How much technology (iPad, TV, etc.) do you allow for your 5-ish-yo? - Mothering Forums

How much technology (iPad, TV, etc.) do you allow for your 5-ish-yo?

JordanKX's Avatar JordanKX (TS)
06:04 PM Liked: 470
#1 of 14
08-23-2014 | Posts: 772
Joined: May 2009
I am a Single-Mom, with only one child, computer geek, so we have technology in the house. Yes. And I'm asking here BECAUSE I know this forum might have some very different opinions on technology usage... and I'm genuinely asking.

I allow my 5yr DS 30 minutes a day of iPad. He has a point system, activity = reward. And two points gets the iPad, and two of those points could be brushing teeth and taking a bath. So, pretty much every day he gets 30minutes of iPad time before bed, his choice whether it's games or Netflix.

But, we also watch movies together on the weekends. And certainly Saturday is a morning of Netlix or PBS Kids. Could be 4hrs of the TV on - and he's playing legos and doing other things, but it's on - while I'm cleaning and just being home. Plus his 30minutes of iPad time.
Oh, and iPad/iPhone in the car while running errands, or while he's sitting in the lobby while I'm getting my hair done. And we travel a lot, so the iPad/DVD is 90% his world in the car.

It starts to add up.

Netflix is Kids Only (even though their definition of Kids Appropriate is different than mine, so I prefer PBS Kids or Amazon prime, which is largely PBS shows); and iPad games are educational: puzzles, mazes, some character learning shows like Team Umizoomi RaceTrack.

And No Gaming units in the house (no XBox, Wii - although that could be Fun at some point, movement, yes? I'm uninformed about gaming sets).

I try to be cognizant that just because I'm glued to my laptop, he shouldn't be. I'm Trying to limit his electronic usage (and man, he does love to just throw balls in the backyard!, and we go to the lake/river every weekend). But I still wonder...

What do you do at home?
newmamalizzy's Avatar newmamalizzy
08:38 PM Liked: 540
#2 of 14
08-23-2014 | Posts: 1,653
Joined: Jul 2010
My DD is 4.5. My ideal for her is no more than 1 hr of screen time in a day, but we have been creeping to a regular 2 hours as I'm 35 weeks pregnant and just can't get up the gumption to make her stop Her screen time is generally all shows (primarily PBS kids stuff). Occasionally she'll ask to play games on "the gadget," and I'll generally allow that for about 20 additional minutes in the day. She'll also occasionally watch the Barnes and Noble online storytime videos for 20 minutes or so in addition to her regular TV time. Other than that, we generally don't do electronics in the car except for on long car trips - and we tend to parse that out in little bits throughout the trip. I'm always amazed by how well she can amuse herself in the car - usually without any toys or books or anything at all, and I think that's good for her. I guess that's my general feeling on the matter - I want to be sure that the screen time we're doing isn't getting in the way of her doing other things or being able to create her own entertainment. As it is, she thinks that rest=TV. I'm not cool with that association, and I'd really like to try to introduce her to other concepts of resting. I'm hearing something similar in your post. It sounds like you're fine with the regular allotted screen time, but then it sounds like he's using technology to assuage boredom whenever he doesn't have the option of doing kid-stuff, like during errands and in the car. Maybe it's become a bit of a crutch for those times?
KSLaura's Avatar KSLaura
09:21 AM Liked: 227
#3 of 14
08-24-2014 | Posts: 502
Joined: Jan 2007
We don't limit it at all. I figure if I can watch tv, use a computer, they can too. If we are at home, they have access to anything in the house (food, technology, etc...). I do try to model healthy activities though. We aren't home often in the evenings, so that limits their technology time quite a bit. On weekends, or other times that we are at home, I tend to suggest taking walks, playing outside, working in the yard, etc... Sometimes I ask them to help with a large cleaning project.

