Screen Time and Children

GabbyWat

New member
Nov 19, 2020
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1
Hello, everyone! My name is Gabby. I'm currently writing a book about the affects of screens/social media on young children and need some help. What I'm looking for from parents are stories that stand out about experiences they've had with social media/ screens with the kiddos. Do they obsess over screens, is it hard to get them to focus on other things, do they eat and watch TV, what are their favorite shows? If you have any stories that shed light on a digitalized world making your job as a parent harder that would be helpful. The goal is to get more people aware of this topic and start fixing it! Anything really helps so feel free to message me or comment below. Thank you!
 

Renata Lander

Member
Oct 11, 2020
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My story will be banal. It's a story about Tik-Tok. I don't argue that's i's a great platform for promotion, but it's now meant for children. My elder son watched the various funny videos there and then started repeating them in life. It's really terrible. He spent most of the day there and was angry when I forbade him to watch it. He stopped doing housework, homework, reading. Now he watches it less, but still. I don't know what to do with it.
 
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GabbyWat

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Nov 19, 2020
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My story will be banal. It's a story about Tik-Tok. I don't argue that's i's a great platform for promotion, but it's now meant for children. My elder son watched the various funny videos there and then started repeating them in life. It's really terrible. He spent most of the day there and was angry when I forbade him to watch it. He stopped doing housework, homework, reading. Now he watches it less, but still. I don't know what to do with it.
No thats great thank you! Tik-tok is going to have a whole chapter to itself. I've seen what it does, and who has access to it. Make sure if he watches YouTube to keep an eye on it, because they watch TikTok compilations on there. Just a heads up lol
 

Amanda Jane

New member
Nov 6, 2020
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Hello, everyone! My name is Gabby. I'm currently writing a book about the affects of screens/social media on young children and need some help. What I'm looking for from parents are stories that stand out about experiences they've had with social media/ screens with the kiddos. Do they obsess over screens, is it hard to get them to focus on other things, do they eat and watch TV, what are their favorite shows? If you have any stories that shed light on a digitalized world making your job as a parent harder that would be helpful. The goal is to get more people aware of this topic and start fixing it! Anything really helps so feel free to message me or comment below. Thank you!
I am still torn about this thorny issue. I tried really hard to interest both my kids in reading books from the youngest age. They loved me reading to them, but they couldn't raise the enthusiasm to pick up a book for pleasure, or even persevere with a book once they'd started. Books were for school. They watched TV for a couple of hours a day, I guess, but no more until they were both about 10. This was ok, because I insisted on never having more than one TV in the house, and it was in the living room and my husband wanted to watch the news channels and documentaries most evenings. We never ate in front of the TV (another habit I've always resisted). Then the dread day came when my son, older by 3 years than his sister, who had been nagging us for a phone for a couple of years was given one as a present by a family friend, who thought he was being kind I guess but didn't ask our permission. I'm still annoyed about this! That was the beginning of a whole world of trouble. Once he had a phone he spent as much time as possible every evening on social media with his class mates and friends, between WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat and then TikTok. Dragging his eyes away from the screen and asking him to interact with the rest of the family became ever more difficult. Then of course his little sister started nagging for a phone too, and instead of getting one at age 11, she got hers (his old one) at the age of 10. Of course everyone else had phones at school. She asked for an Amazon Fire tablet for her birthday even before she got a phone, although to be fair she only played educational games on it and did a lot of drawing. Then we had the the wave of video games which my son became obsessed by - particularly Fortnite. He was only allowed to play this when his dad didn't want the TV, so we had many bitter arguments. He would try anything and everything to stay longer on Fortnite. The only saving grace was that he had a lot of friends and played a lot of sports which at least gave him motivation to gt away from the screen. He is now 15, and for the sake of online schooling we have had to get him a laptop and a TV monitor for his room. His entire social life is now online was we are in Lockdown, and I can hardly blame him for it. We've sent him to a psychologist and discovered that he has ADHD and is therefore even more attached to gaming's quick hits than other kids, but at least we understand better what drives him and our relationship is based on good communication now, coupled with the fact that he's grown up a fair amount. All in all, despite the endless rows and appalling arguments of a couple of years ago I am cautiously optimistic that we are maintaining a reasonable balance with the screens during the pandemic. His sports activities are desperately missed just now, but he can still access football a couple of times a week. My daughter, the younger child, is more interested in chatting with her immediate friends and designing/drawing on her phone. She watches a lot of NetFlix, but mostly just Disney and series aimed at young kids. She spends too much time doing all this on her phone, but again, with lockdown all around and even ballet on zoom just now I think we have a reasonable balance. Thankfully she has never really been into gaming, although she does like Among Us, as does her brother. I've given you a huge long rambling answer, but hopefully it will help you in your research. I'm actively interested in finding ways to limit screen time for kids without it turning into a seeming battleground or punishment, and am constantly exploring tools to do that.
 
