Son wants to move his xbox to his room and I am unsure of what to do.
Does he own the console? Is he the only one who uses it? Does he have a TV in his room already? Does he use the TV and Xbox responsibly?
In that case I'd be somewhat reluctantly okay with it. His stuff, his bedroom, his life, his mistakes to make. I admit I'm not a big fan of technology (or really anything other than reading or resting) in the bedroom. Thankfully our bedrooms are too small, don't own any gaming consoles and only have one TV, so it hasn't come up for us. But I guess I'd probably allow it on condition that it didn't provoke irresponsible use, nor interfere with family relationships.
How do you feel about it? Has their been any conflict with it? Is it already it's own unit meaning you won't have to go out and buy a new screen for it?
We only have one TV with an old forgotten Wii attached. However, both my kids have laptops and a phone that they keep in their rooms. There was a period of time were my eldest was not being responsible with her technology (very late night texting and computer use, not getting work done and unable to wake in the mornings.... not responding to discussion on the matter.) During that period, we required she leave all her stuff in our room each night. Once that phase passed we lifted the night time ban and it's been fine ever since.
If you decide to go with it, just set your expectations up front. If you don't want him on it at 3 in the morning, make sure you verbalize it and that he knows before hand that you have the right to remove it if need be.
My 3 teenage sons, the youngest of whom is 14, would all like to have TVs, computers and gaming systems in their bedrooms.
This is not meant to judge other moms reading this who think differently than me, but I don't find this appropriate. Here's my reasoning:
I already feel that we (my husband and I) struggle to find balance between letting them be the "normal" kids they want to be (i.e., play video games like - and with - their friends; and spend time on social media); and letting them spend so much time on-screen that they neglect other free-time activities that are important for their development and lose the ability to entertain themselves without electronics. Having TVs, computers and gaming in their bedrooms harms this balance by making it easier for them to isolate themselves; spend too much time on these things; and do a better job of hiding from their parents anything inappropriate or dangerous they might do online.
We don't limit their screen time to nearly what we think it ought to be. But they don't have access to the stuff past bedtime on school nights; or before homework is done; and if they're going to be on-screen it must be in a public area, where a brother might wander by and chat with them about the game, or ask to play with them; or where a passing parent can catch a glimpse of what they're doing. If they want periods of privacy and isolation, that's OK - but they have to make the effort to find something else to do, with that time.
I hardly think this struggle for balance is unique to my kids. I think it exists, on some level, for every kid with exposure to the internet, video games and pop culture. I have friends who go to the extreme of not letting their kids have any internet access or video games at home...and those kids are starved for what they consider "normalcy" (based on what they see/hear from school friends). They have zero impulse control, when given the slightest chance to do what's forbidden at home. I envision them skipping classes in college and hunkering in their dorm rooms playing Assassins' Creed. I don't think I can teach my boys to manage the temptation of electronic entertainment, by forbidding it.
But I don't want the opposite extreme, either. I'm not convinced that it's the kid's life, his stuff, his time, let him do what he wants and make his own mistakes. Sometimes that's true. If he steals his best friend's girlfriend, that's "his own mistake". I have no choice but to let him make it, suffer the consequences and learn. But there is also value in kids learning habits through being expected to conform to their parents' expectations and certain aspects of their family's lifestyle. What's the use of the wisdom parents gain through life experience - and the fact that teens still live with their parents - if the kids make all their own decisions, as if they were already living independently?
When they're still too immature to live on their own, I think it's still OK to parent them.
In our home - which is blended - this has had an unanticipated, annoying - but probably beneficial - side effect. Our teens all put mental effort into figuring out whether they can play their divorced parents against each other, to get what they want. My twins are allowed to do some things on electronics at their dad's, that I don't allow. My 14-y-o step-son (who lives with us) enlists his mom to circumvent us at every turn. He couldn't have his phone after bedtime on school nights? Mom sent him an iPod Touch, so he could text. He can't have a TV and gaming system in his room? She bought him a gaming laptop. We made him leave it downstairs on school nights? She bought him a PS-3 with a "carrying case" that secretly turned out to have a screen and speakers inside, converting it into a gaming laptop.
Again - this is annoying! But it makes my husband and me think - again and again - about our rules, so they're not impulsive or arbitrary. It prompts us to discuss them with our kids, so they know there are reasons behind them. And our kids are doing some valuable problem-solving and negotiating, whether we like the subject matter, or not!
I don't have terribly strong opinions of what other families do, but for my household and my children, it wouldn't work.
Vocal minority spelled it out well, but the added factor, for me, is that
*I* have trouble enforcing our already lax rules about screen time. And if I don't see him spending hour after hour playing, then I'm less likely to put an end to it.
