Amount of time per day your kids spend on electronics?

bnicebkindAugust 8, 2007

How much time would you guess your kids each spend per day (summer and weekends) on electronic games, TV, computer etc.? Do your boys spend more time than girls? Would you be embarrassed if your friends really knew the "true" actual hours your kids spend on this stuff?

For those of you that have very strict rules on time allowed, how do you limit it and are you consistant enforcing the time limit on a regular basis?

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My kids are 14, 10 and 5 y/o boys and 7 y/o girl.

My girl maybe plays Game Cube 2-3 times a week, 20-30 minutes at a time max. She plays games on the computer about as often. She watches maybe 1 hr TV/day. She is just not as interested in the video and computer games as the boys are. She would rather play in her romm with a friend over.

The older boys spend probably 1 hr/day on computer and 30 mins/day on Game Cube. Another 30 watching TV.

The 5 y/o doesn't stay with any of it very long. He'll watch 15-20 mins of TV then move on to something else. He knows how to play Game Cube and computer games, but again, 15-20 minutes and his mind is on to something else. So all together, 60-90 mins/day on electronics combined.

In the summer, without school, you could double that time some days for each of them. And days like now, when it's 100 degrees and outside play is not an option, they'll play longer.

I don't have set rules about it b/c getting them to stop has never been a problem. Honestly, when left to their own devices my kids diversify their time. They'll do the electronic stuff, then go outside, then play pingpong, then a board game without too much direction from me. When I do notice they've been at a screen for a while, I announce it's time to turn it off and they do and find something else to do.

During the school year, it is restricted well enough by our schedule. By the time they get home from school, they get 30 minutes to do what they want, then we have to be at someone's practice. Or we need to get the homework done b/c there is practice later. They just don't have as much free time to do those things.

I think there are three other factors that limit the plugged-in time. 1) I am willing to stop what I'm doing and play a board game with them as much as possible. 2)I allow my yard/garage to be used as the hang out place, set up a water/snack spot, and encourage neighborhood friends to play here. 3) They do not have access to TV/video games in their rooms.

I would not be embarrassed most of the time. But there are a few days a year when my kids are complete couch potatoes. When, for reasons of bad weather or I'm not feeling well or have a millions things to do, they go from a DVD to video games to computer to cartoon for hours. Those days I wouldn't want to be busted and give someone the impression that every day is like that. ;o)

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 4:00PM
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I'm one who has (or should I say, had, my kids are 17 & 20 now) strict rules. Ok, so I'm going to say up front that my rules are probably way more severe than most people's, but it worked beautifully for my kids.

First of all, they have never been allowed to own a game boy/nintendo/ whatever brand of hand held game. They could play with them at their friends' houses when they visited, but owning one was out.

Second, we watch no television. When they were very young, I decided no more prime time -- I personally didn't want to watch it anymore for lots of reasons but in addition to that I just didn't feel comfortable to exposing my then 2 & 5 year old to most of the stuff you see on prime time. I let them watch cartoons on Sat morning, simply because I'd watched them growing up and hey it's kid stuff and they were kids!

But what I observed was that too much of that made them cranky. They would start watching at say 7 am and by 10 am when I was ready to get them out of the house for something fun to do, they were whiny and cranky and annoyed -- all of this I attributed to too much time in front of the TV. I began limiting them to one hour on Sat morning, each could pick one half hour show. From there it was easy to just turn the TV off all together. And yes, it did eliminate that lethargic crankiness!

We did watch movies -- lots of age appropriate stuff, you'd be surprised at how many really good old Disney (and non-disney but still age-appropriate) movies from the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s there are out there on video that are still very entertaining today. Especially the older stuff where there was no obvious sex because it wasn't allowed, even if some of the dialog is sometimes risqué, most of that stuff goes over their heads when they're young. In any case, movies are so much easier to control because we would watch them as a family, it was our evening entertainment instead of TV one or two nights a week.

What did we do on other nights? We played games, read books, and generally the boys had to find ways to entertain themselves either individually or together on a regular basis without Mom or electronic aid.

