How much computer, video game or television time per day is reasonable for 11-16 year olds?

Shannon - posted on 05/28/2012 ( 10 moms have responded )

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My 14 y/o son and sometimes my 11 y/o daughter is convinced that we are unreasonable when it comes to the amount of time we allow him to spend watching television, playing on the computer or playing video games. He is quick to tell us that his friends parents don't have as many rules and we are way too strict. I am trying to get him to see that we are normal as far as parents are concerned and that we are simply trying to protect him from his own destructive behavior. When he plays games too long he gets moody, manic, irrational and agitated. He has a very difficult time trying to "shut down" the system. He also tends to have very little if any attention span once he stops and then cannot sleep at night as a result of the over-stimulation.

So - please share your comments, suggestions, concerns with my family so we can have an open discussion about this.

Thank you!

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Tanja - posted on 02/09/2013

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I am having a major problem my son plays on his new touch screen computer for Christmas which cost 10 thousand rand...he is 9... he does his homework and then spends the rest of the day on the computer playing games...sometimes from 2 till 7 at night there, has been so much screaming in this house and my husband is doing nothing about it. when my son does not get what he wants he cries until my husband shouts at me...there is no speaking nice to my son he does not listen to word I say, I can see this as being destructive but nobody seems to care, my son on his own always never playing with any children he has no friends...my husband wants to keep the peace I sometimes feel like smashing the thing it fifty pieces ( which I wont do) but truly this is going to cause our divorce as I simply cant live like this...

Claudette - posted on 05/29/2012

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My rule is to finish all homework then they can get on the computer. I do not like to them to be on the computer all day or play video games all day. This summer the rules are, you must read and for the number of pages they read I will double that time in computer time ( depending on the type of book they read). Sometimes we add household chores to earn computer time as well.

Jenn - posted on 06/11/2012

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Here, the kids have to finish all their homework before they can use the computer. We have times they can use the computer and times that the computer locks them out. It is available from 10am - 8pm and between those times, they are allowed 1 hour of game time, 1.5 if they are researching something. In regards to the TV, we usually allow 2-3 shows per day and video games are an hour. But to get those times, they need to do chores around the house to earn time. Be it, clean the litterbox, feed the dogs, wash the dishes, make their beds, etc. If they choose not to help, they get no time at all. We do not allow games or TV past 8pm since we want them to have time to settle down before they fall asleep.

Louise - posted on 05/28/2012

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I know what you mean about the moods children get in when playing on these games. My sons were the same. There was no time restriction but they had to do all homework first to a good standard and not rushed, then they were free to play on whatever they liked until dinner time. After dinner they were allowed to play for one hour only and then it had to be switched off so that they did wind down for bed.

Neither of them liked this and they used to protest but eventually they also saw that they found it easier to sleep if they had not just come of the computer. They had free reign to do what they liked at the weekends. One son played a little and went out the other son spent a lot of time on the computer. I have to say the one that stayed in and played games is now in his third year of university studying a duel degree and still gaming as well!

Julie - posted on 06/07/2012

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Hi Shannon,
My kids get 1 hour per weekend day for computer or video games. Friday nights count so that gives them 3 hours a week. During the week it's after homework, dinner and they have to be outside or reading for a 1 to 1 ratio for TV.
We had to create the rule because my kids could spend there lives watching and my 12 year old gets really aggressive after playing games on his console.
We actually had to remove the remotes for the Wii at the beginning.

The blue light stimulates them and keeps them going when they should be winding down. It's the same with computer screens and cell phones.

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Jennifer - posted on 03/06/2014

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We limit our 8 year old son to 30 min per day of (wiiu or computer game or ipad game or ds game...), but he has to do all homework first. On Fri, Sat and Sun we allow 1 hour. As far as TV... he usually watches from 6:15-7am (he wakes up sooo early), but that generally is it on a school day since he is involved in sports and cubscouts in the evenings. If it were up to him he would play games all day! I do sometimes give "extra" time for chores or randomly if they earn it in some way.

Linda - posted on 06/11/2012

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My husband lets his son play for hours and hours. The kid hardly gets any exercise and is becoming overweight. I have to remind him to have him get off and my stepson moans and argues and whines and wheedles to go back on. He is 15. I get tired of being the bad cop all the time.

Linda - posted on 06/06/2012

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My stepson and adult son are addicted to computer and video games. My adult son is out of the home and working but the stepson is 15 and all he does is play on the computer or games. My husband is not really parenting material and lets things slide. We have been to family counseling and the counselor recommended time limits. My husband goes along with the program for a little while but keeps sliding back into the old routine. I try not to get involved because I get angry when my stepson argues and yells at me. My stepson is also becoming overweight. Another problem that compounds this is my stepson has encopresis. He still soils his underwear. I think the lack of activity, plus poor diet and becoming consumed in the gaming is making the problem worse. I should also mention he has mild aspergers syndrome.

Jane - posted on 06/03/2012

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Sounds familiar, I have a 10 year old girl that started out playing cute games like pixie hollow and such. Then we noticed her mood change so restricted her to ONLY WEEKENDS. THen we realized she didn't want to spend time with us, or even eat,on weekends because she was so fixated on the computer.

She is now a computer WIZ (creating Toontown videos to songs) and I've just learned that "chatting" through her game Toontown, she has met people who've taught her how to open up gmail accounts (6 that I know of!), YouTube accounts, put her videos on YouTube and open IMVU accounts (something like facebook)!!! I've just uncovered ALL of this last week and she's banned from the computer indefinitely until I figure out what to do! I'm beside myself. We should have monitored MORE than we did, but every time we checked her computer we saw only Toontown and her watching songs on YouTube. We just didn't suspect all of this.

Anyway, I've looked at the age criteria of IMVU and YouTube and it's age 13 so she won't be allowed to even think about those sites until she 13, so that gives me a few years. Next, I think I may just password protect the internet and she will only get to use her computer for school or games that don't require the internet.

I understand your dilemma however, I am dealing with the same thing! Hopefully you will get some good feedback! All the best.

Ramona - posted on 05/29/2012

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Stick with your rules, it is your house! We don't have any rules, as long as other things are donre first and correctly. My kids are so busy with school, sports, clubs, music, and scouts, that if they spend 3 days staring at a screen, I don't worry, as they don't get that kind of time often.

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