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Education Kids, and smart phones, aged 10.

Discussion in 'General' started by Behemoth, 5 Feb 2019.

  1. Behemoth

    Behemoth Timelord in training

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    Good evening all, and fellow parents.

    I don't tend to post about my personal life on here, I don't see that I need to air my dirty laundry in a public forum. With that being said however I do need some advice on the above subject.

    My lovely partner has three kids, neither of them are mine but I've come to love them as such and they are generally (when all behaving) a good bunch of kids. The eldest of the three is 10 years old. She isn't your normal 10 year old though, sadly.

    We are waiting for her to be diagnosed, either autism, or aspergers. The process for those that know takes ages because they can't rubber stamp her condition with one thing or another and we may have to wait at least another year before she's asseed.

    Anyway the reason for my post is that it seems 10 is the age they all get smart phones, I personally don't agree a 10 year old needs one. We tried the Pay as you go sim card on a really cheap and nasty phone. For a time that seemed to work well as it was only ever intended for her to contact my partner, and her father.

    She annoyingly gave her number to all her friends and in the space of two days ate away at all her credit. I was all for her not having any kind of phone, but as said before she isn't normal and doesn't see things the way a normal, rational person would do.

    To add insult to injury all her school, well I shall say class mates all pretty much got iPhones, or some kind of tocuh screen device. As you can imagine the little girl comes home to us asking for iMessage & WhatsApp. Without even thinking I just give a flat no. I don't agree that kids should have phones, they don't need them and I see them as devices for responsible people to keep in contact, not toys.

    Long story short, and according to other Mum's age 10 is about right for letting kids have these things (and very much with my strong dissaproval as we'll end up, no ARE paying for it) my lovely Vicky orders a Sky Sim only deal. Unlimited calls and texts, and 2 gig of data £6.00 a month.

    The brick with numbers doesn't work (the old phone). It was locked to Tesco mobile. I was quite happy to give up one of my spare Android Phones, but no aparantly kid wanted a new one. So off we go, to Argos and cheap and cheerful Alba phone is acquired.

    She's on the flaming thing non stop. As soon as she wakes up she using it, as soon as she comes home from school she shuts herself away in her room and she's on it. In two days she's used more minutes than I have in the last two months!

    It's totally relentless. I know its new to her, but how do we limit the amount of time she spends on the thing? We do the whole phone off by 7 in the evening, and she's not allowed to keep it in her room at night.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. silk186

    silk186 Canadian

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    Having spent time around children with Autism, good luck. Serious, I don't know if you can really do much. It is difficult enough to limit screen time with a child that isn't on the spectrum. The carrier may have some parental lock features that limited network access from 9 pm to 9 am for example with the exception of emergency numbers. You can also limit wifi access at home.

    For children (and adults) with autism, they love stimulus, repetition and routine. Phones have a tactile response and auditory feedback, it's like a handheld sensory room. The only way I can see it working is if you offer something even more interesting/stimulating that she is really into. At 10 years old, you are not going to be able to rationalise the importance of limiting screen time to pursue face-to-face interactions in an effort to promote healthy social development. Especially when 'all' her friends are playing with their phones.
     
  3. Dr. Coin

    Dr. Coin Active Member

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    Do you prefer whisky or scotch... Sorry cannot be more help.
     
  4. liratheal

    liratheal Sharing is Caring

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    I don't disagree with you at all. I see kids with phones and think "oh jeez". Admittedly, that's tainted by my own hatred of these slabs of glass and miniature internet..

    I suspect, with peer pressure what it is, there isn't really a way to avoid kids having phones. I remember how cruel kids can be for even the most impossible to change things (one kid at our school had meningitis as a baby and as such had a limp and a duff arm. He was a little tweaked, too, and he was teased mercilessly by damn near everyone), and a phone I suspect is today's addidas PE bag.