I'm proud to say that both of my boys are avid readers (still) and have great vocabularies and to this day they don't feel deprived of electronic entertainment. My 17 yo has a room completely packed with books, and I still hear him use new words on a regular basis -- he mispronounces them sometimes but uses them correctly so I know he read it in a book, got the meaning but just didn't grasp the pronunciation.

So, like I said, my rules are very severe, but we all benefited from them. Sometimes, when I do turn on the TV to watch a video, I get caught up in a TV show that happens to be on. After watching about three minutes, listening to inane jokes with canned laughter and idiotic commercials I think to myself, yeah, I'm not missing a thing.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 4:17PM
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My 12-years old daughter was on the game 7 days a week. She called it a hobby but it was certainly more than that. Under my friend's recommendation I tried parental control software Ez Internet Timert. It allows you to set limits on how much time your child spends on the computer or online. Of cause, she is playing games now, but only 1 hour a day. And I try to create other choices and activities and getting out of the house more instead of setting time limits. If a child has a lot of great alternatives, he's likely to be quite happy to participate in those rather than feeling compelled to stick to a screen. There are lots of advantages to electronic games and web surfing beyond just the fun of it, but there are also lots of real life things that children love to do if given the opportunity and modeling of how much fun it all can be.

Here is a link that might be useful: My blog

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 5:05AM
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It seems everybody as the internet these days,my sister doesnt have the internet and she doesnt intend to either, i can see a massive difference in her children my neice and nephew,compared to most kids i see,her kids make their own entertainment,constantly making up there own fun games and doing stuff we did as kids when there was no computers about.It drives me nuts when i see children glued to a pc or something similar,but then alot of parents are doin the same too.
my eleven year old daughter likes to go on the pc,but when i think shes been on it a little too long i tell her to do something else,i agree with linda if a child as other acctivities and choices offerd theyd much rather do that than sit in front of the tv or pc.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 7:08AM
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They can change - my son was obsessed with computer games for years.

Now he is 16 - he spends hours riding a bike, and hardly any time on the computer.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 3:05AM
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Our rules..

Weekdays- no computer or video games.

We don't have cable so there is limited tv watching. Usually we sit in the lr and read or watch a movie.

Weekends..Friday night and Saturday night- they have fairly unlimited access to video games mostly they play Wii sports together. Saturday and Sunday days- outside if it's nice if not we usually play board games or visit with friends.

Summer- days outside, nights are for movies, friends, and video games.

The less they play- the less they want to play IMO. The more they play- the more they HAVE to play...

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 10:12AM
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When my daughter was young, she LOVED video games. So did DH and I. We'd play together as a family.

She started playing video games when she was 4 years old. Her optometrist said that she would benefit from playing video games (she has a lazy eye) because of the eye and hands coordination. That's how we got into it.

She was attending French school and didn't know how to read English. She'd always ask me what the screen on the video game said. Eventually, she learned to read English from playing the video games.

She grew out of it, and hasn't been much for computer games.

Now, at 17, she doesn't play video games at all (been a few years) and she's on computer for homework research or to chat with school friends on MSN.

She watches TV maybe 1 hour a day.

Buy her a book though and she doesn't stop reading it until it's finished!

She's planning on getting a combined degree in Journalism and English because she'd love to be a writer.

I don't see a problem with video games if the games are age appropriate and they are still "socializing" with other kids. If that's all they do is video games, they can become a loner very easily.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 10:38PM
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DD always spent excessive time using electronics. She is 21 now and still spends way too much time with computer or games. I find it annoying but I don't see her much anymore since she is away to college so i put up with it when she visits. ha. But I always found it excessive. But she has always been a very avid reader, so I guess you can have both.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 12:07AM
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In my opinion, the TV is on WAY too much at our house. So I bought the "Time Machine" a $50 token-operated device that you attach to your TV. Each token is good for 1/2 hour of TV time, and you can give your kids however many tokens you feel is appropriate.

Sounds great, right? And it does work - it seems to make the kids more choosy when they have to spend one of their tokens to watch a show. HOWEVER dh keeps disabling it because he finds it annoying to get up off the couch every 1/2 hour to put in another token. For anyone whose spouse is on board, though, it could be useful.

You may say that I should be overseeing it myself, not relying on a device. But I like the thought of transferring the responsibility of budgeting TV time to the kids - I am tired of being the TV police!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 2:53PM
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