"The best times you are going to have in life are at the dinner table and in bed." Old Italian saying. So relax, and enjoy the simple things!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Limiting Computer Time: Simple Living in Practice

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internet log off
Source: https://www.facebook.com/InterNationsKyiv

We have struggled with ways to limit my teenage son's use of the computer for game playing. He has difficulty seeing how many hours of his life are being eaten away by hours spent in our basement playing games on the computer. This is time he could be spending outdoors and face-to-face socializing with friends. We try to tell him, "You are only a teenager once... you don't want to miss out on this time in your life."

We don't want to eliminate game playing completely because just like junk food, if you are never allow it, and you get alone with it... you'll binge. 

On line game playing is part of his culture... as a family we are not about checking out of mainstream completely, but we are about finding a healthy balance between technology and simple living.

One of the biggest problems about limiting game playing, and this is true for adults too, is that time passes differently when you are on a computer. 


Einstein said, "Time is relative." It really is... when you are absorbed in a virtual world. 

My husband and I would set timers and say to my son. "You have been on the computer for 2 hours, you need to take a break." He would respond, "No, I haven't. I just got on!" And a fight would break out because his perception of time was really different then ours.

Getting TimesUpKidz has really helped to sync our son's gaming time with the clock. It is a program that you load on to your computer. We give our son access to his games through this program. Within this program you can set limits for the total time per week of computer usage, and you can create time blocks within a day that the computer can be turned on. When you run out of your allotted time, the computer turns off...simple.

Before we installed this program we sat down with my son and discussed how much time he really needed to play games verses how much time he needed to do other activities and his homework. We also talked about what days and what times in each of those days would be best for him to play on the computer.

It was really important to have my son involved in deciding on the perimeters of his computer usage. 


We feel that learning self-discipline and self-control are critical life skills, especially to a kid that is growing up in time that is very focused on self-indulgence. 

So far, using the program has reduced tension around my son't computer usage. When my son logs into the computer he can see how much time he has to use the computer for that day and for the rest of the week. 

He is trying to make more conscious decisions about his game playing based on when he knows other friends might want to play a group game and when he has homework assignments due.

As a parent it has been great to have an objective third party, i.e. TimesUpKidz, between my son and my husband and I.  I think the planning aspect of using this program is an invaluable life skill for my son... I highly recommend checking out this program for your child or even for yourself or your partner. Adults as well as kids have problems controlling their gaming time. This is really a simple living program, you set it and make adjustments periodically...seriously: TimesUpKidz !!!

TimesUpKidz Computer Timer

TimesUpKidz Computer Timer


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6 comments:

  1. Looks like a great program. I went through similar battles with my children. We eliminated cable television, tried to limit internet time ( I think they often explained it away saying they were doing a report for school ), and put the electronic games away during the school week. It was a constant battle, but as young adults they thank me for it. They all developed interests and skills that many of their peers lack because their lives were not filled with screen time.

    I hope my wife doesn't find out about this TimeUpKidz and try to use it on me.

    Thanks,
    Dan Garner
    ZenPresence.com

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    1. It is good to know that the battle is worth it. You see it the amount of time people spend in front of the TV and then complain, "I don't have time for ..." It's all a balancing act.

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  2. I'm so glad you shared this at Motivation Monday! I feel like we didn't handle the computer issue very well with my oldest son. I think I'll try this first with him.

    With the little ones, they have to finish getting ready for school in the morning before doing electronic time. Electronic time is only between 7 and 7:30, and if they're not ready, oh, well. They also get to use the computer after school for their school's first in math program. I have found 25 minutes is usually enough time for them to do the math games. I set a timer for both times during the day. I have more issues with the morning time than the afternoon time.

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    1. A timer used to work with my son but as a teenager now he throws the thing when it goes off. Timesupkidz gives him more control over his computer time and he doesn't get as angry about when it is over.

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  3. This looks like a very handy programme, and I like how it helps kids feel accountable and in control as well.

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    Replies
    1. It is great to see technology having a positive effect on kids behavior.

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