Real vs. Virtual Summer Goals

I think one of the hardest things to do as a parent is help control the amount of “electronics” kids get during the summer. I have chatted with my kids several times about living in the “real” world vs. the virtual world. Kiddos on the autism spectrum are drawn to electronics, so I have to be particularly careful.

In the past our rule in the summer was no electronics until after lunch (or around 1:00) and then they had to take a break after 2 hours, but this summer I have already told them that we are cutting back even more. They will get an hour and 1/2 of electronics with the possibility to earn more electronics by doing extra chores, practicing the piano, etc.

If you have a kiddo who is glued to their screen, they also have really cool apps now that allow parents to control if their Ipod can only be used as a phone or not at all. Check out the “Our Pact” app or others like it.

Other rules we have had in place for a LONG time is that mom and dad always have your passwords; all devices are charged in mom and dad’s bedroom at night; if you are on anything with internet access you have to be in the kitchen or living room (most of my kids only have YouTube for Kids as the only thing they can use to search stuff online). Also, devices are off after dinner (although my teenager still can check his texts). And no, my 10 and 12 year old do not have phones nor do they need them right now.

Tell me what great ideas you have or apps/controls you use to help your kids learn moderation in the virtual world?

I think the best example we can set as parents is to limit our screen-time as well. Kids learn by example, after all–so set your limits too (and don’t be afraid to use a timer) :).

Tomorrow–the list of “non-electronics” stuff we made to do this summer.

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