It’s changed days from when I was little – I spent my evenings after school climbing trees and out on my bike. I think I was 9 when we first got a computer, and yes I did love to play games on it and design posters for printing for my bedroom door but I don’t remember there being the same struggles that parents face now. Perhaps I’m looking back with rose-tinted glasses and my dad would have a different story to tell. Anyway, as much as I’d like to remove all tech, it’s not going to be feasible in this day and age. Instead we are going to have to decide ways to manage how we use it.
So how do you tell if your child is addicted?
- They literally won’t stop talking about it… the soundtrack to my life is tales of Pokemon Go, Mario, Luigi and Minecraft
- They continually ask to have a shot of it, and even if they’ve used up their time allocation for the day they try to negotiate a deal for more
- They can’t stick to time limits on their own, and always ask for ‘an extra five minutes’
- When you do eventually get them off the tech, there are temper tantrums and lots of crazy, angry behaviour. I swear my son is like a different (not in a good way) child once he’s been playing computer games
- Even when they’re not on the tech, they want to watch other people play it on YouTube
- Getting them to participate in other activities takes a lot of persuasion and bribery
Ok, so I exaggerated above, but my son is obsessed and would play the Wii U all day, every day if he could. I’m trying to manage his addiction/behaviour and these are some of the things that we’ve been trying… I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.
- Digital Detox – I confiscated the remotes for a week and there was no phones, iPads, YouTube etc allowed and actually there wasn’t as much moaning as I had thought there would be
- Clear Rules – I have written our house rules on a sheet of A3 paper which is affixed to the wall in our dining room. Getting your child to help determine what the rules are will hopefully get them to buy into it.
- Limit Time – I am currently allowing 30 minutes of tech (currently doesn’t include watching TV) each day after homework/chores. I saw on the Bambino Goodies website a feature about Time Tokens, which I think is a great concept and one that I might try
- Countdown – my timer has broken unfortunately and need to get a new one, but I think a timer helps where it can be seen clearly how much time is remaining. In the absence of a timer just now, I’ve been doing countdowns… you have ten minutes remaining etc.
- Consequences – If there is bad behaviour, then tech privilege for the following day is removed
How long do your children spend on devices during an average day/week, and how do you manage it?