Next Topic: Screen Time

First off? THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. Thank you for commiserating, for reassuring, for listening. And for those of you who said you saw the fateful deleted entry, thank you for not holding that moment of weakness against me. I see good moments periodically, like when he storms off to his room when tell him to instead of yelling, “NO!” and trying to hit. Or when he IMMEDIATELY apologizes for something. I don’t actually feel like I’m raising a serial killer, but it is hard sometimes to see a positive future for him when he’s kicking me. But we’ve had several good days in a row, so, I’m no longer wallowing in the dark depression of fears of failed parenting. So…YAY!

Now! On to other topics I want your advice about since yesterday went so well! How do you handle TV/Screen time in your house? In my house TV use is monitored, but just in a general way.

  • You can’t turn it on without permission.
  • You can only watch pre-approved programming.
  • Periodically Mom will yell TURN OFF THE TV AND GO OUTSIDE! and that has to be obeyed.
I'm am fully aware that most of my problems with this stupid game is caused by my own issues with self-image as a teenager. BUT STILL.
I’m am fully aware that most of my problems with this stupid game is caused by my own issues with self-image as a teenager. BUT STILL.

That’s about it. I do try to make sure that they’re doing OTHER things for longer each day than they are watching TV, and I’m okay with that standard. The problem comes with Nikki’s Kindle Fire. She got it for Christmas and we’re just kinda flailing around with how to manage the use of it. Yesterday I freaked out and deleted all of the Hair/Makeup apps/games she has on it because I got so sick of checking out what she was playing and seeing some princess face and she’s REMOVING IT’S PIMPLES. (Seriously. That’s a game.) Or she’s picking out it’s outfit. Or she’s doing it’s hair. I mean – I KNOW I would have loved those games too at her age – and I turned out just fine. But I’m terrified she’s going to grow up with some sort of self-image crisis playing these damn games all the time. “FIND A MATH GAME, JEEZUS!” is what I griped at her when I finally removed all ninety-million glamorous girl type games.

So…yeah…how do you monitor what apps/games they use? I actually think I’d rather her play Temple Run all day than that crap.

And then…when can they use it? I have two rules right now with the Kindle Fire:

  • No TV on the Kindle without our permission. (Because she was getting around our TV rules for a bit with the Kindle.)
  • No double screen time. You can’t play on the Kindle AND watch TV at the same time. ONE SCREEN AT A TIME.

But beyond that I’m just winging it. I’m trying to encourage her to find smarter games and apps (any suggestions?) reminding her that I’d give her more Kindle time if she was doing something I thought was at least good for her brain. But I don’t know how much Screen Time (TV + Kindle) is a good level.

Let me clarify: How much is a “good” level for a Mom working from home every day. If I didn’t have actual work to do I’d probably manage it a little better but I do need to get work done so screen time helps with that. So! If you need the screen as a babysitter what is the limit at which you use it before you think, “Okay. This is seriously going to affect they’re development.”

And PLEASE! Share with me some fun apps/games that DON’T cause me to have flashback so to summer daycare in middle school and the jackasses who mocked my acne.

7 thoughts on “Next Topic: Screen Time”

  1. I use the Free Time app to control what they have access to on their Fire. It keeps them locked out of all the other stuff and you pick only what you want them to see so they can’t browse apps or videos etc.. But you can add whatever you approve to it.

    Also they don’t know their passwords for the Amazon account they are connected to. (or any social media password for that matter) so they can’t get around much without that.

    Minecraft and Subway Surfer are their two go-to games. Minecraft is big because they somehow can play with friends if they are on the same wi-fi. But it’s the free version, and no in app purchases allowed.

    I’ve never had to limit their time because they never remember to charge the darn things and they run out of battery.

    We have a no people show rules for kid channels. In other words, most cartoons are okay but nothing with real people. I find their behavior takes a dive after just one afternoon of listening the blessed little Disney tweens. You know the ones where every adult character is an idiot .. Respecting adults and not having arguing or having a smart mouth are out big battles and those shows just don’t align with that.

    They love shows like American Pickers, Gator Boys, Ultimate Survival, and stuff like that though – and frankly those shows are more kid friendly than most kid shows. But no reality shows where people are tearing other people down, like Dance Moms or Toddlers and Tiaras.

    During the summer we have a no TV before 12:00 rule. They can’t roll out of bed and turn on the tube. Also assignments and chores must be completed. And no food on the sofa. They can see the TV from the kitchen table which must be picked up after eating.

  2. My son, who is Nikki’s age, loves Stack the States and Math Bingo for educational stuff. He also loves Temple Run, Cut the Rope and Angry Birds. I’m in a similar situation because I’m a photographer and do all of my editing at home, and my kids are 2, 3.5, 5.5 and 7, so finding something they al like to watch is tough. I usually let them watch a little first thing after breakfast (so I can exercise) and then a little while the baby is napping so I can work. Pre-approved programs only, though, like you. I will be checking these comments like crazy to get some new ideas!

  3. I second Stack the States. My eight year old loves that. Also Raz-Kids is a good reading app. Common Sense Media has some good suggestions too.

  4. I enjoy playing Stack the States!

    We are big Club Penguin fans at our house.

  5. My kid is a Minecraft addict so I don’t have any advice about screen time. We kind of go with the flow and as long as his grades are good, his homework gets done, and he reads a book some everyday he can play it. Since I play it too it actually gives us something fun to do together.

  6. My kids are a bit older than yours (10, 11). They both have tablets and laptops. We do not limit screen and we never have. At 3 and 4, they watched up to 6 hours of TV a day. I know bad mom, but they also read and played outside. They are both very intelligent scoring well on all tests and in advanced classes.

    So while I do limit what kinds of games they can play, mostly Minecraft, Temple Run, and Subway Surfer, I do not limit the amount of time they are on. And we have the same rule, if Mom says it is time to go outside, then it is time no questions asked.

    I really think you do some much with your kids and give them so many awesome opportunities that even if they spent 12 hours a day every day in front of a screen they would still turn out brilliant. They are active and enjoying life. You are a great example to them about being active.

  7. But you do limit screen time! You said so yourself when you tell them to go outside. 🙂 That’s all I meant – I know they should not be left in charge or they would never go outside or pick up a book so I was just wondering how everyone else manages it. Your kids may naturally choose sometimes to read and play outside, but mine wouldn’t 😉 My son gets bored with TV but my daughter could – honest to god – watch 12 hours a day and never get bored. My son would probably go outside on his own once in awhile without being told to but Nikki would never leave the couch if we didn’t make her. Heh.

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