I recently shared how we manage technology with the teenagers in our house. I received lots of great feedback from readers on the post, via email and on facebook.
I have collated some of the responses below as I always find it helpful to read/see/hear what other families do with their kids.
No iPad while eating
It’s like you have read my inner thoughts this morning. I really needed to read this post as this is a HUGE problem in our house. All our fighting, disagreeing and anger is because of the computer, internet, IPAD etc.
I have 3 kids 5, 12 and 14. All of them own an IPAD. Master 14 is the worst culprit and just this morning I made a family announcement that no IPAD shall be watched whilst eating! Nor shall a person walk around the house with an IPAD in one hand and earphones on.
I am so sick of it, but agree with all your points. When we are really angry we resort to switching off the WIFI (if only my laptop had 4G!)
Restricting screen time
My eldest started high school this yr, & I’m the ‘mean mum’ who restricts screen, but they usually have more than the 2hrs I advocate . We have a screen free day too (except eldest for homework). On weekends & hols they are allowed until 10am, then not til 5 (dinner prep). I say the same – 1hr then a break. And they need to have a balanced ratio of play : paper : practice : pod eg tramp/Lego/toys, drawing/reading, music/skills, screens.
Boundaries for parents
A very timely post Nicole! This isn’t really an issue for our little one as yet as he is under 2, but over the past week I found myself getting frustrated with my husband because he had his head buried in an iPad or tv show and not fully engaged with our little one. We have always had the no technology at the dinner table rule and that still applies and works well. I’ve had to be conscious of my tv and iPad habits myself as I have always liked background noise, but now I like to fully engage when playing with our little one. I think it’s time we introduce some boundaries for ourselves, to lead by example.
Creating a contract
I’m a few days in to the world of being a parent of a teen and with his birthday money wants to buy a tablet. I’ll probably also be getting him a phone for high school next year and I’ve indicated to him that there will be rules around it. I’ve seen somewhere about having a contract (here’s one). I think I’ll fine tune it with my son’s input and implement it. My ex’s son would have his iphone in his room and be up really late doing whatever with it and I don’t want my son doing that. He needs his sleep!
Keeping them safe online
It’s quite a struggle, isn’t it? I wrote up a guide on how we keep our internet access safe for our 4 boys (click through to my blog to get a copy). Beyond these measures, we are currently allowing .5 hours of screen time (iPod or computer) on weekdays and 1-2 hours on weekends. We have had to keep the iPods in a drawer in the kitchen because my kids were clearly unable to self-regulate. My oldest (14) does get an extra hour of computer time since he is working through an animation tutorial.
My kids are definitely happier when they have very little screen time, but unfortunately they aren’t making the connection themselves. We have also had to ban Minecraft playing for now since it produces some very intense emotions in my 7 and 10 year olds.
Do you have any further tips for parents on how to manage technology with teenagers?