    If I were in your boat, I'd be talking to your partner about your concerns, and looking at what can be done from a technical standpoint to limit the device in the evening (say, half an hour before bed time or something?) If your partner is on the same page as you. At the end of the day, though, I think it's more your partner's decision to make than anyone elses. A doubly difficult decision with the addition of the daughter being somewhere on the spectrum. At a guess, to the daughter, it's imperative that this phone be functional so she can keep in constant contact with everyone for reasons you and I would find bewildering?

    Personally, I'd explain my concerns to my partner and quietly grind my teeth over the situation when no one's looking. Not having kids, or even really liking them, I don't know how much salt needs to be applied to this here stream of consciousness.
     
  5. mrlongbeard

    mrlongbeard Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to 21st century kids, get used to it, don't fight it, go with the flow, anything else will see your blood pressure rocket and endless arguments.

    Sensible boundaries are the key, off by a certain time, not to be kept in the room at night (as yo're doing), just ensure they get out in the real world and catch some vitamin D as often as possible and it'll all come good in the long run
     
  6. LennyRhys

    LennyRhys Oink!

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    My boy (7) has ASD and we manage things by allotting "screen time" on a daily basis. Both he and his sister play tablet games and watch TV, and once they've used up their screen time allowance for the day, that's it. It's not easy maintaining or enforcing this but... as you know, that's one of the challenges of being a parent. Re. the comment above, there's nothing worse than "going with the flow" - children should respect and obey their parents, not the other way round (or is that passe now, in 2019?).

    It's doubly difficult when you and your partner don't see eye-to-eye, and on that matter you have my sympathy. The best thing to do is try to sit down with her and have an open talk about how you're feeling, and why you think it'd be a bad idea for a kid of ten years to have a smartphone ("because reasons" won't cut it). You will probably have to compromise, but that's a good outcome, believe me.
     
  7. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    That was kind of what I was thinking. Granted mine is 6, so the "but he/she has/does this/that" is only just starting, but what happened to saying "Tough sh_, I'm the boss, deal with it" and just accepting the fact that your kid is going to pretty much be an a-hole for the next 8 years.

    Smartphones and what they put at a kid's fingertips are the absolute worst for mental health, to boot.

    Now how to work with the partner, that's another matter, since I assume she will presume she's "more" in charge (as to be fair, is probably right)
     
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  8. Zoon

    Zoon Hunting Wabbits since the 80s

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    Your best bet? Honestly? Give her a Samsung, install Kids Mode, and limit daily usage to X hours, or create a shutdown time. Tell her that's how much she gets, and that's it. And make sure the data usage is capped at 2GB and will shut off at that point.

    My experience of teenagers is that they will just sit there making funny faces to each other over group chats in short video clips etc all night. So just make sure that homework is done before she disappears into her room.
     
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  9. Behemoth

    Behemoth Timelord in training

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    Afternoon all.

    We are pretty much on the same hymn sheet about this topic. So much so it's scary. However, I've had to concede, as much as she does and we both actually need to compromise. Vicky herself doesn't agree that a 10-year-old needs a smartphone, but she has spoken to many of her friends who have children of the same age and it appears that it is now the done thing, and is seen as normal. Peer pressure reigns supreme, she came home from school a few weeks ago, crying, because people were extracting the pith out of her for having a very basic phone.

    We have put in some caveats to the child in question, some of which she is already trying to backtrack on.

    1) it's her birthday present, her birthday is in June, she is getting nothing else.
    2) The phone is turned off at 7 pm
    3) It is kept out of her room overnight
    4) If she breaks it, she won't be getting another
    5) We can take it away as and when we desire if we think it is impacting on her mental health or her school work
    6) These rules are non-negotiable and apply at weekends too.
     
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  10. Byron C

    Byron C *psst!* This guy is a loser!

