Technology in the Bedroom

Do you allow your kids to use technology in their bedroom?
Photo courtesy of DadsRT contributor JB ManvDadhood

 

Whether it is a wi-fi television, a hand-held gaming system, a smartphone, computer, or tablet, allowing your child to use wi-fi technology in the bedroom comes with considerable risks.

We all know this.  

How do we deal with it?

 

 

My oldest is 5 and I’m already being faced with an issue I wasn’t expecting for at least another couple of years.

Daddy, can I play my DS in my room?  (What!? Already! This isn’t supposed to happen until you’re 10.)

Play it out here sweetie. (I don’t know why but I just don’t want her playing it alone in her room.)

But it’s too noisy. (Stick to your guns, James.)

It’s here or nowhere. (Looks like she’s going to accept that. Wait a minute.  What’s that look?)

Hmm… Can I use my eReader in my room? (How do I say no to that?  She’s asking to read.)

My children aren’t old enough to use the wi-fi on their devices, but that won’t last for long.    If I say yes now, how do I say no later without sending a message of distrust.  I do trust my kids.  I don’t trust what’s out there.

How do we say yes today and no tomorrow?
Photo courtesy of DadsRT contributor The Rookie Dad

 

I know I can’t control or monitor all of my children’s online endeavors and interactions forever, but I will always be the parent.  Protecting.  Worrying.  Deciding.  Learning.

Until someone convinces me otherwise, the rule in our house will be: No wi-fi technology in the bedroom.

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Technology in the bedroom:

  • What’s the rule in your house?  
  • Is it a firm rule or flexible?  
  • Does it change according to age?
  • How do your kids feel about it?

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Scroll down and “Talk to us!”  We’d love to have your input and feedback.  

Join us on Twitter Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 9EST to further discuss this topic. One of our DadsRT Founders, JB, @ManvDadhood will be hosting using #DadsRT.  Hope to see you there!

Comments

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Comments

  1. AskAGreatDad says:

    This one is tricky because I don’t know yet what my feeling is on the subject. I know that my daughter is already addicted to the Ipad, and I regret letteing her even have acess to it. I really dont want my kids exploring the internet for all it has to offer. I know that there are things I wish I didn’t see on the Web, but I looked anyway (Farley’s Death Photo to name one) As of right now, I would prefer to keep most technology out of the kids room. Beyond all the inappropriate items to view, I feel technology has given me insommnia, and i don’t want to do that to mu children. I am sure as the kids get older my views will change, as will the technology we have available to us. Great topic!

  2. James Hudyma says:

    “technology has given me insomnia”

    Why? Because you’re addicted or the bright lights keep you up later than you should be?

    • AskAGreatDad says:

      A little bit from Column A, and a little bit from column B. I think it’s the light more than anything .

      • James Hudyma says:

        I have a post set to publish on Wednesday that talks about the effect of light on a child’s ability to fall asleep.

  3. DaddyBriefs says:

    I don’t have a child old enough to be using WiFi technology, but I would say anything that can connect to the internet needs to be “played” with in a common area. Its too easy for children to stumble on content that is not made for children. Even if they are playing online games, they are still exposed to the 12 year old kids who talk like sailors. So, the short answer is no technology in the bedroom. However, as the kid gets older, I think the rule might flex a little. (By older, I mean like 12-14 years old)

    • James Hudyma says:

      Sounds like we’re on the same page. The rules will have to flex when our kids get older or else we’ll end up creating the lure of the forbidden. In the meantime, I’ll just do my best to help my kids develop internet safety skills and etiquette.

  4. Left Coast Dad says:

    We have one television in the house. The kids in the house right now are 2, 5, 7, and 9. When kids are sick they stay in bed and watch movies on a laptop. We don’t have ipads, only recently getting a couple of Kindles. they don’t get to take them into their room. We are debating buying the 9 year old a DS for Christmas. He would not be allowed to take it into his room during bed time. If he wanted to go and play it and get away from his siblings during the day, that would be alright. When they are old enough to have computers and (ugh) phones of their own, these devices will not be allowed in their room after bed time. Homework is done in a communal area. We are establishing this now. Later when they need computers for homework, those laptops will be in a communal area so there is nothing unsupervised taking place.

    This is a subject where the “answer” has to change as the kids get older. The needs, requirements, responsibilities and privileges of a 14 year old are different from a 4 year old. We learned a few lessons with our oldest (who is now 20) and how he snuck so much after “lights out”. As for how do my kids feel? It’s not up for debate. This wasn’t up for discussion as they were toddlers, they grew up with this and this is their reality.

    • James Hudyma says:

      What you said near the end about the “needs, requirement, responsibilities, and privileges” really rings true with me. Right now my kids aren’t challenging me… yet.

  5. What’s the rule in your house? — Hasn’t come up as neither boy has the desire to be in their room away from everyone else (yet), but I already have my eye on the LeapPad and anything that has wi-fi capability. These kids learn fast, and if mine are anything like me, they will learn all the tricks and loopholes of said technology and not just be satisfied with the basics. So, while it hasn’t been stated yet, no wi-fi in their bedrooms until further notice.

    Is it a firm rule or flexible? — This will be firm. All bedrooms are upstairs in our house, and as of right now devices rarely go upstairs, even as far as my wife and I are concerned.

