow them to watch a DVD in the morning while DH and I sleep in past 7am. They usually get some screen time (either computer or DVD or TV) in the afternoons - especially if the weather is bad. We let them play Runescape and watch some things like "Avatar the air bender" (or whatever it's called) on the computer.

We do not subscribe to Disney or Cartoon network. We do have Discovery Science, Animal Planet, etc. We do not have an Xbox, Xcube, PSP, Wii, or other electronic games. However, DH does have some games on his "Palm" and DD has a few games on her phone, but we try and limit those.

When "Project Runway" was on during Saturday nights, w let them watch it with us.

We have 2 lap-tops and 1 TV - but the kids prefer the newer lap-top.
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#12 of 12 Old 11-27-2008, 06:04 AM
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My kids still at home are 14, 14 and 10. We do not permit any screen or electronics time during the school week. This means no computer games, no TV, no PS2 or Wii, etc. They can use the computer for schoolwork and e-mail as necessary. They don't have access to IM, MySpace or Facebook at all.

On Fridays through Sundays, I don't put limits on electronics, provided they get all their schoolwork done. I might get a little twitchy if they've been in front of a screen for hours but I might not.

I found that when I allowed electronics during the week, the kids were less likely to want to participate in extra-curriculars. Now that screen time isn't a weekly option, they are excited about joining in clubs (son is in Latin club, improv and the satire newspaper; daughter is in an honors club, plus volleyball; other daughter is in drama club and gymnastics).

It works for us.
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