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PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2015 9:44 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2014 6:25 pm
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After a morning of histrionics before school I could do with some sage advice and opinions.

I have a 9 y/o who recently discovered a popular app aimed at 'younger' children and works similarly to Instagram. I agreed she could get it as her friend uses it and she wanted to be able to 'speak' to her. However, I have watched this grow into an absolute obsession over the last week or so. I have taken the decision to delete the app, as she isn't able to regulate the time she spends on it, tries to sneak away with the tablet etc and her behaviour if asked to do anything else is just terrible. Cue a hysterical reaction - more on a par with me telling her I'd just killed the family pet or something! She was still hiccuping/sobbing as she went into school, I felt I had to explain to teacher why she was in that state, as the reaction was so extreme. Which, to my mind proves that she shouldn't be using these things if the thought of non use causes this!

Just wondering what other parents view as an acceptable amount of screen time (devices/gaming etc) and whether I was wrong to totally delete the app, I have said we'll discuss it again when I think she can be more sensible with its use. I can't stand that she can become so utterly obsessed with something to the point that she feels nothing else is important or interesting and wants to spend every waking minute on it! Do other children develop obsessions like this and how do others deal with them?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2015 11:01 am 
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That's a difficult situation. In your shoes, I would let her have very limited access to the app and see if she becomes bored in a few weeks. Maybe not before school in the mornings? If it's too difficult to go cold turkey, set some boundaries on her usage.

You could try telling her that some children don't even have access to apps and social media until they start secondary school - mine didn't have a phone until the end of year 6, their phones are subject to random spot checks and I have their passwords etc (but it's quite rare that I take a look). They're 13 and occasionally object on privacy grounds, but they still don't self-regulate successfully so I have to intervene for them. All electronic devices come downstairs half an hour before bedtime - possibly draconian, but they can't exercise any self control :?

In the mornings there simply isn't enough time for anything!


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2015 11:56 am 
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Location: Herts
Well done for taking a stand and being the parent that we are all supposed to be.

There is no self regulation, there is no getting bored and moving on, there is no self control or understanding. This is addiction and it will get worse.

My previously sensible studious and focused dd chose to fixate on snap chat, uvoo and instagram just weeks before her 25 GSCE papers in May.

Like others I waited for her to return to her senses but it just got worse.

Even though she was closer to 17 than 16 at the time I was forced to take drastic action to save her from herself.

The same measures will be coming the way of my Y11 dd very shortly who is now even worse.

It is so bad that I don't see any point actually being with them when they are "using"

I might as well be on Mars!

Take it from someone with a 17 year old and a 15 year old.

Control it now or it will be running your whole family. They don't even have tablets just phones.

My dd has told me about one of her friends who is 17 but would stay up all night on her tablet if her parents did not take it away from her at night. So don't expect a nine year old to exercise control when 17 years olds cannot! DG


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2015 12:18 pm 
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Thank you for the responses, I have been feeling a bit 'wobbly' in my stance since I posted, but I will stay resolute for now and regain the control!

Blue smarties - that's what started the drama this morning! Both children know we have a long standing 'no devices/TV' rule in the mornings. I sometimes relent on TV but only when both are completely ready, fully dressed, bags by the door etc etc and there is 20-30 mins before we leave home. They know this, it's been the case since forever! Today she got up at who knows what time and was sat in pyjamas on the tablet (family one so it stays in the lounge) when I got up at 7.

My older child is not so bad, he has a phone (an old one of ours, with pay as you go sim) in preparation for starting secondary, but it doesn't seem to appeal in same way (yet) and generally remains on his desk, out of charge and not topped up! My daughter though, seems to develop these obsessions (previously a bit like this over minecraft, though not as bad and the novelty did wear off), but I'm not having her getting up early, being tired, neglecting everything else (aka real life) and trying to sneak away with the tablet over a silly app. Having read your post Daogroupie, my heart has sunk a little bit that this may just be the start of many, many battles about such things over the next few (9+?) years :? Is the obsessive thing a girl thing? I hate the makers of these things and the 'hold' they seem to have over children. Grrr.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2015 12:29 pm 
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Midlandsmom wrote:
Is the obsessive thing a girl thing?

The girls seem to be extremley chatty and have this need to chat a lot with their friends. I am not sure boys are like that, certainly not my DS. :lol:

I totally agree with Daogroupie.
Be not afraid to put firm rules or even forbid this app.

