Am I just totally mean? re video game limits - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 55 Old 01-16-2011, 08:05 AM
 
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 Your mean I'm mean. I'm a bit more flexiable with game time my rule is no Video or TV unless school related before "dark" if there is enough daylight I want her outside but then after that I'm okay with some screen time.. Computer and TV goes off at 8pm. SO this averages 1-2 hours of avaiable screen time per day WAY enough..

 If mommy or daddy has to argue you loose all screen time privledges for the next day.


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#32 of 55 Old 01-16-2011, 08:07 AM
 
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Taking away all video games? Doesn't that make the video games even more desirable? 

 

sure it can.. doesn't mean its still not best to step away for sometime.


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#33 of 55 Old 01-16-2011, 08:40 AM
 
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what about giving him a weekly budget and letting him choose when during the week to use it? I know for me, sometimes an hour at a time is just enough to whet my appetite and get into the "good part" and having to quit right then would be torture. For activities I really love, an hour goes by fast! What if he were allowed 7 hours a week, and see how he does self regulating within those 7 hours? Maybe he'd do 2 hours, 20 minutes, 3 days a week. Then there'd be 4 days every week with no video games at all. 

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#34 of 55 Old 01-16-2011, 09:00 AM
 
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video games are designed specifically to keep you coming back.. to get you addicted.  Everything from farmville to WoW.  I am sure the game in the OP is no different.  http://www.cracked.com/article_18461_5-creepy-ways-video-games-are-trying-to-get-you-addicted.html

 

I see nothing wrong with limited video games.  I also limit how often kiddo gets McDonalds, no matter how much she enjoys the fries and toys.

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#35 of 55 Old 01-16-2011, 09:46 AM
 
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I see nothing wrong with limited video games.  I also limit how often kiddo gets McDonalds, no matter how much she enjoys the fries and toys.

We also didn't limit McD's really. Well, finances did that often enough without my help I suppose.

 

 Some parents and families prefer to not have controlling or punitive rules, limits, or punishments in place. :)


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#36 of 55 Old 01-16-2011, 09:51 AM
 
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An entire hour a day? That's generous, in my book. My kids get 30 minutes each on Saturdays. You can tell your son the meanest mom is actually me.
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#37 of 55 Old 01-16-2011, 10:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by UnschoolnMa View Post

 

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I see nothing wrong with limited video games.  I also limit how often kiddo gets McDonalds, no matter how much she enjoys the fries and toys.

We also didn't limit McD's really. Well, finances did that often enough without my help I suppose.

 

 Some parents and families prefer to not have controlling or punitive rules, limits, or punishments in place. :)



I don't think setting limits equals being controlling.  For my kid, he needs limits when it comes to video games.  My younger son is much better at self-limiting.  I think it's more about each individual child than who's right or wrong about video games.  I really don't believe that allowing a child to play as much as they want teaches them anything other than that video games are fun and they can play however long they want.  I think teaching them that other people may want to use a game system and that they have other responsibilities is much more beneficial. 

 

But, that's just my opinion and what works for us.  If something else works for you and your family, great.  That doesn't mean those of us who do set limits are doing anything wrong.

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#38 of 55 Old 01-16-2011, 10:45 AM
 
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don't think setting limits equals being controlling.

I don't think you're alone in that. I tend to think it's best to involve/include the child's input and opinion in any limit setting that affects them.

 

 

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I think it's more about each individual child than who's right or wrong about video games

I would totally agree that different kids will respond better or be more comfortable with approaches that respect their personality.

 

 

 

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I really don't believe that allowing a child to play as much as they want teaches them anything other than that video games are fun and they can play however long they want.

I couldn't disagree more. My children learned many things from having open access to a game system. Also, I want to be clear that just because we didn't limit time spent or censor for content with blanket rules, we did help them. The access was open, but they weren't feral children all alone in how to navigate using the thing or how to moderate in a way that was healthy to themselves and respectful to the family overall. They had involved parents all the way. We talked often of concerns over content, the concerns parents have about video games, we asked them what they thought, we shared the signs of being overwhelmed by media, shared our own stories of needing to step away from something for a time, modeled good practices to the best of our ability, and asked questions. Parenting this way isn't a "toss em over to the wolves and it'll be cool." thing. It's rethinking the so called "rules" and figuring out the why and how in our lives.