My goal is to have the kids learn to self regulate with regards to technology (and other things such as food and money). If they want to watch tv all day, they can. We talk about the things they might miss (i.e., trip to the park, learn a new skill, etc...). I'd like them to internalize these regulation messages, rather than imposing arbitrary rules for them to question or defy.
Letitia's Avatar Letitia
07:56 PM Liked: 30
#4 of 14
08-24-2014 | Posts: 244
Joined: Aug 2009
I'm pretty anti-screen. Our television wasn't hooked up to anything that would work with it except a DVD player until this past Olympics, when we got a converter box. Our kids are now 6 and 7. I think the only TV they've ever watched was the Olympics. I grew up the same way: my parents didn't get a TV until I was about 6, and then my use was limited to 2 hours on the weekends plus what they might be watching while I was awake (generally only the news, which scared me). I turned out pretty darn well in terms of ability to concentrate, read, achieve academically - that kind of stuff. I have purposefully tried to replicate my own experience of having more book time than screen time for my kids. The funny thing is, even now that we have a working TV the kids don't ask to watch it. They get "movie time" on Friday nights, and that's it.

We do let them have probably an hour a week total of educational games on the computer, and they also get some time on computers at school. I don't want technology to feel totally foreign to them.

When we go on car trips or they have to wait somewhere, we bring audiobooks. They'll do stuff like draw or play games, too, but my daughter gets motion sick very easily so she can't do much except the audiobooks when she's in a moving vehicle. In places like waiting rooms, they are really good at amusing themselves with things we've brought.

I think if you don't have access to "screens" you don't become dependent on them.
JordanKX's Avatar JordanKX (TS)
11:23 PM Liked: 470
#5 of 14
08-25-2014 | Posts: 772
Joined: May 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Letitia View Post
I grew up the same way: my parents didn't get a TV until I was about 6, and then my use was limited to 2 hours on the weekends plus what they might be watching while I was awake (generally only the news, which scared me).
YES!

I grew up with a split-household, and my mom was anti-screen, no TV until I was almost 10 and then it wasn't news, but PBS. A few cartoons here and there, but mostly documentaries. Which I absolutely hated.
And my father's house was technology heaven, which I Loved and probably why I became so techno-centered.
Except now I look back on my mom's house, and my current love of PBS documentaries and British TV, and realize my mom was probably spot-on.
Maybe I'm struggling because both are within ME still I am such a lover of movies!

I think I'm clearly struggling with our current setup, so I need to find Other activities (which will be a transition for me too) and not consider it a limit on screen-time. Main thing is giving him options, and since I'm a single mom to an only child, I think it's all about Me modeling. If I can turn off the laptop and go outside, he'll be more inclined to as well; if I'm reading a book, he might pick up one too.
newmamalizzy's Avatar newmamalizzy
12:03 PM Liked: 540
#6 of 14
08-26-2014 | Posts: 1,653
Joined: Jul 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by JordanKX View Post
YES!

I think I'm clearly struggling with our current setup, so I need to find Other activities (which will be a transition for me too) and not consider it a limit on screen-time. Main thing is giving him options, and since I'm a single mom to an only child, I think it's all about Me modeling. If I can turn off the laptop and go outside, he'll be more inclined to as well; if I'm reading a book, he might pick up one too.
I think that sounds like a great way to find balance. I guess I always try to think in terms of that - are we watching TV/using technology because we really want to, or is it in lieu of something else? It's so, so easy, even as adults, to get into bad habits with TV, especially since there's something available all the time through Netflix and Hulu and whatever else. I don't remember any specific TV rules in childhood, but it was easier because back then we didn't have cable and there just plain wasn't good stuff on TV to watch unless I wanted to watch Chronicle or bowling or something
neonalee's Avatar neonalee
05:53 PM Liked: 44
#7 of 14
08-28-2014 | Posts: 1,438
Joined: Nov 2009
Over the summer my son's time (he's 4) was VERY limited and mostly earned. He was in "summer camp" (same Montessori school as usual, but a specific topic focused every week) every other week, and home with dad (who is starting his own business) in the off weeks. So he went on errands with dad & they went to the museum & park and whatever. Sometimes DH would sit him in front of Little Pim or something else educational so he could work on work stuff.