Some ten years ago, my DD used Myspace, a kind of Facebook ancestor. You cannot imagine all the rows we had because of this Myspace!! :evil: She lost everyday may be one hour on it, during her GCSE and A levels years. It took her a few years to learn to control herself: at uni, she was fine. :D

Now, my DS has no facebook account (but he can use my account if he needs something) :D . He is very good at controlling his time on apps. However, he has other weaknesses… :roll: :roll: One of them is to be a shopaholic as he always want to buy GCSE books and GCSE CD-Roms. He could tell you all about the different publishers and what they have!!! He would certainly be better than many sales representatives!
As for me, I keep telling him that having books does not equate with knowing the content of them. :(

One year ago, I was attending an adult party and the children had a place to play and watch TV. I have been extremely surprised to observe that a young boy (in his junior years) spend ALL the evening on an ipad instead of playing with the others. I consider this to be extremely detrimental for him!


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2015 12:30 pm 
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I might take a slightly different view but that might be because after a lot of soul searching and trouble with my own mental heath and dealing with the same issues with my son. Just taking stuff away from children is disempowering at a time when they are trying to get their own sense of themselves and want to fit in with friends etc . Yes kids have trouble with self regulating but if they never have a chance to learn then they won't ever be able to. I am not saying don't have boundaries - for example- we turn the wi fi off at a certain time and if my kids were mobile phone obsesed then I would probably keep them out of bed rooms at night.
At 9 you are also probably starting to deal with some hormonal issues that can cause a lot of distress, confusion and moodiness as well - my dd was a nightmare at that age and would fly off the handle at the least little thing and I found a bit of TLC and understanding helped DD learn to cope with her moods.
Books that helped me deal with my dd growing up were these:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/123-MAGIC-THOMA ... mas+phelan
http://www.amazon.co.uk/SURVIVING-YOUR- ... mas+phelan
I can say that my dd has now got to 14 and my ds 13 - it has been a challenge to get this far because it is a nightmare trying to be a parent in this digital age- there has been lots of issues I have struggled with about some of the games ds plays but he does actually get bored now and will go off and do something else- somehow we have got to a place where both DC are pretty sensible and discerning in their viewing habits .
Not sure this is much help just a different view....


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2015 12:44 pm 
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Midlandsmom wrote:
Is the obsessive thing a girl thing?


No the obsession is not just a girl thing. IMO girls tend to get more obsessed with social media stuff like Facebook and Instagram but boys are just as obsessive about games - Playstation, Xbox, online gaming etc.

We had a bit of a scene at the weekend between my wife and DS about too much Playstation and the controllers are currently locked in the boot of her car! :shock:

My view is that its all OK in moderation, but I agree that its very difficult to police when you've all got busy lives.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2015 12:50 pm 
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It's not just a girl thing and it won't get any better. Ours are 15 and 17 and both are equally screen-obsessed in different ways. Daughter becomes pretty much hysterical if separated from her phone while son would spend every waking hour on YouTube if left to his own devices (sorry about the pun).

This year, with GCSEs and A-levels coming up, we've imposed a near total internet ban on their mobile devices via the parent controls on our router (it allows access to be controlled for each device in hourly chunks). There's still unrestricted access for homework etc via PC and laptop in the lounge but everyone can see what's on screen on those which helps to discourage "timewasting".

As well as appearing to do more actual work than they were, both of them (after the initial trauma!) are much happier, more relaxed and more social human beings.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2015 1:11 pm 
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Marking place on this thread! DD (yr 9) is somewhat of a SC/SM fan shall we say! I agree and do think is more a girl thing re social media, but as she says they are all on their phones! My concerns are these young adults are becoming withdrawn, self obsessed, incredibly tired, and then imo schoolwork suffers. Is all about balance but I'm finding it so hard to find that balance with her. She is very head strong and tbh I don't really have the strength to 'take her phone off her' I've tried but if only it were that simple...I do find those that are very keen sports people or have a hobby they are very interested in they tend to be less 'online' but for now gentle nudges that perhaps she should consider other 'hobbies' is my way forward, the rows are just too stressful and tbf in all other areas she is a great DC!

PS She sees me on a my own phone a fair bit so well, I can talk can't I... :wink:


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2015 2:38 pm 
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countrymum wrote:

PS She sees me on a my own phone a fair bit so well, I can talk can't I... :wink:


I've been thinking about that sort of thing today. I'm generally using mine for work (emails etc) when I'm on it, but I am guilty of checking facebook etc every now abd then too. I'm thinking we maybe should have a 'whole family' week off devices in the evenings where parents also 'switch off'. I will see if I can get my other half on board as it might help if she sees we don't have to be controlled by devices, maybe we could then renegotiate terms of use...


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