Managing Technology With Kids

I received a number of comments and emails about how I limit technology with our kids after last week’s post on managing homework.

I had this post listed in my plan already, as we have changed our approach to technology time since I wrote about it last. (We group activities like TV watching, Wii games, online time, iPod time etc all under the banner of technology time.)

You can find my earlier posts on technology / TV time here:

This post is not about saying there one right way to manage technology with kids, but simply sharing what we do now. As I stated at the beginning, this system is new this year for us and I am sure we will change again as the kids grow and circumstances change.

Different amounts for different ages

As the kids have grown older, I realised that I needed to be more flexible with the limit I had set on how much technology time they had.

Technology becomes a greater issue for older kids – it often becomes a form of communication and socialisation, so this needs to be considered as part of the equation. The two older boys have more time across the week than their younger siblings.

The three year old watches the least as we generally have technology time when he is having his afternoon naps. So technology time in our house looks like this:

 

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Master 3.5NilNilNilNil1.5 hours0.5 hours
0.5 hours
Master 6NilNilNilNil1.5 hours
1.5 hours during day

0.5 hours after bath
1.5 hours during day

0.5 hours after bath
Miss 8NilNilNilNil1.5 hours1.5 hours during day

0.5 hours after bath
1.5 hours during day

0.5 hours after bath
Master 11NilNilNilNil1.5 hours1.5 hours during day

0.5 hours after bath
1.5 hours during day

0.5 hours after shower
Master 1345 mins45 mins45 mins45 mins 2 hours 2 hours 2 hours

Kids need to share and negotiate

On the days the younger three have access to technology, they take turn at who chooses what they want to do. The child can choose to do Wii, computer or a DVD for example. Once they have chosen the other two need to work out together what they will do. This can often take some time and test some patience, but I think it is important for them to learn to negotiate and share.

Flexibility

Flexibility with the technology roster needs to be present from both the kids and myself. Football finals for example, changes the when and the how long they will watch TV for. If we are out and about, then there may not be time for technology on a particular day and the kids need to accept that.

Getting agreement with older kids

Managing Technology With Kids
Up until June this year, the 13 year old was on the same style of access as the younger kids – no technology Mon – Thu. But after a month or so of whining about it, I told him to go away and write down what he thought would be a better arrangement.

The photo above is what he settled on and I could live with that. We then went on to write down a number of conditions, like homework being completed first. If homework takes him to past the point where he has no time for technology, it is not banked up, it is simply missed for the evening. Exam time is also treated differently.

We also wrote in consequences for breaches of the agreement. If he sneaks his iPod to bed for example, the following day there will no technology at all.

I would really prefer the other system where he only had technology on Fri, Sat, Sun, but the 13 year old put up persuasive arguments and I could see how much it meant to him.

[EDIT Jan 2016 – We now manage techno differently with the older kids, which you can read about here – Managing technology with teenagers]

We both signed this and it is hung on the clip on the fridge for reference. While not perfect, the system is working relatively well.

Would love to hear how you manage technology with kids at your house!