18 answers

Limiting Use of Electronics (Video Games, Computer, Tv)

My 10 year old daughter spends a lot of time using electronics (nintendo ds, tv, computer). Usually, I periodically suggest that she take a break from those things, but I'm thinking I need to set a time limit. (We had a timer on the TV but it broke.) If you limit these items, how much time do you allow for each and how do you keep track of the time?

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definately limit time on them, this would have to be indivual, but it isn't good for their eyes, and they need other experiences in their life besides sitting in front of a game or tv. You could explain that it isn't a punishment, it is a life giving thing to do other things.

I suggest "earning" electronics time - have her do a chore or physical activity to earn 30 minutes of electronics time - for example, for every 30 minutes she spends playing outside, she could be rewarded with 15 or 30 minutes of electronics time or for unloading the dishwasher, she earns 15 minutes of electronics time. There are lots of great ways to do this - I would suggest using Handipoints (www.hanidpoints.com) or "tickets" of some kind that equate to 15-minute periods of electronics time. This will keep her active & give her rewards for doing so while you can still monitor the amount of time she spends doing these type of things.

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One hour a day and that's it. No if/ands or buts... Make her a read book/magazine/play board games/cards... take walks... I feel as though the computer/video games, etc. makes people unsocialable. Also, being in academia, students do poorly with study skills/attention because they seek the constant entertainment that computers/video games, etc. provide.

Good luck.

my daughter is turning ten tomorrow and we have limited her to three hours a week of tv since she was in kindergarten! an hour on mon, wed and fri. she has really thrived over it, electronics aren't just a past time for kids anymore, they are an obsession! we also allow no video games in our house and the computer is definitely off limits! some moms call me over doing it in this department but while their kids are two inches away from a tv screen or a nintendo ds my daughter is reading a book or playing outside, riding a bike or scrapbooking. We didnt have these things as children, do you feel deprived? I know i dont and i know for a fact that my daughter doesn't either. But each mom has to parent her kids in her own unique way so good luck to you and congratulations for seeing the need to limit their time! Many blessings!

Hi S., I used to give my kids 10 minutes a day for each chore they completed. They usually have 3 chores which gives them 30 minutes of free time before they are again "unplugged". On weekends I allowed more time to be earned. My kids are old enough and active enough that I don't have to do this anymore. They very seldom watch any tv, play any video games, or get on the computer. I think this is greatly because we controlled it so strictly when they were younger that they found other hobbies, interests, and friends.

I am really in favor of strict time limits on passive time wasters. Use a kitchen timer with no exceptions. You are the parent, after all. However, children who have spent a lot of time with these games often have not learned how to entertain themselves any other way. Be ready with plenty of things to do like reading materials, homework, housework, a game with you or other family members, outside play, etc. Do not allow yourself to get in the habit of pushing the child onto the "electronic babysitter".

when my oldest two were younger we would issue "momma buck" that could be redeemed for TV/Computer/or video game time. Every week they would get 20 minutes worth automatically. However they would have th opportunity to earn extras by doing extra work around the house. I printed the "money" up on my computer and took them to the teacher supply and had them laminated.

D.
SAHM of two still at home 18 and 5.

I suggest "earning" electronics time - have her do a chore or physical activity to earn 30 minutes of electronics time - for example, for every 30 minutes she spends playing outside, she could be rewarded with 15 or 30 minutes of electronics time or for unloading the dishwasher, she earns 15 minutes of electronics time. There are lots of great ways to do this - I would suggest using Handipoints (www.hanidpoints.com) or "tickets" of some kind that equate to 15-minute periods of electronics time. This will keep her active & give her rewards for doing so while you can still monitor the amount of time she spends doing these type of things.

An over timer or microwave timer

I would definately set a limit on these things. And keep a very close eye on the computer thing. My stepdaughter has a problem with all of these things. She is constantly wanting to be on the internet or watching tv. Her friend stayed the night with us this weekend and they got on the internet onto myspace and I had never been on myspace and a bunch of naked pictures popped up and profanity. Her mom lets her have a myspace page, which I think at 11 is abosolutely ridiculous so it's hard to tell her not to be on it over here at our house. I set apart different times for her to go outside and play. I have her play more board games that actually teach her things and I tell her she has to ask for permission to get on the computer and I check on her all the time to make sure she is on safe websites. It makes me sick to see how all of these things are controlling our children. As far as how much should she spend on these things, it all depends upon your family life. I would give her 1 hour a day on the computer or DS game, and 2-3 hours on the t.v. It is so hard to set a limit with everything that is out there. The best of luck to you.

Unfortunately, you will have to find something else that interests her and as a working mom myself, I know your time is limited. Get her Erin Hunter's book - Into The Wild. It is the first in the Warrior series. You can find it in the childrens section at any bookstore and it is available in paperback. My daughter, who would not read anything, has now read the entire series. We also have her in the local fastpitch softball, both of your daughters could do that.
Best of luck.