 

 

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I think teaching them that other people may want to use a game system and that they have other responsibilities is much more beneficial.

Oh yes, we had many conversations about sharing time and space and materials.  And as soon as we were lucky enough we had two game systems so it was easier then. (Thanks Grandpa for the bday gift lol)   The other responsibilities? Never an issue. Our family didn't have chores in the traditional sense, but we all worked it out and then reworked it out again when our needs changed. I can't recall a time when media was an issue in that arena.

 

 

 

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If something else works for you and your family, great.  That doesn't mean those of us who do set limits are doing anything wrong.

So true! I hope no one has said such a thing. I think in many cases there is a quick jump to the defensive when the "we don't limit" crowd (me lol) shows up to the discussion. It's happened in this thread even. It's a free country blah blah blah. Makes for great discussion though, right? :)


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#39 of 55 Old 01-16-2011, 11:05 AM
 
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Originally Posted by UnschoolnMa View Post

 

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I see nothing wrong with limited video games.  I also limit how often kiddo gets McDonalds, no matter how much she enjoys the fries and toys.

We also didn't limit McD's really. Well, finances did that often enough without my help I suppose.

 

 Some parents and families prefer to not have controlling or punitive rules, limits, or punishments in place. :)


I don't think setting limits makes a parent controlling or limiting and I also don't think it means they use punishment.  I think it is ridiculous to paint the debate in such black and white terms when the world of parenting (and the emotions that come with living with family) is full of gray areas.   You can have conversations and be there as a sounding board for your children while also setting limits the few times you recognize your child struggling in the face of something that they are not ready to take on.  Kids are not little adults ready to handle everything and sometimes being a parent means talking them through the reasons why there needs to be a limit in place.  There have been a few things that I have limited because my dd is not ready to handle them, she turns very angry and sullen when she is normally a happy and outgoing person, even with me there talking her through them.  I do think that we need to be reflective and keep the lines of communication open even if we do encourage the limit, but I don't think that as parents our choices are limited to having a gentle limit free home or a punitive controlling home. 

 

I think that you may be seeing a limit as something that involves no buy in from the child and I don't think that is necessarily the way they are set up.  I can't imagine making a blanket statement about something without involving my dd in a conversation and getting her POV and buy in.  I don't think a limit works if you don't have your child's buy in because you get resentment instead.  I do think it is a limit though because I won't necessarily be making it sound like there is an upside to something that I see a need to limit because it influences her in such an intensely negative way (especially if the entire family is having to suffer through a negative environment when she has access to the thing that I would like her to accept limited access to and the stress of that and the arguments with the rest of the family is overwhelming me).

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#40 of 55 Old 01-16-2011, 11:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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 wow, op here hola.gif  i didn't realize this had fired back up!  i appreciate the dissenting opinions, i really do.  and sometimes i play devil's advocate with myself and ask what harm it is to just let him get it out of his system.  so for a little experiment, i haven't limited him at all this weekend.  and so i have stared at his back for about 8 hours each day, have had to pull him away to sleep and eat, he is up before everyone to play, this game honestly wakes him up!  seriously, there is no end to this game - it is literally neverending.  the way it's set up is that rooms/games are created by other users, by the minute, so there are constantly new rooms/games.  there is no winning, final level, any of that. 

 

i love to shop, i mean i could shop all day, but i am old enough to know that i just can't do that - kids would go hungry, laundry wouldn't get done, we would go broke, etc.  maybe some kids would, but he doesn't have the maturity yet to understand that if he plays a video game all.day.long.every.day that the rest of his life would suffer.  it really would - he wouldn't develop friendships, he wouldn't get his homework done (which would cause him great distress the next day when he realized it was unfinished), he literally wouldn't eat in order to play this game.  it's just not healthy, and i can see that and he can't.

 

i like that article treeoflife, and the part about it being less fun and more like a rash that needs to be scratched is so true.  he almost seems relieved when i shut it off for a day, because also like another poster said, an hour is just getting warmed up and it seems even meaner to limit it to an hour.  i like the idea of giving him a certain reasonable number of hours per week and letting him decide when to use them, but i'm almost certain he would use them all up the first day and then beg and plead for a few more...

