03-23-2017 07:45 PM - last edited on 03-24-2017 01:04 PM by Ngaio-RO
My teen has access to a relative's Netflix account, and is spending all his waking hours watching videos (we removed his access to wifi on his phone, but he's figured out how to hotspot his ipad to it) and as a result his interim report card has Ds on it for the first time since he started high school (he's in grade 10)
He wants to be an architect, and when he applies himself he is awesome (he worked with dad over the summer holidays, and got rave reviews from the workplace about how good he was and how hard he worked), but he isn't applying himself, and I'm at a loss for how to get the message through to him.
Any tips or advice?
03-23-2017 09:37 PM
@TeenToddlerKids thanks for the post and I am sure a few of the other parents on the forum will have some great feedback for you soon Have you considered getting in touch with the school counsellor to see if there's some supports available for you around the issue of tech time interfering with grades?
03-24-2017 12:58 PM
Hey @TeenToddlerKids thanks so much for posting. Negotiating screen time is so difficult and seems to be something we have to do with younger and younger kids now.
My mum often says that she, and other parents at that time, didn't have to do this. That we, the kids, were made to go outside and had far more restrictions reagrding tv. That we 'never' watched tv for hours on end.
Well, I hate to burst that bubble but I remember watching music videos for several hours on a Saturday morning. And, far more importantly, children's programming was several hours in the morning on a weekend and a bit less in the mornings during the week. I clearly remember being put in front of the tv for the whole day when I was home sick from school and my mum had to go to work. The reason I remember is because after 9am, the television got so boring it was hard to watch.
And THAT's the difference we're really dealing with. Kids wanted to watch screens then as much as they do now, only now they can watch proper kids or young adult programming for 24 hours a day. It's the equivalent of every aisle in a supermarket having lollies and toys in it! It makes it terribly hard for parents.
One practice that I've used with success is getting your teen to write 3 lists, one is "MUST see", one is "LOVE to see" and one is "LIKE to if possible". You guys can name them or change the system but the idea is the young person gets to determine what shows they just can't miss. These get put into the timetable. Luckily, if it's Netflix or even most tv shows nowadays can be watched at whatever time you choose. So you can schedule it around dinner and homework. It's mostly about negotiating hours. They put in their shows they can't miss, then you put in the commitments they have to keep, then if there's free time they add the next list and you add some stuff you'd like them to do, if there's time left then they can add their final list.
Most often, the timetable is completed from the first list. And the agreement is made before the negotiation begins that everyone needs to accept that. But the thing that makes this effective is the amount of control young people feel they have in it. It's a way of acknowledging how important these shows are to them while at the same time asking them to solve the problem of too many shows, not enough hours.
The 2nd part of this is to agree on a trial period. There's a better chance they'll agree if they don't feel like it's forever. Let them know you're willing to review it, the only proviso is that they can't say "it's not working" without a reason. But then, neither can you.
What do you think @TeenToddlerKids Is this something you've already tried? If not, could it be something that might work?
03-24-2017 08:30 PM
I think you're right @Ngaio-RO I remember coming home from school watching TV straight after school as a kid, and I don't let my kids do that now (but we also had to watch dad's shows all evening, whereas my kids are lucky enough to have their own space with Foxtel, and have free run of kids channels)
I might suggest that he sets up an ideal week, and slots his shows into it, sounds like it could be a way that we both "get what we want", and with school holidays coming up its the perfect opportunity to try it out without too much pressure from either of us.
03-24-2017 09:22 PM
Great plan from @Ngaio-RO there I'm into "putting the control into their hands" in this way too, especially at this stage. The senior school years are very challenged alongside technology if they haven't learned to manage their own use.
I've been making it part of my 'general' conversation with my kids these days. Talking about how it afffected our sleep, or how addicted I felt myself recently to a netflix show (Bates Motel -it was really good!!) I think it's really important to help them to understand how our attractive technology is to our minds! It's very 'rewarding' but can be costly. It's good that you can see and talk about the clear link to his grades.
Have you heard of the doco film, Screenagers yet? It's being released shortly and reviews overseas are that it's a really informative and changing whole family's views and lives! We definitely need more support (alongside research) on how to manage this incredible age of technology.
The other thing I've been actively doing with my lot is finding other things to do that are rewarding such as joining the local council youth group, juggling class (!) and doing things as a family (which gets harder to do it seems and costly! But we did really enjoy a meal out and the magic show
Good luck and let us know how you go!
03-26-2017 07:41 PM
Sorry to hear of these issues. I think 15/year 10 is another transition age, with lots of changes and pushing boundaries.
One piece of advice that I like is to keep screens out of bedrooms, particularly after bedtime. Our guys need to put their devices on chargers in the living room, before going to bed. And during the day, they aren't allowed to spend too long on their screens.
In terms of motivation, we had similar issues and spoke about respect, independence and responsibility going hand in hand: do the right thing, and you'll get more respect and independence. Independence is a big thing for this age. We explained that to get independence (go travelling, uni, work etc), you need to get the grades and finish high school. Try reminding him of all the good things that he's done and is doing (work experience and other achievements). Make sure he has other outlets to relax, too (friends, sport, music etc). Finally, try to stay close to him, emotionally - make sure you check in with him about how things are going for him - don't make a big deal of it, but just casually and briefly check in with him every couple of days. Best of luck.
03-27-2017 03:48 PM
03-27-2017 04:12 PM
@tazinessthanks for the movie recommendation, I'm going to suggest it to our school for a screening, looks like something that would be useful for everyone!
We actually find it tough doing stuff together, because hubby works a rotating roster of night shifts, so finding a balance of allowing him to sleep and activities suitable across huge age ranges isn't easy (as much as he loves her, the teen would not be impressed with sitting through the Peppa Pig movie for our toddler!) We fall back on UNO a lot!
03-27-2017 04:15 PM
thanks @HippyMum we tried the gadgets out of room thing when he first got them, but we're also dealing with anger issues from him so it became a case of picking our battles and insisting he put them in the lounge wasn't worth the damage to the house or his possessions.
03-27-2017 04:17 PM
@Sophi-ROI talked it over with hubby, and he thinks it's a great idea. I'm actually in a bit of a holding pattern at the moment, parent teacher interviews are tomorrow, so I'm hoping to kind of mention it as a solution when his teachers bring up the poor grades/lack of homework. He may or may not listen if they think it's something that could work, and it doesn't look as if I'm pressuring him.