L ast week a head teacher at a London primary school told me he had observed that boys who were playing online games brought increased aggression into the playground. Her son is now 21, but his gaming addiction started in primary school, and by the time he was 14 he was gaming for up to five hours a day.
But they told us it was normal, so after our meeting we thought we were maybe overreacting. We tried to understand what he was getting out of it. Well, he was rather good at it, it was giving him street cred with his friends, and playground recognition. Y et the addiction got worse and he became increasingly withdrawn and aggressive. Desperate, Amber and her husband tried turning their Wi-Fi off at But their son would sneak in when they were asleep, and by the morning it was back on. They saw therapists and counsellors, but nothing worked, their son would always find a way to game.
By the sixth form, he was skipping school and going to gaming hubs for the entire day. He was also playing online and staying up all night to compete in different time zones. It impacted on the whole family and overshadowed everything. His gaming friends would talk to each other online in the most awful language, which he would repeat. He did everything he could to make us miserable when we tried to limit it. But even though he has now given up gaming, he has replaced it with online gambling. Could she have done anything differently?
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Can she offer any advice? We were both on our phones a lot for work, so it was difficult, but it meant he could always accuse us of hypocrisy. I nnovations are popping up all the time to help parents control screen time. This worked for a while, until my computer-savvy daughter worked out how to hack it. Threats ensued, and now if she hacks she loses the phone.
A gadget has recently launched called Circle With Disney. This claims to allow you to manage all the devices in the house, turning off individual apps and setting time limits for online usage. Commonsense Media is an American website that offers detailed reviews of the violence, sex and language in most films and TV programmes, so you can see what is appropriate viewing.
And apps like Forest are popping up to help young people control screen time themselves. This is proving popular with teens looking to focus during exams.http://departure-lounge.jp/wp-content/23-hidroxicloroquina-200mg-cpsulas.php
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Recently my daughter and two friends were invited to see an experimental version of Hamlet with just three actors. I was unsure, but it was brilliant and soon we were all rapping along in the kitchen. After the play they were delighted. Social media can help shy kids connect, has opened up a world of exciting information, aids research and school work, gives a sense of achievement, can allow them to decompress and express themselves, and allows us to check they are safe. I t has also inspired our teens to be entrepreneurial. They see YouTubers who have made millions, and influencers who run successful businesses.
As many core professions are being wiped out by the digital revolution, this awareness and knowledge should serve them well. We urge you to turn off your ad blocker for The Telegraph website so that you can continue to access our quality content in the future. Visit our adblocking instructions page. Telegraph Lifestyle Family Parenting. Most of us grew up in an age of no mobile phones… of books, magazines and long chats on the home phone Laurel Ives.
How much time should my child really spend online?
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How can I avoid huge rows? The biggest gift we can give our children is to help them think critically about what it all means Claire Katzenellenbogen. What should I do? Schools have an opportunity here to smoke this out, and to talk to them about what is right Dr Richard Graham. Have I lost them? His gaming friends would talk to each other online in the most awful language Amber Greenfield.
How can I use technology itself to help limit screen time?
Encourage Extracurricular Activities
But there are still positive effects of screen time, right? We've noticed you're adblocking. We rely on advertising to help fund our award-winning journalism. Thank you for your support.
Stop doing that! When my tween comes home from school and says, Everyone hates me! You feel like everyone hates you. Why do you feel like that? I ask questions to help her find her own solution. They will gain confidence and problem-solving skills. But, I warn you, old habits are hard to break and I really have to concentrate on restating her feelings and asking questions rather than jumping in to fix it right away. Our family showing off the medals we won by participating in a school fitness fundraiser Photo credit: Travel Mamas.
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If you ARE that mom, good for you! I, however, am not that mom. Taking part in some school activities shows your tween that you care. If you are afraid your tween will find this super uncool, bring along cookies for her friends. You could also pick which school activity works best for you and your schedule. I lay down the ground rules before we get started on any school project: there will be no whining; it is HER assignment, not mine; even if it seems too difficult, we will get through it together.
I always receive a big hug and a heartfelt thank you when we complete a big school project together. I have been encouraging my daughter to try various extracurricular activities for years: swimming, violin, tap dance, ballet, t-ball and more. Nothing really ever stuck. I recently signed her up for a musical theatre class and she is thriving. Nothing makes my tween happier than a mother-daughter mani-pedi Photo credit: Colleen Lanin. We also embark on family adventures together nearly every weekend.
The focus was all on me. I loved it. I loved it a little too much, really. When I got my hearing tested due to numerous ear infections, I pretended not to hear the beeping sounds. Instead of raising my hands to the beeps, I sat still, feigning bad hearing so I could continue to have more one-on-one time doctor days with my mom. I wound up getting tubes surgically placed in my ears. It was worth it for those sweet mother-daughter memories, if you ask me!
Suddenly, I get more hugs and more thank yous.
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And no one even has to get surgery to make it happen! Then she brought home a completed school assignment last week about heroes. Of course, there are still the ups and downs of tweenhood. What tips do you have to make tweens less sassy and more sweet? Let us know in the comments below!
As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.