 

lucyem, i don't exactly know how to address to sneaking more minutes thing.  when i have seen him doing it, i obviously tell him that's not ok, that we had an agreement and he's done.  but it also makes me feel like the hour thing isn't working - that it's just torturing him. 

 

i don't know, this has all affirmed to me that i need to set the limits and i appreciate the discussion.  i'm just not sure what the best/most reasonable/fair way to limit it is.

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#41 of 55 Old 01-16-2011, 12:00 PM
 
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i don't know, this has all affirmed to me that i need to set the limits and i appreciate the discussion.  i'm just not sure what the best/most reasonable/fair way to limit it is.


What amount of time would YOU be comfortable having your child play video games every day? Make that your limit. Easy-peasy.

 

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#42 of 55 Old 01-16-2011, 12:55 PM
 
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i'm just not sure what the best/most reasonable/fair way to limit it is.

Invite discussion with the wee ones based on the concerns at hand. Be really specific if you need to, but casual and conversational. "So about the video games... I think some limits are in order for our family and home  There are some things I am worried about with them, and I'd like to hear your thoughts on it too. We can all shape what this is going to be. So, how do we all go about this?"

 

Tweaked to your kids, their ages, the way you all talk, etc.


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#43 of 55 Old 01-16-2011, 01:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Dolphin View Post

 i don't know, this has all affirmed to me that i need to set the limits and i appreciate the discussion.  i'm just not sure what the best/most reasonable/fair way to limit it is.



ITA that you should get his input. Sit down with him & explain that spending tons of time on the game is not healthy and explain why.  ITA with the posters who likened it to junk food. See how he would like to approach it. Would he like certain days as game days? Probably doing an hour a day isn't working because he's just getting into it. So he could do it only on wknds or one day during the wk, something like that? Or the bank of hours/wk is another great idea. Just ask him. I think, especially in the long term, he'll be thankful for your understanding and your wanting to help him limit it & keep him healthy and interested and good at other things.


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#44 of 55 Old 01-16-2011, 03:46 PM
 
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One thing that helps, with the limit-setting, is if we as parents lay down reasonable limits for our OWN screen time. My kids see that I limit myself to a certain amount of time on the computer a day, and that I stick to it most of the time, and it makes it into less of a "punishment" and more of a "how we do things in our family." It's the same with junk food, TV, and all sorts of other things that are things best done in moderation. I don't have the SAME limits as my kids, but I do have limits I've set for myself, and they know that and see that.

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#45 of 55 Old 01-16-2011, 06:43 PM
 
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I see nothing wrong with limited video games.  I also limit how often kiddo gets McDonalds, no matter how much she enjoys the fries and toys.

We also didn't limit McD's really. Well, finances did that often enough without my help I suppose.

 

 Some parents and families prefer to not have controlling or punitive rules, limits, or punishments in place. :)



I am not controlling, I don't have punitive rules, and I don't dole out punishments for the sake of being the big person.  However, yes.  I do in fact have limits.  Some children aren't going to be able to work within the context of how your family has.  If my mom let me determine how often I could have McDonalds and only discussed with me the risks, shared her concerns, and modeled good practices... I would have had Mcdonalds as often as she could afford it.  I'd be in a much worse position than I am now because as it stands, I suffer from food addiction/overeating.  I can quite literally eat McDonalds every day without getting sick of it and even when I feel symptoms of eating crap every day.... I struggle to STOP myself from going back for more.  So yes, my child has limits in place for unhealthy things.  I won't watch her turn into me while I do nothing to help guide her into healthier practices.

 

Some people simply CAN'T step back and all the concerned words, shared stories, and trying to work together in the world won't stop them from continuing on with something that simply is not healthy.  Addiction and long lasting unhealthy behavior doesn't happen because someone was bored one day and was too stupid to stop.  Limitations for children don't have to be controlling or come with unnecessary punishments and your assumption that those of us who DO have limits must also be controlling and punitive and implying that limitations are bad is very narrow minded.  Sometimes, parents DO know what is best for their children and what is best might mean being the mean parent who puts limits in place on things the kids would otherwise do/have way too much of with no ability to regulate.

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#46 of 55 Old 01-17-2011, 12:11 AM
 
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OK, didn't read all the posts, sorry. 

