Friday, November 16, 2012

Scream Time

sorry no, not scream, screen...or maybe I was right the first time.

We (not the royal we, I do have a husband) have settled on what we consider appropriate screen time for our soon to be teen daughter.

We are not a family that watches much TV, we have never watched before 4pm and as adults we tend not to sit down to watch until about 9pm and we go to bed at 10pm so we are not square eyed. We also try to be discerning in what we watch, sticking to a few dramas (no soaps, no reality tv) and some nature, or history or art and culture stuff.

We have a child though and she is less discerning, loving many comedies, kids shows, reality stuff, whatever and while we try and restrict times and ensure the TV is not actually unsuitable we let her get on with it. For a while we even tried total derestriction (during the summer holiday) hoping she'd get bored and it would lose the attraction, this didn't work, she pretty much watched every waking hour and moaned if we asked her to leave the house with us at any time!

So now we have a fairly strict regime of timings, less TV in the week and never more than 2 hours a day. (screen time is not just TV it includes computer/wii time too but often computer time is actually youtube or iplayer time!) and for a while that seemed to go well but lately the times for TV are seen as a right, an entitlement, with arguments that TV comes first, before chores, before homework. Behaviour is getting worse too and while I know teens do have the whole struggle with hormones ... it all seems so TV orientated.

I guess what I wonder is what you do? How can we cope? Are we unfair? What is normal? Do we seem too strict or not strict enough? Is there ever an excuse for rudeness?



I totally adore DD but some days I can see why some animals eat their young!

Help!

19 comments:

  1. We have a similar issue but more related to game playing than TV watching. The current 'solution' is that I don't place any restrictions so long as other things are done when they should be. So, for example, if homework gets done at 4pm then they can play games afterwards. Showers, teeth brushing, room tidying etc all have to be done when asked and if we need to go out then I try to give them at least 30 mins warning. That may sound like I'm bending too much to their will, but, it has improved behaviour and does mean that things are done when they should be. Hope that helps!

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    1. but what do you do when they don't do things when they should? we just get 'I'll do it later' (and then it gets left until it's too late and bed time or just gets forgotten altogether) or shouting!

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  2. We have a similar system to coffecurls - in answer to the above, it is stressful but you have to stick to your guns; if the other stuff doesn't get done, no screen time until it is. The teen particularly does try to pull the "oh I'll do it later" trick but he knows it won't work.

    In our case our nearly-15 year old plays World of Warcraft a lot; having played it myself I understand how addictive a game it is, so there are parental controls applied to his account to stop him going on it before homework is done etc.

    Our 12 year old (12 today, in fact!) watches virtually no TV and would generally rather be out playing football - but at this time of year he does play on his brother's XBox a lot. Again, as long as his homework is done and other chores finished we don't mind. (At least if they're doing that they're not indulging in their other favourite activity of trying to kill each other!)

    Our daughter probably watches the most TV - recently I've started reading Roald Dahl books with her (she's 8, and easily the most academic of the 3) and she loves that. We haven't really placed any restrictions on this but we do try to make sure she gets proper interaction with us too.

    Enforcing the rule that "other stuff" must be done first can definitely be a struggle, so you do need an effective method of restriction - in our case I can pull the network cable or block network access, and we know one parent who take the power supplies away until other things are done.

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    1. Thanks it's nice to know I'm not 'too' odd :-)

      will try and be a better enforcer and remind DH not to let things slip too!

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  3. we have similar time limits, also tv doesn't go on till chores etc are done, and done to my satisfaction!

    When people seem to be getting all too obsessed with tv - as you describe, all the focus is on TV and behaviour is going down hill - then if warnings are not heeded we have a week of screen detox - no screens for a week. No TV, no tablet, no laptop, no games consols, etc (although you may want to allow laptop for homework purposes, for example we do maths with an online programme).

    After that, if attitudes have improved, they can then start earning screen time back - with improved attitude, and completely what needs to be done first.

    Does seem to work, though expect an uproar the first time you do it. I give plenty of warning when I see them heading that way, and also explain WHY - I have nothing against them watching TV etc at all, screens are wonderful thing in many ways and for many reasons and I think they're important part and tool of life and education.

    however, bad attitudes/behaviour and not getting things done is not acceptable, and if screens are to blame for that then they'll have to go!

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    1. Thanks I really appreciate the feedback! and I know DH will too :-) xxx

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    2. OMG i promise to do my chores, please dont banish me from everything. i guess it makes me thing wow am i actually more of an adict that my teen?

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  4. ps, with older children and/or after the intial time, you'll probably find that a couple of days or cutting down is as good as a week's complete detox.

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  5. teen son has read above and said 'if u tell me not to do something i will do it even more' (dont i know it)

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    1. so he'd be fairly miffed if you just removed TV ? (we have considered that)

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    2. yes i think he would, and i have used removal of all screens previosly as punishment and it did work. (in fact i'v just threatened it today as i discovered he had homework which he hadnt done

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  6. personally, we stopped tryin to restrict him, because we were sick of arguing and it did work, he barely watches tv now, also he doesnt have a tv in his bedroom,

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    1. the trouble is, as we found during the summer - she will watch every waking hour. we only have one TV in the house, oh and one for the wii in the office room. no bedroom TVs

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    2. my first thought on reading this was, bring back the 50p meter tv, but i supose u could consider a timer plug so that tv can only b on between certain times, but then that restricts the whole household?

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  7. I do sympathise, I have a DD who spends hours on twitter. Just hope that she will grow out of it, she is only 47.

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  8. thanks for popping over to my blog and leaving me a post. my children are younger and i am hoping that the new screen rules will become hardwired in to them and they will continue it in to their teens.... but i am not holding my breath. I do think you will have a harder time than i did. But i love that you are showing such an interest in this. many parents just let their teens get on with it and i think they need just as much guidance from us coming in to their teenage years. I will be keeping an eye out for how your getting on. Can i also say that we tried the "say nothing and let them get bored of it" approach and it didn't work for us either :-(

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  9. no, the 'say nothing and they'll reach an equilibriam' didn't work with us either, especially as our eldest seems particularly sensitive to too much screen time, and ALWAYS has been - ends up wired, unable to concentrate, behaviour nose dives, etc. So it's practically a health issue that we have to make sure there is a good balance!

    As to the 'do it later' - the answer is a simple no, you do it first. Especially after bitter experience!

    To be fair, papacrow & I both apply this rule to ourselves too - duty before pleasure and you will find pleasure in duty - and the kids see us doing this, so beyond occasional frumping, they do usually come to agreement eventually!

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  10. It's a tough one. We have a girl who is fine without TV for ages and a boy who loves his games on the TV. Ours is young, but I heard of a system where they can earn time. So fifteen minutes for vacuuming or thirty minutes for completing homework or... You can make as may as you want for smaller or larger increments. Might empower her a bit and take the argument out of the regulation. Want tv? Fold laundry :)

    I sure haven't found a solution for my boy. We have no tech days to keep it really clear. It's tricky! Good luck!

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