234

Sit them down for a big, honest conversation. Don't make it about what you want, though. Make it about what they want, and especially ask them, honestly, how they think what they are doing right now is preparing you for your adult life. Ask them how they think you'll be able to handle the adult life when you head out to college with zero prep. Ask them what ...


87

My own upbringing and later career has followed much the same trajectory as you describe, so this is something I too have pondered quite a bit. But as you've already noted, we are indeed no longer in the 90's. I'd argue the technological progress in the intervening decades have rendered that frame of reference obsolete. Unlimited access to devices was by ...


67

OK, this may take some time but it could get you a bit of freedom. Tell your parents that you want to get a job when you turn 16. Use several excuses like, "I want to save up for college," "To get a job in college it will help if I have some experience," "When I'm at college I'll be pretty far away, I'll need some savings to come back home during vacations,...


59

First, setting some baselines. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limited, but not zero, screen time for most children above 2. Under 2, and in particular under 18 months, no screen time other than video chat (Facetime/Skype/etc.). For children younger than 18 months, avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting. Parents of children 18 ...


47

I really don't know what to do anymore, I just don't think that I can live like this any longer. First of all, I want to assure you that you most certainly can live like this, even though it might not be easy. While staying in touch with limited (or no) access to social media is more difficult than it once was, it doesn't make having friends impossible. (As ...


38

I am you 25 years ago. There was no social media at the time, but I recognized myself in that I was not allowed to be with my friends without supervision, no dating until marriage (I always wondered how I was going to get a husband without boyfriends, but this logic was lost in my family) and having to turn off the lights before 10pm. There were many other ...


25

My situation is very similar to what you describe: we have multiple kids — one of whom is 9, one slightly older, and one slight younger — I grew up with mostly "unlimited" computer access (though for me it was the 80s, so no interwebs — I didn't even have a modem); and I, too, struggle with the disparity between what I was allowed to do (or should ...


22

In addition to all the other answers, I'd like to concentrate on the addictive behavior you described. Gaming addiction is just as real as drug addiction and very dangerous because many games, especially "harmless" free of charge mobile apps, are specifically designed to be as addictive as possible. Teenagers (which is an age your son is ...


19

The screen is not the problem. I believe we're dealing with a XY problem here. Surely screens are damaging our children irreparably. Breathe. Relax. Grab a cup of tea and consult the wikipedia list of moral panics. We've been worrying about the effects of new evil stuff on our children since forever. Listening to the devil music (Blues, Jazz, Rock and roll,...


16

There is this German psychiatrist, Prof. Manfred Spitzer, who aggregates research with regards to children and digital device usage, and, inspired by the findings, has written a book of how, he claims, smart phone usage "makes children dumb" (by negatively impacting the developing brain). His angle is basically that, during developmental phase (and he means ...


13

It sounds like you're an only child, and your parents are very concerned for your welfare. There are negligent parents out there, who don't give a sh*t about their children and think only of themselves. Things could be worse... But your parents sound as if they were brought up in the Victorian era. Maybe that's the way they were brought up. Ask them. Find ...


12

As you say in your question, the beneficial part of your access to computers was your early exposure to programming and other productive computer skills, and the part that you are concerned about is over exposure to screens as a primary source of entertainment or distraction. I think that already contains your answer, you should allow as much access as they ...


11

My suggestion: first thing is to find a crisis support center for teens. If you're fortunate to have one in walking distance, go there. Otherwise, find one by phone. You need to find a supportive voice before your mental state gets any worse. Fixing the home situation comes after that. If your high school guidance counselor is of any use (and I ...


11

I'm not going to suggest a quick fix; this takes time. But it involves and imparts life skills. Things that are helpful in situations like these: Realize that it's not your job to fix other people's emotions. This is easier said than done, but it's true. If you try to fix it, your son will have learned nothing about resolving conflict, or preventing ...


10

If I were you, I would start with this short statement summarizing the (lack of) evidence and the AAP guidelines for screen exposure during childhood. The references listed at the end will give you more details about the state of knowledge on this topic. Note that there is more research on screen use in general (including computers, movies, and TV) rather ...


