Mom to Mom Monday: How much computer time is too much?

Posted by Julie on 9/16/2013 to Mom Madness

Mom to Mom Monday

Our family loves technology and each year we seem to acquire more and more of it. Gone are the days of having to go and rent a VCR at the video store. Now my kids barely know what a VCR is.

I'm confronted with mine and my kids dependence on technology daily and as they get older we're beginning to struggle with finding a balance. Computer time, gaming time, tablet time, smartphone time...When they aren't on one they're trying to use another.

We're still a pretty active family. Soccer, the beach, boating, geocaching, we get out, but when we're home and indoors the kids choice is clear, they want to be ON something.

Can we schedule it?

My own issue is that I work from home and my work is ON the computer, so they've grown up seeing me on the computer a lot. If I've got things I really need to get done then a Playstation game or computer game for them helps me out quite a bit, but now I'm starting to pay the price.

This summer we began a schedule for what we consider "computer time." Video games, phone app games, youtube, computer games, any handheld games AND my own work, is all being scheduled.

We start with brief computer time in the morning, take a couple hour break, go back to computer time after lunch and then another break and so on. They can't go on and neither can I.

So far it's working, although now they watch the clock to see when they get to go back on.

We're still trying to find a balance. Our schedule isn't necessarily a one-size fits all. Some days it works and others it does not, but they've taken pretty well to being told they have to go and do something else and in those hours we get a lot done, including spending more time together.

Does any of this sound familiar? If your kids love their technology, do you worry about their dependence of it? Do you have a schedule or any plans for the future to keep them from wanting to be "plugged-in" all day long?

Comments

Date 9/16/2013
Mary
My son is just 9 months, but I've been thinking about this for the future. My husband and I both really love technology, but we don't want our son to grow up dependent on it. I see my older nephews and they seem to always want to be playing with their Nintendo DS, their Kindles, or some type of technology. I hope to raise my son with a love of reading actual books and playing outside.
Date 9/16/2013
Rachel N
My kids aren't quite there yet, at 3.5 years old and 2 years old they still would rather play with their toys or outside. I think that it's okay to use technology as long as you have a balance and you teach them appropriate times to use it. One of my biggest pet peeves is the kid on the gameboy in the corner during a family gathering or other event. If there are people to visit with that is not an appropriate time to be on the gameboy.
Date 9/17/2013
Kim H
We aren't quite there yet, our oldest is 20 months, but it has been discussed a lot. I really like my smartphone, but it is something I am willing to give up to be a better example of not being so tech obsessed. I want my boys to know how to use technology, just not be obsessed with it!
Date 9/19/2013
christine kangas
I have trouble balancing my OWN time on electronics. I grew up (like many probably reading this) when internet was just becoming the big thing. I knew how to use it better than my folks, and ended up teaching them a lot about the computer. Now I'm on it all the time. I don't want to be, but I'm sucked in. I was so thankful when I broke my laptop (accidentally) because I couldn't be on it all the time.... and now that it's fixed (a year later), here I am.... commenting on a blog about how I'm always online...
Date 9/22/2013
Carly T
How much computer time is an important thing to consider, but also what they spend their time doing during computer time. Kids can see many things they're not supposed to. I think it's valuable to spend time WITH them on the computer and help build media literacy so they can better analyze ads and messaging they'll inevitably come across.

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