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GabbyWat

New member
Nov 19, 2020
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I am still torn about this thorny issue. I tried really hard to interest both my kids in reading books from the youngest age. They loved me reading to them, but they couldn't raise the enthusiasm to pick up a book for pleasure, or even persevere with a book once they'd started. Books were for school. They watched TV for a couple of hours a day, I guess, but no more until they were both about 10. This was ok, because I insisted on never having more than one TV in the house, and it was in the living room and my husband wanted to watch the news channels and documentaries most evenings. We never ate in front of the TV (another habit I've always resisted). Then the dread day came when my son, older by 3 years than his sister, who had been nagging us for a phone for a couple of years was given one as a present by a family friend, who thought he was being kind I guess but didn't ask our permission. I'm still annoyed about this! That was the beginning of a whole world of trouble. Once he had a phone he spent as much time as possible every evening on social media with his class mates and friends, between WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat and then TikTok. Dragging his eyes away from the screen and asking him to interact with the rest of the family became ever more difficult. Then of course his little sister started nagging for a phone too, and instead of getting one at age 11, she got hers (his old one) at the age of 10. Of course everyone else had phones at school. She asked for an Amazon Fire tablet for her birthday even before she got a phone, although to be fair she only played educational games on it and did a lot of drawing. Then we had the the wave of video games which my son became obsessed by - particularly Fortnite. He was only allowed to play this when his dad didn't want the TV, so we had many bitter arguments. He would try anything and everything to stay longer on Fortnite. The only saving grace was that he had a lot of friends and played a lot of sports which at least gave him motivation to gt away from the screen. He is now 15, and for the sake of online schooling we have had to get him a laptop and a TV monitor for his room. His entire social life is now online was we are in Lockdown, and I can hardly blame him for it. We've sent him to a psychologist and discovered that he has ADHD and is therefore even more attached to gaming's quick hits than other kids, but at least we understand better what drives him and our relationship is based on good communication now, coupled with the fact that he's grown up a fair amount. All in all, despite the endless rows and appalling arguments of a couple of years ago I am cautiously optimistic that we are maintaining a reasonable balance with the screens during the pandemic. His sports activities are desperately missed just now, but he can still access football a couple of times a week. My daughter, the younger child, is more interested in chatting with her immediate friends and designing/drawing on her phone. She watches a lot of NetFlix, but mostly just Disney and series aimed at young kids. She spends too much time doing all this on her phone, but again, with lockdown all around and even ballet on zoom just now I think we have a reasonable balance. Thankfully she has never really been into gaming, although she does like Among Us, as does her brother. I've given you a huge long rambling answer, but hopefully it will help you in your research. I'm actively interested in finding ways to limit screen time for kids without it turning into a seeming battleground or punishment, and am constantly exploring tools to do that.
This is perfect! do you know any other mothers that would be interested in sharing their stories? my email is ratpistol@gmail.com same for the respondent above, i would love to know if you have any more in depth personal stories, this will help so much!
 
