5-7yo: how much computer time? - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: How much computer time & do you limit it?
no screen time for kids 1 20.00%
small amounts (10 min/day), limited by parent 3 60.00%
medium amounts (1 hour/day), limited by parent 3 60.00%
free access by child, medium or small amounts 3 60.00%
free access by child, large amounts 5 100.00%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 5. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 of 11 Old 06-23-2008, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How much computer time do you allow your young children? Do you limit or let them self regulate? Do you see a difference between computer and tv? My ds is 6 & will sometimes spend hours on starfall or other sites playing educational games. He doesn't have computer time every day. It's pretty variable, I don't know how to average it? He regulates okay but on a rainy day like today it can be literally 3 or 4 hours a day.

What do you think?
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#2 of 11 Old 06-23-2008, 01:25 PM
 
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I voted child regulated, medium to small amounts. Sometimes we have days where they are on for hours, but not usually. I guess I do regulate them a bit, but not much. More like asking them to get basic daily needs first like grooming, eating breakfast, making sure the living room is clean. And we have safety rules, like not clicking on new sites without my go ahead. etc.

But we lean towards unschooling, so my opinion may not be the usual one. ;-)

Shelley, mom to dd 5/19/01, ds 9/06/02, and ds 4/01/07.  Lost babe 4/09

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#3 of 11 Old 06-23-2008, 01:28 PM
 
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I think life is about being able to find balance. (Disclamer, we are not tv-free).

If your child is active, and does other things regularly, and also spends hours outside, and reads, and plays with toys, and plays with other kids, and enjoys crafts, and has hobbies - then I wouldn't worry about 3 hours of starfall on a rainy day.

I would worry about 3-4 hours on a pc at that age on a daily basis. That wouldn't sound like a balanced life for a 5 year old.

My philosophy though, if it's not broken - don't fix it. So if you feel that your child's life is balanced overall, and he/she is involved in other things on a regular basis, I wouldn't worry about it.

New endeavor coming soon...
Raising Alice in Wonderland (DSD, 17), and in love with a Superman
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#4 of 11 Old 06-23-2008, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Maybe I make it sound too intermittent. We live in rural new hampshire. This can go on for 4-5 months of snowy weather.

Let me put it this way. If my child was spending as much time as he spends on the computer, sitting in front of a television, I would feel uncomfortable.

Is anyone else in the same boat? Do you differentiate between computer screen and tv screen w/ regard to setting limits?
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#5 of 11 Old 06-24-2008, 02:40 PM
 
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My ds1 and dd use the computer as part of their schoolwork, so they each log about half an hour a day with that. I also let them play on websites that I've checked out for 15-30 minutes.

Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
13yo ds   10yo dd  8yo ds and 6yo ds and 1yo ds  
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#6 of 11 Old 06-24-2008, 02:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gentlemango View Post
Maybe I make it sound too intermittent. We live in rural new hampshire. This can go on for 4-5 months of snowy weather.

Let me put it this way. If my child was spending as much time as he spends on the computer, sitting in front of a television, I would feel uncomfortable.

Is anyone else in the same boat? Do you differentiate between computer screen and tv screen w/ regard to setting limits?



We do differentiate between TV and computer, but we also differentiate between what site/program they're using on the computer.



We were giving them each an hour turn, but that got unwieldy, so we made it 1/2 hours at a time. We set a timer, too. When the buzzer goes off ... that's it ... either hit "save" at that moment or expect Ima (me) to CTRL+ALT+DEL within moments. Take no prisoners.



The question is what they're doing on it. If they're just playing Chicken Invaders or some such, well, fuggedaboudit, no mercy. You're off at the buzzer.

But if they're doing something educational ... starfall.com, multiplication.com and the like, then the 1/2 hour is flexible.

If they're doing something vaguely not a waste of time yet not actually educational (clubpenguin or webkins) then at the buzzer they have to get off ... though I won't boot 'em out of it, I will stand behind them and kvetch till they get off. Which is usually momentarily. (Am a master-kvetcher. )





It's different than TV. They do actually have to use their brains sometimes, with a 'puter.

Sometimes.




I have to say, though, the fighting over the computer was just unbelievable till we started using the buzzer/timer. It was just constant and at a fever pitch. The timer has bought us some slight calm.




Oh, yeah, and we do have a rule that homework gets extra time. My 10yo does occasionally use it for homework.
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#7 of 11 Old 06-29-2008, 04:43 PM
 
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How does your child react to the computer? One of my big concerns with TV is it can produce really unhealthy, unhappy behavior, where, when overindulged in, one can see one's child becoming grumpier, fidgetier when not watching, obsessed about watching, with eye strain and back strain and generally just not healthy. That can happen with the computer, too -- it's happened to me with the computer, and the worse I'm feeling starting out, the worse that session online is likely to make me feel -- but it doesn't necessarily. So are you just worried about the number of hours? Is your child maintaining interest in things other than the computer? Is the computer engaging and activating his interest and intellect? Or do you see negative effects?

That's what I would base my response to you on.
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#8 of 11 Old 06-29-2008, 05:30 PM
 
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It depends on the day and what we are doing out of the house. dd 6 will often play for an hour in the morning and then again in the afternoon or evening. ds2 just figured out how to use the computer and is enjoying his new skills. He will either watch sis or play on his own.

I balance this with physicaly play and book reading as well as crafts. I feel okay about their use.

The websites and games they play are commercial free and generally educational. I loved seeing ds figure out how to play a memory card game all on his own

Mom of a 7 yr old, 4 yr old, and 1 yr old. Wow. How did that happen?
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#9 of 11 Old 07-05-2008, 02:28 PM
 
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I personally see computers as useful but TV not. You can do alot on a computer which is "real".

Also, as a computer person to think DS won't be on one is hard to imagine. DH makes his living on one.

To me it depends on what they are doing.
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#10 of 11 Old 07-07-2008, 07:59 PM
 
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we're at the free access by child, medium or small amounts stage..

our computer is in a corner by my girl's room and they (ages three and seven) are welcome to use it whenever it's free. I love seeing them look up dinosaurs and fleas and New Zealand and Land Before Time and Swimming and so on...


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#11 of 11 Old 07-12-2008, 12:26 PM
 
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DD (10 yrs.) is allowed to venture on the computer.
We homeschool so it is a tool that I feel she really benefits from.

For play (and I do limit which sites to visit, No disney, nickeloden (sp?) ect.) she is allowed a up to 3 hours a week. If she wants to spend all 3 hours in one sitting, then thats it for the week.

As far as school, we use it when we need it. Some days none at all, some days an hour here or there.

DS now, we are struggling with him. He is 3 and I don't want him on the computer at all but sometimes I allow it. I feel a little bad allowing DD to but make him stay away. So if he wants to sit and watch her while shes "playing" on it, then he can. Sometimes they will find something to do together (usually look at picture in our desk top photo album).
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