 

I don't think you are mean.  We have a rule that if you wine and cry about something like a game, then you lose it for a day.  DS got so bad that he would be playing gameboy while going to the bathroom, pee not poo.  Well, poo too, but he couldn't put it down.  I didn't regulate at that time and when it got to the point that he would rather miss meals than put it down, we took it from him.  I explained that I couldn't allow him to become that addicted to a game so we had to put it up for a while.  After about 6 months we brought it back out and he started the same behaviors, so we took it again, for another 6 months.  Now, he regulates himself just fine.

 

I honestly believe that some children become addicted and obsessed with screen type activities and need time to mature, time to outgrow that obsession and then they can begin to self regulate.  For DS maturity is what he needed before allowing him free access to any activity. 

 

AND yes, I have had to take books away from him when he started refusing to come to dinner without the book in his hand.  He refused to make his bed, or even take a shower because he was really INTO his book.  I have had to take his bike away because he refused to come in when it was dark.  Mind you, as he matured he learned to self regulate, but it took that maturity, until then I had to set limits on his activities.  Usually those rules were not arbitrary, like 1 hour.  But based on other things going on.  You can't throw a fit about putting down your activity when it is time to do chores, go to school, do homework, eat meals, or take care of hygiene.  If it interferes with any of those, the activity gets removed for a time (usually a day and if a tantrum insues, then a few days).

 

I guess I'm mean too.


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#47 of 55 Old 01-17-2011, 09:27 AM
 
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Some people simply CAN'T step back and all the concerned words, shared stories, and trying to work together in the world won't stop them from continuing on with something that simply is not healthy.

This is very true. But this situation? This behavior you're describing here? I think it's very different than the situation where most parents are limiting. I think the situation you're talking about: where someone can't seem to stop to eat, sleep at all, drink, use the bathroom, misses work, misses a class, misses showering or changing clothes or brushing teeth, etc. is the exception. It's what is feared might happen, and it's what leads to the limiting. I also think it's pretty rare in this severity.

 

More often I think what we have are people that game a lot. A lot more than others even. People who prefer to play video games to going out, watching movies, or hiking (trying for random activity xyz here lol) The amount of time they spend playing the games makes other people uncomfortable because it isn't what they'd do. And when you add it to all the back and forth there has been in the news and etc about the addictive nature of games, how bad the content is and so on I think it's easy to get panicked. I mean I know people who knit for 10 hours a day, but it's rare people get all twitchy about that. kwim?

 

During many discussions over the years as soon as the conversation turns to parenting and people hear how we did or didn't do things I get a handful of questions each time. One of them is "So, you'd never step in and stop them from doing anything no matter what?! What if it was heroin? What if they were starving themselves?!" And so on. I sought and still seek to have a mindful relationship with my kids. Mindful means aware and honest, both about what is actually happening and responses to it. I don't believe that someone who is addicted to heroin is making decisions from a healthy, clear mind or heart and I would intervene because it would be the most mindful, kind thing to do. If my child wasn't ever eating or sleeping and was slipping into sickness due to gaming he couldn't control? I would intervene for the same reasons.

 

Sometimes I think we panic early. I include myself in that category too. redface.gif

 


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#48 of 55 Old 01-17-2011, 01:32 PM
 
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Without really getting into the debate, I did want to add my experience.

 

My oldest (it has become clear) is really susceptible to the addictive qualities of screen (all types).  We've done a lot of different things, and I don't know that what we do now is perfect, but it's working for our situation right now.

 

We don't want to eliminate screen time entirely.  It seems impractical to us in the modern world.  He learns a lot from some of the games he plays and programming he watches.  Both his parents do large portions of their work and play on-screen, someday he may have to.  But he cannot (truly, CANNOT) self-regulate his screen usage.  It interferes with every part of his life, and with every part of our family life if we don't place limits.

 

What we eventually did was reach clarity within ourselves about what we were willing to allow, and then had a family meeting (which we don't do often) to identify the problem and find solutions.  Going in, I knew that I would be okay with up to 14 hours/wk of screen time TOTAL for him.  We explored the problem from each persons' perspective, and brainstormed solutions.  No solution could exceed 14 hours/wk.  We ended up with 30 minutes of watching a cartoon (less problematical for him, more ritualized) before bed each night, plus 2 "screen days" per week (he can do whatever allowed screen he wants all day as long as he cooperates with eating, bathroom, etc. and does any other 'required' activities for the day like grocery shopping or whatever - usually this works out to about 5 hours/day).  For him, spreading the allowed time out over the week doesn't work because then he gets mad at the limitations every day.  This way, we have 2 'withdrawal' days each week, which still can suck.  But he doesn't have unrealistic expectations about what we will allow or not allow, and we don't have unrealistic expectations that he will regulate something he can't.  We're open to changing this arrangement if needed, but we're leaving it alone for right now due to some other issues that are more pressing.