Now that he's in school again (and no access to tech during it), we are more lenient. If he gets his "chores" done without a fuss he gets to play educational games on the tablet. His chores at night are clear the table, brush teeth, dirty clothes in hamper, go to bed when told. In the morning, eat breakfast, brush teeth, dress for school. And when he gets home, change out of school clothes and wash hands. (You'd be surprised how hard it is to get him to do this stuff LOL). So, if Monday night, Tuesday morning, & Tuesday after school he does all that without much fuss, he gets to play games or maybe watch an educational show when he gets home from school. No real time limit, sometimes until I get home from work. Most of what he gets is educational because I figure he's got his whole life to enjoy the entertainment out there, and he's very entertained by the educational stuff

We also have a rule that any tantrum caused by the end of "game" time means he doesn't get game time the next day.
praisehimau's Avatar praisehimau
09:45 PM Liked: 11
#8 of 14
08-30-2014 | Posts: 67
Joined: Oct 2008
We allow ipads on weekends for about 2 hours a day. During the week, we don't except on school holidays.
praisehimau's Avatar praisehimau
09:46 PM Liked: 11
#9 of 14
08-30-2014 | Posts: 67
Joined: Oct 2008
I forgot to mention we do have 30 mins ipad a day, but only if chores and homework etc are done first.
Julianito's Avatar Julianito
09:37 AM Liked: 749
#10 of 14
08-31-2014 | Posts: 223
Joined: Mar 2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by praisehimau View Post
I forgot to mention we do have 30 mins ipad a day, but only if chores and homework etc are done first.
I am also a single mom, computer geek kiddo too, but 9 now. I allow 30 mins daily electronic time while I cook dinner. I also use it as a reward, but dinner gets awfully simple when he does not earn it . On a weekend or a day with no school the next day, we will do "movie night" which is actually a show (i.e super vet or too cute, about 45 mins long).

My concern with screen time is the disconnecting from other people, so I do this as a low-key connecting time. We pick a show we would both like see and make popcorn and kale smoothies for dinner and then laugh, "aaaaaw"gasp, or cry and hug depending on the program moment.
rightkindofme's Avatar rightkindofme
10:40 AM Liked: 749
#11 of 14
08-31-2014 | Posts: 4,604
Joined: Apr 2008
I have a 4 year old and a 6 year old. My screen time policy is... not perfectly consistent. Officially I don't "limit" screen time. But in order to go get the screen you have to have all your toys picked up off the floor. I have to finish my chores before I get to veg out... that's just how it works.

We don't have a television, so I use a laptop and the kids use an iPad. I keep us so busy that we can go whole weeks without the kids using the iPad. (Most of my laptop time is before they wake up in the morning.) And then we have weeks where I crash and burn from a too intense schedule and they use the iPad for 4-6 hours a day for three days. I take comfort from the fact that the 6 hours is usually broken up by the kids themselves because they can't sit still that long. They will watch a show then go run around for a while. Then watch another episode then go play with Lego's. It cycles on days when I am completely D-E-D. Luckily those weeks don't happen more than two or three times a year.

I am not a single mom--I have a partner to help. But I am a stay at home mom and we unschool. Sometimes a break for a screen keeps me from doing things I would regret. I can totally live with that trade.
SplashingPuddle's Avatar SplashingPuddle
02:34 PM Liked: 41
#12 of 14
09-02-2014 | Posts: 270
Joined: Jun 2012
Our almost 5 year old daughter watches about 1 hour a week of foreign language cartoons. Other than that there is no screen time, unless I have the computer open for looking at recipe, etc. I do computer time after she goes to bed at 7pm. I think boredom is really healthy and encourages creativity, so I try to allow her free time to play.
Letitia's Avatar Letitia
08:12 PM Liked: 30
#13 of 14
09-02-2014 | Posts: 244
Joined: Aug 2009
Where do you find foreign language cartoons?

I really liked PP's comment about doing things so screen time doesn't become total disconnect from people time. Our kids do their "movie night" together and we love to join them. We also talk about what we watch as we watch it, unless it's "My Little Pony" which they found in the Netflix kids' section. Not much to talk about there, but I have to admit I can answer the question "Who is your favorite pony?"
Mylie's Avatar Mylie
07:16 PM Liked: 682
#14 of 14
09-03-2014 | Posts: 1,581
Joined: Mar 2004
For my almost 7 year old girl during the school year we have no tv or electronic games during the week...we don't own an IPad but she has the oldest model of Innotab she got for Christmas when she was 3...On Saturdays she is allowed cartoons or her game ...On Sundays we watch a movie in the afternoon if we aren't out and about..But honestly I try to keep us busy so the amt is minimal...Sometimes she might ask to play Starfall games on my laptop instead of cartoons...

She gets computer and IPad time at school several times a week..I find that attitude, behavior and willingness to get schoolwork done improves tremendously with cutting technology out at home during the week..
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