    Does it change according to age? — Yes. I remember when I finally got my own phone line in my room growing up it was one of the greatest things ever. At some point we all grow up and need a little breathing room/independence/trust.

    How do your kids feel about it? – They feel the way I want them to feel about it. I think. 😉

    • James Hudyma says:

      We must be about the same age because I remember getting my own phone line too. I’m sure cell phones existed but they would’ve been the size of a briefcase.

      I know I’ll have to adapt to their changing needs but I guess I’m just nervous.

  6. happiestdaddy says:

    I love this topic.The experts always cautioned parents to have a computer in a common room of the house so everything was out in the open. But with wi-fi and the proliferation of devices that are internet capable, all bets are off.

    My wife and I — when our kids are old enough — will have strict policies against smartphones, tablets or laptops in bedrooms. The same with tv. There are so many distractions and we have to be disciplined gatekeepers. The kids grow so fast and are only innocent for so long. Technology isn’t going anywhere.

    I guarantee that my kids will hate it. They will think we are ruining their lives. But they will deal with it.

    • James Hudyma says:

      They will deal with it just like we did when we were kids. Now, some of the rules I didn’t like, are rules in my house.

  7. Nick says:

    I will say that i take on the responsibility to out think how kids might stumble into tricky situations with technology, both at home and as my day job. I apply similar safeguards at home that i think most people just aren’t aware of. Most modern wifi routers can apply content filters based on the device and our family computer has parental controls limiting the 9yo’s account.
    Up until very recently, we were apartment dwellers and can actually have an entire conversation on the developmental impact that has on kids when there’s no safe place to go play outside. But we used to be very comfortable letting her go in her room on her computer and play on a DS and while there was a possibility of getting matched up in a game against a foul mouthed teen, but it’s worth the risk and at this age can be seen as a potential teaching moment. I will without guilt admit to having been big-brother-esque and used my geek powers for evil and watched the packets on the router to see what websites she is browsing, but honestly, i’ve lucked out and my wife has raised a pretty great kid who doesn’t venture out where she’s not supposed to (yet).
    And having moved into a house in a neighborhood with kids, it’s all we can do to keep get her back inside the house when the street lights come on, even if it is pouring rain outside.
    Although, being a fourth grader now, her homework is starting to require a computer component and my wife has been strictly operating off the iPad for the last two years, it was time to get another family computer and this one we decided would be in the family room for all to see and use. So we’re all over the map, but i figure that like most things, if i make it a taboo subject it’ll breed curiousity so we just do the best we can on a device by device basis.

    • James Hudyma says:

      You’ve made a great point with creating a “taboo” and that’s why I think it is important to let kids use this technology in a gradual-release format so that if the rule ever loosens to allow wifi unsupervised at home or in the bedroom, they’ll have a good sense of online safety.

      Also, after reading your comment, I’ve realized I need to beef up my spying skills. ha ha

  8. My daughter just tuned 6, and where I am seeing trouble starting is when Angry Birds takes her to Youtube for a video, then she keeps clicking on related vids afterwards. she rarely has a chance to do anything alone on a device, but the internet is still very quick.

    How old are the rest of your kids who may have some time on a device on their own?

    • James Hudyma says:

      My kids are 5 and 2.

    • James Hudyma says:

      I totally agree with the YouTube comment. It is far too easy for kids to access inappropriate material.

      • I hear you on that. YouTube is a slippery slope, especially with the suggested videos based on viewing behavior. If they are using your account that is signed in, they could see something that isn’t even related to the video they are watching that is not meant for kids.

        My oldest is almost 5 and we have reluctantly given him our phones or iPad at times when there were just weren’t many other options to get him to chill out (long car rides, restaurant tantrums, etc.). He has shown some addictive tendencies so I try to use it sparingly.

        What I did was create Folders and Pages on my iPhone/iPad that are strictly Kids apps and games that I’ve vetted myself and made it so he can’t just buy or download other apps (somehow he has a clue how to do this) without needing my fingerprint as a sign in. That helps. I can’t keep him from going on the internet or using my other apps, but he can’t read yet, so I think I am OK for a little while.

        I found the YouTube Kids app a few months ago and it’s been a big help. It filters out all of the nasty YouTube stuff and keeps it to a vetted list of YouTubers that make kids videos (like unboxing videos) or Kids Content providers like PBS and Nick, etc. It seems to keep him interested enough that he doesn’t go wondering, and if he does, he sticks to the Kids Apps he knows how to locate.

        The hardest part is time control. You have to be aware of how long they have been using it, and get a feel for when to pull it away before they meltdown. Just my two cents.

  9. In my home, we have one family desktop, and 5 web browsers on it that break down like this!

    Firefox & Rockmelt: Those two are mine. Firefox syncs work info for me, and Rockmelt is my social web browser.

    Chrome: My wife uses it, and her logins are all saved on that one so we don’t ave to keep logging each other off and on.

    Safari: The kid browser. The home page opens to all the kid-friendly website tabs and they know to push the “compass” when they are allowed on the computer.

    Internet Explorer: Who uses this one anyways?

    • James Hudyma says:

      LOL. I don’t know anyone who uses IE.

  10. James Hudyma says:

    Thanks for including this discussion in your post and for providing a link for your readers to join our conversation.

This is what I think...

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