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#49 of 55 Old 01-17-2011, 09:56 PM
 
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I completely disagree with the last few posts. I know many full grown adults that are outright addicted to video games. They play whenever the can, every day, for hours and hours to the detriment of their families, jobs, and health. Go to the Parents as Partners forum and search for the term "WOW Widow," for instance (World of Warcraft). If so may adults have a problem self regulating than how can we expect every child to pop out of the womb with the self control to regulate in a healthy way? Video gaming can be addictive for certain people, no question. Not for all, but for some. I think it is absolutely right to teach your son healthy limits if you sense that he is having a problem setting limits for himself.

I think that certain activities can be used to escape from reality in an unhealthy way, and it is my job as a parent to help guide my children through that. Example: when I was a kid I had a huge love of books. I read All. The. Time. It was great: books held my interest, taught me all sorts of things, and reading was a socially acceptable "good" thing to do. And I LOVED to read. I still do.
But when I look back I used my books as a HUGE crutch, and I let reading get in the way of my life in many ways. I spent so many hours a day reading as a way of avoiding real life. I was shy at school... I read a book instead of making friends. Felt nervous at a gathering of people... I didn't learn to socialize, I just read a book. Family reunions... I was off in a corner with a book instead of playing with my cousins whom I really love to be with. I needed 10 hours of sleep a night.... I was perpetually tired because I would sneak a flashlight in bed and read for three hours (probably disturbing my sister's sleep, too).

I was quite literally unable to self regulate my reading in a healthy way. My parents were glad I loved to read and didn't want to set limits on something I obviously enjoyed so much and that was so healthy (though they did ask me to quit reading at night. I just got better at smuggling in flashlights). I really, really, really wish they or another adult had helped me learn to set limits at a young age. greensad.gif (Though of course I do not blame them at all, they thought they were helping me the best way they could). I am in my 30's, and lord help me whenever I get in a crowd situation I STILL want to grab a book and run for a bedroom. I still put my reading before homework, housework, necessary projects. i've actually had to ask my husband to help me self regulate because I can't trust myself not to dive into a book and spend the entire day reading away my responsibilities! Pretty sad. But thanks to my husbands support (and a lot of wok on my part) I'm in a more balanced place.

I really wish I'd had help with limits when I was young. It probably would have made a lot of difference in my life.

Yes, this. Some child can self-regulate about some things; some can't. I was exactly the same way with reading and I still remember a meeting we had in elementary school with the school nurse, my teacher, and my mom. ---> No more reading on the playground. I was crushed but I did learn to play basketball. Actually, I spent a lot time writing nasty thoughts in my little notebook and then gave in.
 

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#50 of 55 Old 01-18-2011, 06:42 PM
 
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Really helpful. Thanks all. We just got a Wii and DD threw a fit when I restricted her so she went without any Wii for 3 days. She was good about it and helped her younger brother without playing herself. DH enforces me not accepting any whining - easier for him than me.


WOHM (Formerly SAHM) - 2 cuties, 1 old man and a few animals
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#51 of 55 Old 01-19-2011, 05:57 AM
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My kids get screen time tickets. They get 7 each week that can be cashed in for a half hour of screen time. They can use them however they like. We have so much less conflict now than when it was specifically a half hour a day of screen time. They usually play an hour or hour and a half on the first day, then half an hour or an hour every day or two until they run out. They get to be in charge. We also watch a family movie once a week that doesn't cost tickets, and occasionally allow free educational computer time.

I think kids need limits. 

