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ereks mom

How much time does your younger teen dd spend on the computer?

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This question is mainly directed at moms of 13-15 year old girls who have no siblings at home. I am asking this for the benefit of EK. I am trying to figure out what computer-time limits to set for her now that ER is away at college & not here for her to hang out with in the afternoons as she always has in the past.

 

After she finishes her assignments, EK helps around the house a bit (laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc.) and she will sometimes read or watch television or do some kind of art/craft stuff. But mostly, she likes to play on the computer. She loves to play around on MySpace & Facebook (& sometimes YouTube (dh & I monitor these), and she LOVES to take pictures and edit them with photo editing software. She also enjoys writing stories on the computer. She spends a few hours a day on this.

 

We are in a rural area and no girls her age live nearby. There are no teen girls in our church except EK. Her best friend lives 40+ miles away, so they see each other only occasionally, but they talk via cell phone or IM almost daily. She truly is a social person, but our opportunities are extremely limited, and I've had to work hard to find some. She has extracurricular activities a couple of afternoons/evenings a week (drama class, youth choir, youth Bible study). And just last week, we also started getting together with a small group of other homeschooled girls, and we'll see them 2 or 3 times a week for 2-3 hours at a time.

 

She needs to be around people -- other girls, especially -- but it has been terribly difficult to arrange. That's why she's been spending so much time on the computer. For her, it's a social outlet, and I haven't wanted to take that away from her.

 

So, I'm curious. How much time does your dd spend on the computer each day?

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My oldest dd is 12, but her situation very much mirrors that of your dd. In fact, if I didn't know better, I'd think you were writing about my dd! :)

 

My dd spends a lot of time on her digital art, and writing on the computer. She has a group of long-distance friends that she chats with online, and that she takes classes with each summer. She proudly considers herself a "geek girl" and has very little in common with any of the middle schoolers in our neighborhood, and very little patience for their pop-culture focused worldview. She's often lamented not being able to find other girls nearby who like birds, drawing, art, programming, books and writing. That's when I tell her what my dad told me... someday you'll go off to college and meet people like you. :lol:

 

Honestly, I go back and forth about how much is too much. On the other hand, I grew up spending long hours on the computer (I got my first computer when I was 8... it was a TI 99/4A! hehe), and I have no trouble disciplining myself with regards to computer use.

 

I tend to think that as long as it's not interfering with her doing other things away from the computer, then it's okay. As long as she has balance in her life in other things, then using the computer as a social outlet is okay for now. And hey... her sister is two years younger, so they're really best friends.

 

I don't know though. I worry that when she's grown, she'll either love me for choosing this way of life for her, or she'll resent me for not putting her in school.

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I don't count time on the computer that is related to school as "screen time."

 

* Ds 2 takes two online classes, one of which is a programming class,s o he spends 1-2 hours per day on the computer for those classes.

 

* Ds2 writes ALL his papers on the computer. This blesses me, since I can't read his writing. :glare: This probably adds another 30-60 minutes to the total.

 

* He is taking a debate class this year, so obviously that will add hours on to his computer total.

 

Since all of these activities are not completely voluntary and are in fact totally school-related, I don't count them as screen time.

 

He also just got a Facebook account two weeks ago, though he doesn't seem very interested in it, which is good. And he spends time on kite forums. We try to keep his "fun" screen time to about 30 minutes per day.

 

I sympathize with your dd having a hole in her life when her brother left for college. My younger ones can really relate -- the house seems so quiet!

 

I don't have any suggestions for you -- just a hug. :grouphug:

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Guest kacifl

Is 14, 10th grade. She socializes with teens from three different church youth groups, a few homeschool boys/girls and a few public school teens.

She spends about an hour or two every other day or so with the teens in our neighborhood, riding around on our golf cart, shooting basketball, skateboarding and sometimes swimming.

 

She would love to spend all day on Facebook and Myspace. But... she has to do school, chores, some PE first. After her friends go home, around dinnertime, she is on the computer. In my day, it was the phone. We were on it constantly.

 

The problems that we have now is she isn't interested in reading anymore. I have to push her to read books.

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DS, 13, .................zero.

 

Not exactly in your situation, but we are kind of non Computerized around here

 

:seeya:

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My oldest dd is 12, but her situation very much mirrors that of your dd. In fact, if I didn't know better, I'd think you were writing about my dd! :)

 

Just change girl to boy of course ;)

 

My dd spends a lot of time on her digital art (ds has requested a Wacom Bamboo Fun tablet for his birthday, and writing on the computerhe is helping one of his cyberfriends edit her novel, he loves grammar . She has a group of long-distance friends that she chats with online, and that she takes classes with each summer. She proudly considers herself a "geek girl" and has very little in common with any of the middle schoolers in our neighborhood same here, he thinks the neighborhood boys are silly, and very little patience for their pop-culture focused worldview. She's often lamented not being able to find other girls nearby who like birds, drawing, art, programming, books and writing yep, yep. That's when I tell her what my dad told me... someday you'll go off to college and meet people like you. :lol:

 

I don't know though. I worry that when she's grown, she'll either love me for choosing this way of life for her, or she'll resent me for not putting her in school.This keeps me awake at night...sigh.

