February 07, 2008,
G.G. asks from Austin, TX on February 06, 2008
Need Advice on Electronics Monitoring for Kids
My work requires a large amount of computer time. Ditto for my husband. My kids often need access to a computer for various homework assignments. They are allowed a certain amount of time of supervised internet game play but monitoring their time and getting them off almost always ends up in a battle. I'd like some feedback on what works for your family to keep the peace.
So What Happened?™
Thank you everyone who responded. The big recurring theme was "timers" which we have tried as well as electronic parental monitoring programs that shut down the computers when the kid's allotted time is up. I hate the "big brother" aspect of this plus, how incredibly frustrating to be in the middle of something important (it is important to them) and just be cut off! So, that doesn't work well. What DOES work is redirecting the activities to other, healthier things that we can do together as a family. We went bike-riding this past weekend and now that is all my son wants to do before school, after school and on weekends. My daughter loves it, too, and we all benefit from the fresh air, sunshine and together time. I heartily recommend it. :)
K.H. answers from Austin on February 06, 2008
So you've probably already tried this, but I'll suggest it anyway - timers. We use timers all the time at our house. I know that my kids are different ages than yours, but I know that timers can work for all ages.
Set a timer for how long they can be on and when it goes off, that's it
Ask them how long they think they need to be on, then set the timer.
Either way, it might seem more objective to them than a parent just saying 'okay, time to get off the computer now'
1 mom found this helpful
B.D. answers from Austin on February 07, 2008
Well...we have a daughter who loves tv and a son who loves the computer. We were concerned with the amount of time they were spending and the amount of unhealthy media exposure they were getting. We had battles when we tried to get them off as well. We decided to run an "experiment". Since my husband and I grew up running around outside after school we wanted to see if we could encourage our kids to do the same. We stopped our cable so we got no channels and cut our internet service at home as well as purged all video games out of the house...we gave ourselves a 1 month trial...the first 2 weeks were rough. After this, we noticed the kids find other, healthier activities such as biking, swinging, going for nature hikes, playing board games, and even reading!! We have lived without a tv or computer games for the past 4 years and didn't miss it!! We have slowly allowed the tv, internet, and computer games to trickle in at a pace that we are comfortable with, but we notice that the kids don't seem "addicted" and don't give us any trouble when we tell them they have had enought time on it like they did in the past.
I think that we learned that children today see so many adults on phones, computers, and the internet that they just want to do the same and can't control the duration as adults can. By replacing the activities for a period of time, they will slowly want to do other things. Good luck!!
Y.P. answers from Austin on February 07, 2008
I set a timer on the computer, and each of my two kids gets a certain amount or lose their turn for the day.
L.F. answers from Austin on February 07, 2008
One thing you can do is set a time limit on the amount of time you allow your kids to use the computer. Once the have went over their time the computer will not allow them to sign on if they have used all the the allot time that has been set for their usage. Hope everything works out for you and your family.
Another Austin Mom
J.R. answers from Austin on February 07, 2008
As many others have said, timers are the way to go. It's possible, though, for them to ignore the timer or to still fight with you when time is up. I think the best remedy for that is for them to know with certainty that if they ignore the timer or argue about getting off, they won't be allowed back on for increasing amounts of time with each additional fight. We have all accounts accessible only through a password, none of which are known to our youngest son since I caught him playing at the computer at 2am one night! (He has actually expressed gratitude to us for doing that.)
G.K. answers from Austin on February 07, 2008
Our computer time is scheduled and written down. Everyone has a set time, day etc that they are allowed on the computer. If my 16 year old son wants more time, he has to "buy" it. If he doesn't want to spend his allowance in that way, he can do extra chores. The money is used to buy a family movie or fund a family activity of some sort that requires no computer or video system.
L.S. answers from Salt Lake City on February 07, 2008
What my parents did for us:
In order to earn computer game time, we had to help mom in some way. The more we helped, or the more work we put in, the more time we got (up to 45 minutes). This will help your children act more mature because computer games become a reward rather than an unconditional privilege. Also, if they don't want to get off, tell them they need to help you some more if they want more time. If there is fighting, struggle, or argument, they get no time at all. If they help you willingly, you can even reward them with an extra 5 minutes. Use an egg timer to keep track.