S. A,

You are doing the right thing as a Mom to limit computer time. As a child and family therapist, I recommend that children (of your daugther's age) have no more electronics time (this includes TV, computer, DS, Nintendo etc.) than one hour daily (Monday - Thursday). It can be some more for Friday night and the weekend. This would allow for a family movie on Friday night or on a weekend day and then some computer/other electronics time. This is in line with current research. This is not applicable for "special needs" children. Anyone reading this who has children with behavioral issues or learning disorders need to seek individualized guidelines from a professional.

I also recommend children earning this "privilege" by completing all homework and chores BEFORE they participate in the activity.

Good Luck with putting this in place.

D. H.
About Me: A wife, mother, Nana and full time child and family therapist in Plano.

We have been limiting our son (12) to only 2 hours on Saturday and Sunday and nothing during the week until his report card. He has all A's except 1 B (88) in Art. So now we are adjusting his time to After he finishes his homework, piano practice, chores, etc he can play for no more than an hour during the week and most nights he doesn't have that long to play.

We have to physically tell him to stop playing and we have to keep the time for him. On the weekends we keep him busy with other things - he can play with his sister (who is 3) or he can play outside with the dog or do something with us but no games or TV by himself once his time is up.

Some weekends we give him a little more time if we want to but he does not fight us to play longer or give us a hard time for the rules.

Hope this helps

We've started making the kids earn their computer, game and t.v. time. We use a kitchen timer, and they are adjusting alright, but they are also younger than your daughter (3 and 5 y.o.); so, she may adjust differently. They earn computer/t.v./game time with good behavior and chores- 20 mins. (We also have a DVR, which makes it easier to time the shows.) They earn other rewards also, though, like choosing our lunch date place and movie time movie. Sometimes, they earn more time in the tub to play. It depends what your kid likes, but we give other rewards besides electronics to keep them from becoming "couch potatoes".

I hope you find something that works for your daughter. Have a great day! :)

definately limit time on them, this would have to be indivual, but it isn't good for their eyes, and they need other experiences in their life besides sitting in front of a game or tv. You could explain that it isn't a punishment, it is a life giving thing to do other things.

I would suggest she try getting involved in some extracurricular activities such as sports or clubs. It sounds like she is spending way to much time sitting in front of something and not getting alot of social interaction or exercise! I could be wrong. But if your having to juggle T.V. video games and computer time..then that sounds like to much!!

We start off with 16 minutes a day of any electronic device. Their behaviour the day before dictates the time for today. If they were bickering with their brothers they forfeit their time for tomorrow. If they didn't finish school work or chores they forfeit their time. Sometimes I will knock off 5 minutes here and there for things like bickering etc. I will also give extra minutes for good things like good manners, being helpful etc. But not near as often as them losing time. If is a powerful motivator for good behavior. There were a few days where they had no electronic anything including tv because they weren't understanding I was serious. We don't have cable and pick up no local stations anyways. They only have dvd's to watch. We also keep a timer on the computer table and I frequently ask them what they are doing. Their brothers will also rat them out so they are very careful to be truthful. They are fairly honest with it to keep from losing their priviledges for the next day. We also keep their bike tires aired up!!! And throw them outside every afternoon weather permitting. Then in the evening they get electronics after their doses of vitamin D are gotten for the day.

Hope this helps,
L., Mom to 3 boys, 4 if you count hubby

My kids have to earn time playing games. We use www.handipoints.com as a tool to track chores, homework, etc. done. They earn points. Use their points to buy no more than an hour of time on the electronic device of their choice a day. Even then all chores and schoolwork for that day must be finished.
They do have some time on the computer each day for schoolwork, but not for playing. Even that time is limited. They must be considerate of the siblings needs to get schoolwork done as well.
As for tracking time, a kitchen timer works great.

If I could live my life over, I would not let my boys have a computer game until age 16. I just heard on the radio a few days ago a researcher on early childhood stating that the most intelligent people today were given books to read and were read to at an early age. From a Mother of older boys: turn off t.v. - turn off computer - give books, read to them, have 10 yr old read to all of you - provide music lessons... otherwise you will have boring children who don't want to do anything if it cannot be plugged in.
If you want to know how a scientist raised his children to be scientists/thinkers after his wife died google "robinson curiculumn".

Hey mom, don't "suggest" your daughter take a break! YOU are the parent, and you need to set limits because you're daughter doesn't know how to. I have a 13 year old daughter who would spend all her time on the computer if she could. But I am very clear that on school days, all school work comes first . . . and done correctly and thoughtfully. Obviously, her grades will tell whether she's putting the correct effort into her schoolwork. And the computer is turned off no later than 7:30 p.m. And on weekends there are still limits, because I want her outside getting fresh air/exercise, etc.

You should consider just making a limit for all electronics activity. On school days she could be limited to 1 - 1 1/2 hours, and the rest of her time should be spent on schoolwork, reading, etc. It is her choice how to spend that time, whether it be on the DS, the computer, watching TV, etc. On weekends she would get a little more time, but still put some limits to force her into other activities and to socialize with "real" people (something my daughter would rather not do!).

Good luck.

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