08 December, 2014

Tip toeing through the forest of parenting in an electronic age

Today's the first day of the Christmas/summer holidays for our boys. We're trialling a new strategy. This is what the boys found when they finally got to the breakfast table:

Knowing that our boys can whip up a storm of nitpicking at the words and rules, we've deliberately kept it simple and generous to start with. It's generated some interesting discussion, especially, "We think that unlimited is too much screen time."

I countered with, "I did modify it with 'virtually'! But our goal is to help you do some self-management here." 

We don't want to be spending the holidays with stopwatches in our hands and be fighting constantly over how long they spend on electronic devices. We also want them to begin to self-limit.

Note that as I type at 9.46am, all the above jobs have been done and the boys have gone out for a jog/ride together. No protesting, no problems!

Note also that we'll be taking them to 1 ½ hrs of wrestling training this evening, and insisting on electronic-free reading/rest time after lunch.

We've limited their access to electronic things much more in the past. Usually they get half an hour each on Saturday and Sunday (with only a little more on holidays). And TV is rarely on for more than 45 minutes in a day (except when the cricket is on). 

But with our eldest (15) buying his own tablet three months ago, the balanced has shifted a little. We haven't restricted his time on his own tablet except when homework wasn't getting done, or other important tasks. I'm not sure if we were wise or not. Like all parents of our age, this is new. We're tip toeing through territory that didn't exist when we were young.

But with the younger two having school iPads next year and our oldest having a "Bring your own device", things are about to get more complicated. So, we continue to tip toe.

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