I think video games are different now than when I was a kid. My shy son is interacting with peers- talking about how to make a game, what the rules should be, what happens to a player who doesn't follow the self made rules, etc. (Minecraft) All the sort of things I did in the vacant lot and in the woods as a child. But his peers in our neighborhood aren't allowed in the woods unsupervised! This playing of video games does have some merit besides down time.
However, it is so easy to neglect the real world in favor of the minecraft world and that is my concern with a kid tucked away.
Added- my oldest is 13 and is possibly addicted to minecraft. We struggle with balance on a daily basis for him. For my other kids (girls) the strive for balance is much easier.
I'm not convinced that it's the kid's life, his stuff, his time, let him do what he wants and make his own mistakes. Sometimes that's true. If he steals his best friend's girlfriend, that's "his own mistake". I have no choice but to let him make it, suffer the consequences and learn. But there is also value in kids learning habits through being expected to conform to their parents' expectations and certain aspects of their family's lifestyle.
I think your situation is quite different from mine in that you've got other parenting influences beyond your control, and apparently undermining your values, and you have kids who are already demonstrating a tendency towards irresponsible use of their tech toys. So it's understandable that you would respond differently to such a request than I would.
However, I disagree with you that kids learn habits through being expected to conform to their parents' expectations. At least I think conforming to parental rules does not work at all for some kids, and for many it's a much slower, less efficient way to learn good habits. It also runs the risk of having it all go to pot once the parental expectations drop away (when kids go off to college or move out on their own to work) -- when the stakes are higher. I think that what kids learn best from are their parents' values, and their own experiences with taking responsibility -- even (or especially) if those experiences result in some mis-steps. When those mistakes happen in an environment that is underpinned by parental values and supported in growing and learning, I think that's good parenting and it's a good way for kids to learn to set and commit to the habits and expectations they hold for themselves.
I already feel that we (my husband and I) struggle to find balance between letting them be the "normal" kids they want to be (i.e., play video games like - and with - their friends; and spend time on social media); and letting them spend so much time on-screen that they neglect other free-time activities that are important for their development and lose the ability to entertain themselves without electronics.
I can totally see how it would be difficult with a blended family and kids who have a track record of working parents against each other. Of course you'd need blanket rules and a firmer hand. Makes total sense! Our home is not so complicated. DH and I are the only parenting factors and we are on the same page. The kids don't come home to an empty house (I work part-time during school hours.) Limiting screen time has not been an issue because frankly, our kids are barely home. They are in school, they often spend 10 to 20 hours a week on rather intense interest-based activities. They have friends that they spend physical time with and then of course family time. We bought our first and only gaming system in 2010 and the last 3 years, it's not been turned on more than a dozen times. They just aren't drawn to it. My 13-year-old loves minecraft but it's a social game for him and he doesn't see any point in playing unless his friends are on the server which just doesn't happen more than a few hours a week (and usually that's on weekends.) We had some issues when DD was 13.5 to 14.5 and that is when we pulled the tech out of her room until she could regain her self-control. In that case, there were multiple issues that fostered her need to "plug-in" and escape. Once we addressed those exterior issues her NEED disappeared and she started policing herself. I'm sure my DS 13 will go through some stuff and maybe we'll have to pull his tech for a time too but at the moment, it's not an issue. My kids keep their doors open at night which makes it pretty easy to randomly swing by and note that they are passed out and the phone and computer are still across the room charging on the desk. At most, I'll find DD 17 snoring over her paper white Kindle. So, while I understand perfectly your reasons for taking the measures you do, I don't believe this is a one-size-fits-all situation. I don't like the notion that teenagers are inherently untrustworthy. Yes, they can go through rough periods and you have to step in and help them through it. That's different from the notion that they are programmed to lie and deceive and we have to cut-off all potential problems before they happen.
For my kids, there room is a place to go for quiet. They can relax in there, read, etc. I think that would be ruined if they had a TV, gaming system, computer, etc. in their room. We have an xbox. It's in the living room where everyone can enjoy it.
We did that for a while and I was helpful. We talked as a family about what would be reasonable time restrictions and the kids made the [very sensible!] rules. However, we have poor internet access and have settled on doing downloads overnight, so we had to get rid of the Family Service-Interrupt Policy.
My son has had a TV in his room, along with a gaming console, since he was about 14 (he is now 18). Our restrictions have really been about the games he is allowed to have. He has only ever played sports related video games: Madden, NBA, etc. He does not own minecraft, Grand theft or anything like that. He has worked for the past three years, has his money, and still doesn't buy them. If his grades dropped, the TV, etc. came out of the room and took a time out in the garage. We only had to remove them once. He likes to play the games, and we do worry that next year at college he will become the kid always in his room playing video games. However, he still spends the majority of his free time in the kitchen cooking (he loves to cook) or the family room with us.