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Amanda Jane

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Nov 6, 2020
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This is perfect! do you know any other mothers that would be interested in sharing their stories? my email is ratpistol@gmail.com same for the respondent above, i would love to know if you have any more in depth personal stories, this will help so much!
Glad to help Gabby. I'm new in town here and most of my friends have older kids or don't have any at all. I'll have a think and pass on your email.
 

Moonstone

Member
Nov 9, 2020
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2
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USA
So I've seen this thread pop up for the last few days but only read it today.

@Amanda Jane As a gamer I'm biased but I have to say if your daughter is into Among Us that's pretty good! There are definitely worse things she could be into (like stupid stunts on Tic Tok). At least Among Us is a social game that encourages detective skills. This may be forward, but another game that might be fun for her is Town of Salem. It's like Among Us but you don't run around and have to type/discuss more. Of course, if you can play along with her (like over her shoulder) that's always better because, while it's not often in my experience, there are still creeps or kids out there who want to turn these games into dating sites.

I don't have anything positive to say about Fortnite other than it beats drugs or harmful challenges on social media. XD

Personally I'd be delighted if my daughter is a gamer when she gets older. I think screens are the future, honestly expect that in 10 years kids will all be wearing augmented reality glasses 24/7, so of all things I hope she's more into games that can build skills (or at least provide a good story and escapism) rather than being interested in social media that can cause her to make harmful choices (tide pod challenge anyone?) to stay relevant and fit in.

Edit: I wanted to say, the screen obsession does start early. My daughter is just over 3 months but even so she's very interested in what my husband or I do on the computer and the TV if it's on while we're feeding her or walking her around. The screen doesn't beat a human face or one of the crinkly books or wooden puzzles we show her though.
 
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Amanda Jane

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Nov 6, 2020
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@Moonstone Thanks, that's really encouraging. My husband is pretty traditional in his attitudes to screens and gaming and I spend a lot of time advocating for moderation rather than straight out bans. I think kids are automatically drawn to any kind of visual stimulus, and the main concern I have is for their attention span for anything other than the super-colorful and quick buzz of the virtual world. That is what worries me most about Fortnite. The hits are so easy to get that it encourages kids to expect instant reward rather than a slower more realistic equation of effort to result. This very quickly makes for that typical restless and angry mood that too much gaming seems to trigger. I agree though that keeping them away from Social Media is really important, especially for my daughter who is quite an anxious child.
As for starting early, really young children are so absorbing of any new thing that nothing will escape their interest. The main priority I think is to interest them in communicating with others and developing good speech. I know several small children of parents who are mostly online for work and aren't great talkers. Some of these kids really don't talk at all, and then haven't found it easy to fit in when they got to kindergarten and have had to socialize, share and take a bit of the rough with the smooth in groups of kids. It comes back to moderation in all things!
 
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Moonstone

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Nov 9, 2020
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@Amanda Jane I think it's great that you don't ban your kids from these things. Actually, I kinda think that banning something makes it more appealing to them.

But I definitely hear you about the kids who have a hard time socalizing because of screens. I definitely had that problem when I was young but started growing out of it as a teen and as my parents forced me to be independent (ex: I was expected to use my own money to buy games/consoles, so needed to do odd jobs for neighbors if I wanted to afford them) I also know a few parents who bring their kids to business social events and don't let them use their phone so they need to talk to adults. This works on some kids but my mom tried that with me once and I didn't cooperate (refused to talk to people and instead sulked at a table by myself) so it won't work with all of them.
 

Amanda Jane

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Nov 6, 2020
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@Moonstone That's the thing, all kids are different, and it so much depends on their peer group and the phase they're going through in adolescence or teenage. Really good idea to have to earn all the games and paraphernalia. I've recently started employing my daughter to clean the house as she wants to make some money to spend online. Her standard of cleaning is still pretty low, but she's learning, and at least it also helps me! My son spends all his allowance on gaming, and is continually begging for an increase, which he doesn't succeed with. For now he has nothing else really to connect him with his friends outside in the world so I don't make too many waves about it. Once life returns to normal again though we'll see if he calms down some on the gaming front.
 
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