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What are your technology rules?

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I found this NYT article fascinating this morning:


Growing up Wired


Granted my kids are very young, and technology is mostly a non-issue here, but how do you balance it? What are your rules?


How do you ensure that your kids don't get left behind with technology ("If you’re not on top of technology, you’re not going to be on top of the world.") while simultaneously limiting it ("He sometimes wishes that his parents would force him to quit playing and study, because he finds it hard to quit when given the choice.")?


All I know at this point is that I definitely don't want my kids spending 3-6 hours per day playing video games, or stopping to read a text during study time and conveniently forgetting to pick back up with the books. However, I don't desire to disconnect them from the world and technology either.


What are your policies and how do you flex your rules as the kids grow to teach independence?


ETA: I found it very interesting that the Latin teacher, who teaches a subject many would consider to require a significant amount of focused concentration and mental faculty, was the most upset about incorporating technology into the classroom and had seen the largest drop in numbers of students in advanced classes in recent years.

Edited by FairProspects
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Just finished the article. (in the actual paper, as I am trying to limit my own internet use) Then I cam here to psot a link and start a discusion about the piece (oh the irony).


We are largely screen-free here. The children watch a total of about 3 hours of movies or videos a month, sometimes (in the summer, for example) less than that. The two older boys can play video games for about 15 minutes each once or twice a week in exchange for an extra piano practice.


I think Dh and I are fairly happy with this, and the childred don't complain and seem to appreciate our limits and why we have them.


I do worry about how and when they will enter the world of electronic media, and how they will find a balance. I hope by then they will have the maturity to handle the issue, and that they will have developed habits of physical, creative, and intellectual activity. Not having eay access to video games and the like should help to those ends.

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Our rule is pretty simple: use common sense.


No electronics at the table, and in that vein - excuse yourself to use (most) electronics. Both kids have an iTouch and iPods; we live with other adults who have and generously share use of iPads. I'm not a fan of texting or playing words with friends in front of others, for example. No sharing my attention with an iPod, either - the headphones need to be out if you're going to talk to me LOL. And I expect eye contact :)


The Wii, we don't have any hard and fast rules for. My kids' personalities are such that we haven't really needed any. They ask me before they can use it, but that's true of the computer and television also. I don't remember expressing that as mandatory, they just always have. They ask infrequently, so the answer is almost always yes. They've never asked until school work was completed. I think that goes under the "common sense" category LOL.


I don't watch much television, so by default neither do my kids. 95% of what they watch is pre-recorded on the DVR and I don't limit what they watch or how much they watch. It's a case-by-case basis kind of thing. If the outside weather is nasty or I have a lot of work to catch up on, they'll have a marathon Mythbusters event or something (2-3 episodes in a row). Honestly, though, they probably watch 1-2 hours each week total, if that. And it's usually a sports game or something on the Discovery channel.


They both use the computer a fair amount, though. My 10 year old son has taught himself how to use Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. He's teaching me how to use PowerPoint. He's more fluent in Word than I am. He's learning how to use Photoshop, now, and I'm glad someone is finally addressing the 1000s of photos I have stored on the hard drive! As of yet I don't limit online activity, but the computer is in a public area so it's easy to keep tabs on what's going on. Sometimes he'll do online games like chess, or that Disney penguin thing. He's pretty good at moderating himself, so I haven't had to. He's writing a book, so once schoolwork is done he'll spend an hour or so on the computer working on that. My daughter is only five, and gets about 30 minutes of Starfall time each day while I do math with my son. She's learning how to type, so that's another 10 minutes most days.


Our general house rule is responsibilities before privileges. We've made clear what constitutes responsibilities (housework, schoolwork, sports commitments) and what constitutes privileges (electronics).

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We have tv, Wii, and computers in our home. The only regulating we do is saying "time to turn off___" if we feel it's been on too long. In fact, yesterday my ds(8) turned his Wii off after playing for a while and said "I think it's time for a break." We believe in teaching our dc balance. As long as they get outdoors, do their school work, are kind to each other, and whatever else we may decide, then they are able to play as they like. I am amazed at what they know about the computer and what interesting things they have learned via tv or the Wii( Yes, it's true!). One of my dc taught himself to play a song on the piano because of Wii Music. I've also noticed that when the dc of our friends ,who do not allow tv or Wii, come over..that is all they want to do (play our tv and Wii).

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