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    Ironically an iPhone might actually be useful here. I've not really looked into it in too much detail, but the new Screen Time feature does let you set limits and parental controls on how often the phone - and specific apps - can be used. I'm not sure it can ban access to the phone during certain times, but if you're taking the phone off her at night then that may not be an issue for you. I only really look at the reports out of pure curiosity, I don't really have any need for the parental controls, but it is somewhat alarming the first time you see it!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    You can set up "Family Screentime", which I'm assuming allows you to see the reports for other devices in the "Family" from your own - assuming you're all using supported iPhones/iPads, that is. It's supported on the iPhone SE at the moment, so if you can find one in excellent condition second-hand (or maybe even a 6S) then it needn't cost an arm and a leg. But it will certainly be more than an Argos/Currys PC World/Carphone Warehouse/etc cheapie Android, and may not be quite as useful if the rest of the household are Android users.

    I'm happy to have a dig/play around on my phone if you want to know more.
     
  11. Anfield

    Anfield Well-Known Member

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    Also check your router config to see if it has options to schedule wifi being on / off so you can stop the kid from using the internet while you are at work / sleeping etc.
     
  12. Zoon

    Zoon Hunting Wabbits since the 80s

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    Kids mode on a Samsung is in my opinion unparalleled. iPhone just doesn’t have anything close. You can restrict which applications are permitted, prevent installations, and limit usage.

    So much so my 5 year old has had a Samsung tablet since he was 2 and can be trusted to use it in a balanced manner.
     
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  13. rollo

    rollo Well-Known Member

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    Kid mode is awesome agree alot on this, We use this for our kid and they then learn the limit that they are allowed without us saying. Makes buying the device worth while.

    I shut myself away as a kid playing video games not sure the difference between a smartphone and video games is alot in all honesty
     
  14. bawjaws

    bawjaws Well-Known Member

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    Not sure how old you are, but when I were a lad computer games were not online in any way so they're not really comparable with phones which have access to social media and the general horrors of the internet age :)

    But I take your point that spending endless hours in front of a screen, unsupervised, is not ideal regardless of whether it's an iPhone or a ZX Spectrum.
     
  15. Behemoth

    Behemoth Timelord in training

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    Neither of us wanted an iPhone, even used ones are silly money. If we do find she has been using it a night when she shouldn't be then we can take it away, it happens quite often with the tablet.
     
  16. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    Are you actively tracking this, or just if you catch her out?

    You could quite easily detect it with a pihole or the like, or depending on your router see active clients there.
     
  17. Behemoth

    Behemoth Timelord in training

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    Its switched off, kept in a communal area in the living room. She can't do anything in there without waking up the dog. The dog barks at night when anyone goes in there.

    I do get the point though, we tried limiting time spent on a device when she was using Vicky's laptop, but that ended up stressing her out more seeing a timer counting down. This is the trouble when dealing with a kid on the spectrum, they just don't function like a normal person. Everything in life has to be centered around her. We've spent more on her this year so far than we have on the other two kids :(
     
  18. cjmUK

    cjmUK Old git.

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    I use Qustodio for my kids (10 & 14), and they absolutely hate it, which I take as a measure of effectiveness. There are lost of features, but apart from the usual safety related stuff, the most useful features for me are the time restrictions - both when the devices can be used and for how long. In my son's case, he is allowed 3 hrs/day on his PC during the week, but only 90mins on Fortnite. Daughter is limited to 90mins daily on Youtube....

    There is a free version with more limited features, but I pay approx £25/annum for Premium (5 devices).
     
  19. Wakka

    Wakka Yo, eat this, ya?

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    The death of splitscreen gaming was the death of gaming as a social event.

    I had more fun in 1 night of Goldeneye/Rage Wars/Smash Bros/Perfect Dark with my school mates than I did in the YEARS of BF2 pubbing.

    I see kids screaming obscenities into headsets or crying with rage at being beaten in Fortnite or CoD and it makes me sad that when I was their age, I was having an absolute blast with NHL Hitz or Timesplitters with mates in the same room.
     
  20. bawjaws

    bawjaws Well-Known Member

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    Same here, except it was the Amiga and Worms, Supercars 2, Moonstone, North & South, Speedball 2, SWOS... plus all of the multiplayer PD games like Gravity Force, Bratwurst, Scorched Tanks and Knights.

    And going even further back, the Spectrum and Way of the Exploding Fist, Bruce Lee and Battlecars.
     

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