 

I really want him to find some like-minded friends, but it has been difficult. We do karate and he participates in game night at the library. I am not very social myself, and therefore, not very helpful in modeling making friends. His father is more social, so I'm hoping he can guide him better.

 

He seems to enjoy his "cyberfriends" and I let him spend probably too much time online, but he's either discussing roleplaying, programming or helping people with their projects (writing, illustration ideas, etc.). He does other stuff (draw, legos, wii, bikes,reads) with his free time, so iit doesn't seem like he is on the computer a lot - but he probably is on it a lot more than most people here.

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My dd14 is similar. Her brother has a little gang of friends on the street he plays with in the afternoons when school is out. Dd tends to gravitate to the computer- My Space, MSN, emails, art....

I dont know if we can know, yet, we just have to trust our intuition and do our best. Future generations may have the benefit of hindsight, but we don't, yet.

I suspect that as long as there are other aspects to life- physical activity, real life contact with friends, activities that are not computer related (my 2 are involved in Scouts, gymnastics, and have homeschool freinds and activities, and dd is very artistic so spends a lot of time on art). In the afternoons after schoolwork is done, she tends to want to connect with her peers, online. I have noticed that the time she spends on there has increased. I sometimes pull her off and send her for a walk, or a chore, or to tidy something, or just tell her to plain get off. It would be easy for her to spend 2-3 hours on there in the afternoons, and I do often get the feeling- that is a bit too much. I need to watch it. I stopped her taking her computer into her bedroom, and her phone won't text from there, so at least I know she is not on there at nighttime.

She is a popular girl though, with both boys and girls. She is certainly not using the computer to escape or withdraw- more to connect, which sounds like your dd too. I know it has a down side, but I can see the very positive side too. I guess its all about balance. Dd reads, paints, draws, and loves to socialise....so I think its not doing too much harm.

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My dd is 'connected' for several hours in the evenings. Here's her story:

 

My daughter is now in public school. So, for a solid 7 hours a day, I know there is no computer time. Right now, she's participating in an after school sport, so she leaves from school and goes straight to that. She leaves home at 7:20 am and doesn't get home until nearly 6 pm. As soon as she gets home, she wants to be online (Facebook). I let her. But, after a half hour or so, I do ask her what her homework looks like for the night. I'm not too stirred up about the amount of time she's "on". She is chatting with friends and playing the occasional online game. Like someone else said, in our day, it was the phone. (My parents got a separate line for me!) She's not spending hours a day on her cell phone. And, as yet, she doesnt' have texting. So, the computer chat seems relatively harmless to me. She's getting straight A's, and she has other interests and activities (reading among them) to counter the screen time.

 

I no longer try to impose specific limits in this area in terms of how many hours/minutes a day I'll allow. I feel that as long as she is balancing it with the rest of her life (obligations, rest, other activities), I don't have to meddle so much. Her time there seems natural for her generation, and even healthy in a way as it gives her a chance to "visit" with friends. We are not tv watchers (at all). I do tell her to sign off so she can get to bed at a reasonable hour (10:00), and we insist that she still maintain her family obligations (chores, mealtimes together, etc.), but I'm not really monitoring the total amount of time she's spending online.

 

Oh...for the record, she does have a sibling at home who is almost 12, but there isn't a great deal of "hanging out" going on between them these days. That's more due to the difference in their ages than anything else.

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My dd14 is similar. Her brother has a little gang of friends on the street he plays with in the afternoons when school is out. Dd tends to gravitate to the computer- My Space, MSN, emails, art....

...In the afternoons after schoolwork is done, she tends to want to connect with her peers, online. I have noticed that the time she spends on there has increased. I sometimes pull her off and send her for a walk, or a chore, or to tidy something, or just tell her to plain get off. It would be easy for her to spend 2-3 hours on there in the afternoons, and I do often get the feeling- that is a bit too much.

...She is a popular girl though, with both boys and girls. She is certainly not using the computer to escape or withdraw- more to connect, which sounds like your dd too. I know it has a down side, but I can see the very positive side too. I guess its all about balance. Dd reads, paints, draws, and loves to socialise....so I think its not doing too much harm.

 

Your dd is the same age as EK & they sound very similar.

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I don't count time on the computer that is related to school as "screen time."

 

Me either. DS 13 watches his CD dvds on the computer. He watches Logic dvds. He types all papers. He accesses TPS website to do Latin class and weekly assignments/quizzes. He has his own laptop that he brings upstairs at night.

 

After school/chores he is allowed to check email. No myspace, youtube or web-surfing. He likes the Mythbusters site and he downloads guitar music that he then tries to emulate.

 

Other than that, he is just being a young teen (terrorizing his little sisters, eating me out of house & home, etc) :)

 

But, if he had the opportunity he would be online every spare minute if he could. It is his natural inclination which is why we have boundaries.

 

Not sure if that helps.

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