8

I took a different approach but probably not very different in age with my kids. I left an ipad in plain sight and let them do whatever they wanted with it. It had restrictions for in app purchases, but left open otherwise and treated as though it was exactly what an ipad is - useless garbage. I'm exaggerating a little, but in my experience the tablets ...


7

For most things you mentioned, there's one approach that might work, but it's risky, so think through the consequences before you do it: What you can do is blame your parents when talking to your friends and teachers. And then explicitly tell your parents that you're blaming them for everything your friends want you to do that you can't. Chances are they'...


5

There's a good chance your parents are just basting in the horrors of what they did when they were your age. Or what they were surrounded by. Don't forget what the world was like for them when they were your age. There were no cell phones or social media. To them you can live without it, and clearly the only thing kids use cell phones for are to sext and ...


5

It's not that technology itself is bad for children, but, if not content-regulated, it can serve inappropriate content (think 4chan) and, if not time-regulated, it can take time away from learning other important skills. Technology can also serve up stuff that's...not so useful to a child's development, if not necessarily completely unsuitable (think video-...


4

As soon as you think they can handle it without damaging it too much. Having at-will internet access is a blessing, not a burden. First of all, smartphones aren't toys. First and foremost, they are like computers - powerful tools that can be used for a lot of things, including playing games, but that's far, far away from the only utility they have. Let's ...


4

I actualy saw this writen here " you're fortunate that they even allow you to attend high school". We need to maybe access the fact that this girl has human rights, and in this day and age being locked out of being with friends and going out and having an internet connection? Dictators also employ the tactic of locking people away from the world so they ...


4

To expand my comment into an answer: it's natural to have trouble sleeping at 9 PM if you're a teenager. There is abundant evidence that circadian rhythms of adolescents are delayed relative to adults and younger children, a finding that has been shown even in non-human mammals. It might be worth a try to provide them with some popular science articles about ...


4

Nobody here knows your parents better than you do. If you don't know them that well you should invest some time and study them. You need to know why are they being so strict, what's their motivation. Bring up subjects in regards to education, parenting, life advice, etc or just listen very carefully while they are talking to other people about this kind of ...


4

We were concerned about similar screen time issues. I have not seen scientific studies about long-term (many years) effects of video chat on infants of such young age as 27 months or below. In my experience, here is what worked for our kids at this and younger age: a policy of limited screen time, like so: FaceTime chat, Skype or similar video chat only, ...


4

There is nothing inherently wrong about technology. We use it all the time, for all sorts of reason. Problems can come when interactions with technology (call it TV, Internet, or whatever) when they trigger something else, and children are particularly vulnerable against some of them, for instance: Addiction: some people develop issues related to dependency ...


4

Like others in this thread I had a similar upbringing to you. When I was younger (say early primary school), I had unrestricted use on the (only) computer in the house. There was a slow and problematic internet connection, but most of my time was spent playing 'hand-me-down' games from floppy disks. The thing is, the games I played then are appallingly basic ...


3

In addition to Ian's excellent answer, one point to consider is that toddlers are not typically using cell phones as a phone, but instead as a gaming device. This has an important impact on radiation safety: the phone is not held close to the head, but instead is at least a foot away, usually more. As such, they're not meaningfully exposed to the major ...


3

It obviously varies a lot depending on the child, family, and general situation. There are three really big questions I would ask, though: WHO: How responsible is the child, in general? Does he/she frequently lose/forget items? Do you trust him/her to carry technology around without breaking it? Do you trust him/her to not use it in some situations (school,...


3

The benefit you got from screens was from using hackable systems; most screens I got most of the same benefit without 'net access, and with only 30 minutes access a week (later, a day), because I just had access to an old Windows 98 SE notebook (and, later, an old Windows XP laptop), a DVD full of mostly-compatible arcade games, and a folder of flash games. ...


2

If the present one works, keep it. They don't NEED the features of a smart phone. My friends with kids generally don't think a kid needs a phone until junior high (about age 12) That said, any kid's phone should have GPS in it, and some system for tracking the phone. This just makes it so much easier to fetch them if the school bus breaks down, if they ...


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