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#52 of 55 Old 01-20-2011, 10:40 AM
 
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I totally agree.  My niece, a computer tech guru, happens to be a WOW widow at 24.  My son, who is her cousin and knows NO moderation went to her house, her fiance let him use their XBox.  Now, he has one of his own that he cut grass to purchase himself.  Not like he's never played.  He went to their house, started playing at 4pm and was still playing at 6am.  They thought for certain he'd get tired and go to bed like his brother does. Nope, 14 hours straight and was still playing. They were finally able to understand why we force him to go outside because he has no limits!  His brother, on the other hand, would put the Xbox away and choose to go outside.  So we have to enforce 1hr screen time during the week.  About once a month sometimes twice, we let them just go on as long as they like on a Saturday night.  

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#53 of 55 Old 01-26-2011, 06:47 AM
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I am enjoying learning everyone's approach and opinion on "Screen time."  I just wanted to contribute: during one of my nursing rotations I facilitated parent-child counseling on  diet and health for over-weight children, and we counseled on limiting screen time to 2 hours / day.  I am not sure where this magic number came up, but as a mother of a 5.5 year old who loves computers, I see this as reasonable. I appreciate the comment that "addictions" can be crutches: we counseled a 9 year old to not read so much (right?) because he was using it to avoid recess and exercise. LOL!  I also agree that teaching a child about self-regulation (limit-setting) is a golden rule; just how to do that, I am learning as I go, and would like to hear that discussion amongst parents too.  Bests!


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#54 of 55 Old 02-14-2011, 07:06 PM
 
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Wow, what a great discussion.  I've got a 10-year-old stepson and a 39-year-old husband who BOTH have addiction issues with the screen.  When I met my husband, five years ago, he had just started playing World of Warcraft.  I didn't know much about it, didn't worry about it.  He wanted me to play as well, so that we could share it...and I appreciated the fact that he wanted to do something he enjoyed with me, so I got involved.  I just didn't feel the same draw to it, and would be SO over it after an hour (or less).  Then, my stepson got involved in WoW, and the involvement, for both of them, just grew and grew.  We tried limits, we tried all kinds of different schedules and things.  They never worked.  It had become a terrible issue in our marriage, and even though I have never believed in ultimatums, I was really, really close this past fall to saying something like, "Either WoW or me: choose."  I wrote my husband a long letter about it one night (while he was, once again, avoiding coming to bed so he could finish his three-hour raid), and that night, after we fought again and he read my letter, he closed his account, deleted his characters, and he has not gone back.  I know that was in November, sometime.  I never did resort to an ultimatum, but he knew I was just a step away from it.  Our lives improved immeasurably since he quit WoW.  Even though we didn't make my stepson stop playing, now he hardly ever logs on, since his dad doesn't play anymore.  I feel like I got my husband back.

 

I wish that was the end of the story -- at Christmas, we got an XBox 360 and now both boys (my husband and my stepson) are in love with this war game that drives me nuts.  It is not as addictive as WoW, but I hate it when they play it and my baby girls (ages 2 and 1) are in the room.  And my stepson would play for hours and hours on end if I put no limits on it. 

 

I am still torn about how to limit it, though.  My husband is no help, because he sees nothing wrong with losing oneself in such games -- so whatever limits are there are limits that I put there.  Ah, the bad step-mother!  How I love that role! 

 

We don't have cable or satellite, and any *TV* we watch is from Netflix.  I don't like commercials, so this works out pretty well.  I used to read a lot of unschooling philosophy, some of which suggests that placing limits makes the limited item that much more desirable -- but I just don't buy it as it pertains to video games.  I like what many posters here have said about that working for some personalities but not others.  Some people self-regulate; some need more guidance in that area. 

 

Once the weather improves, I fully intend to send my stepson and my daughters outside more often, which should provide a good alternative to screen time.

 

It's a serious issue.  I have a nephew who is 19 and who has never been limited...he doesn't do anything but play games (world of warcraft), has no interest in getting a job or going to school, or moving out of his parents' house and he is surly and unsociable to everyone.  That's what I was starting to see in my husband, and my stepson:  when they weren't playing or couldn't play, they snapped at everyone and acted like they just wouldn't be content until they could bury themselves in the game again. 

 

I just wanted to weigh in.  My opinion: kids absolutely need limits.  Husbands, too.

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#55 of 55 Old 02-15-2011, 11:16 AM
 
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An hour a day is a LOT!  Especially for a kid who goes to school.  He should be thankful for a whole hour =) 

 

My oldest also behaves like an electronics addict (video games or tv all day long at dad's house).  I give her 15 minutes once or twice a week here.  I shut off the computer when time is up. 

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