Help! computer and ipad are destroying my kids

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    • #76943

      I am a mother of 2 ADD kids, daughter 8th grade, son 6th grade. they are the type always looking for stimulation and very prone to addition to video game, especially my daughter, she doesn’t do any sports and doesn’t like anything except reading and video games. I always try to create environment of low stimulation, so they can get used to normal life. Before this school year, I had very good control over their gaming and screen time, they know the rules and they earn their minutes to play and they are doing well at school. Ever since last Sep, school hands out every kid an ipad to take home to do homework, things have changed dramatically. They always find excuses to go on ipad saying it’s for their homework, but every time, I detect they are watching utube of somebody playing games, they even lies in order to use ipad. they don’t do any reading now, their study drops. It took my son hours and hours to finish homework, especially online homework. I tried to ask school to take back iapd or give paper homework, but school refused and school doesn’t want to do anything and keep on saying computer is the trend. I tried to talk to my kids to watch utube after homework, but it’s very difficult to control, they won’t listen. The biggest problem is my daughter, too many utube and online gaming totally changed her. Now she even won’t do any homework, all she does after school is on ipad. We barely manage her to go to school everyday. I know she is experiencing teenage rebel and homo changes, I also worry she may get into depression, if I banned usage of ipad. What should I do? I found no support anywhere on computer issues, I really think electronics are doing more harm than good to ADD kids. Some articles recommends some app that good for ADD, it maybe true but the problem is if kids can choose, how many of them will choose to play those apps? Can anyone guarantee that app will not create addiction? in the end, it is kids and parents are suffering. Sometimes, I just feel Apple and other tablet companies the same as tobacco company who will never admit tobacco causes lung cancer, are just for their profit and will never admit addictions caused in kids. All these games and electronics are like lions swallowing life. What should I do?……From a helpless mother.

    • #76976

      I’m in the same situation as you. I have a 16 year old who is addicted but won’t admit it. We have to have strict usage rules and I monitor him closely when he does homework. He is not allowed gaming time during school week. We allow him more slack from Friday afternoon to Sunday as he works now. He doesn’t play sports or participate in afterschool activities. All he wants to do is come home to his computer so we told him if he wanted game time he had to get a job. I wish video games had never been invented! My husband is in the industry so my son has had access to a lot more than most children. My husband has adhd as well and has made a very comfortable life for us in the gaming business. My son wants to be a developer so he needs games in his life. The gaming industry makes more money than the movie industry now. It’s here to stay and can be very educational!
      I would talk to guidance in person at school and tell them you want your children to have paper homework. If they’re on an iep or 504 they can’t ignore you. At school the teachers can monitor that they aren’t abusing the iPad.
      We pulled our son out of a private high school because they were paperless. They assured us that the iPads were locked down and couldn’t be abused. My son, and others, were able to bypass their locks and watch movies and YouTube during class!! We pulled him out and now he goes to a public high school.
      You’re paying, through taxes, the salary of teachers. If they won’t help you speak to principal. If he doesn’t help you go to superintendent. I’d also see if your pediatrician could get involved.
      Almost every generation has a gripe on new technology. The gaming industry isn’t going away so we need to find ways to monitor usage. There are plenty of parental locks. We take all electronics from my son prior to bed.
      I’m sure I haven’t helped but know you’re not the only one. Get onto the school!

      • #77077

        Thank you for your reply! I have contacted teachers, counselor, even principal, but the response is that sschool can’t accommodate to our request of paper homework, they kept on saying this is the trends and this is BOE decision, and all kinds of excuses. They will not include it in 504. I can not find a school without computer homework 🙁

    • #77072
      Penny Williams

      You’ll find some helpful insights in this free webinar replay:

      Free Webinar Replay: The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Video Games — and How Parents Can Tell the Difference and Take Action

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #79290

      my mother’s old fashioned response seems to match up with the research. when we sat in front of the TV too long, she’d yell at us and make us stay outside playing the yard.

      it’s interesting you both report the lack of sports involvement (and i’m assuming they may not even have gym class as some schools don’t?)

      the decrease in physical exercise correlates with increase in distraction. maybe make them earn their screen time with exercise or phsyical activities or even put them on a treadmill to access their tablets

      good luck

    • #79330

      I struggle with this too. Often my daughter is doing something creative like animation, or working with sculpy with Youtube on. I just try to get her up for a short walk, bike ride, or playtime outside. But when it’s raining out or I’m tired, I really struggle. You just gotta wrangle them and say, “We’re going outside, or to this in door activity place…. ect.”

    • #79332

      Hi Jasica
      My recommendation for your household is Circle, or a similar wireless router device. Circle enables you, through a phone app, to control electronic devices connected to the family network. You can set up time limits for each school ipad (i.e. off at 7PM), as well as amount of time on device, and what, if any websites (Youtube) can be accessed. You can put a limit, say 30 minutes for Minecraft and 20 minutes for Youtube. You also have a control button, which you can use from your phone app, to shut off all wireless in the house. My kids hated it at first, trying to unplug it (you get a message it was unplugged, then Internet shuts off) and just go over to friends’ houses with unlimited Internet. You can set it up so that certain websites are off limits, say after 6 PM. You can also setup unlimited time for weebly or Google Classroom, so they always have access to school sites.

      Additionally, I completely agree (and disagree with the stupid school administrator that said computer work is the future) that computers in the hands of all these kids for the purported use of school work is a DISASTER. Complete waste of time and money for school districts always crying poor. Parents get no work sent home and it is difficult to see where and at what level your child is at, and what they are working on. More difficult for parents to be involved in the education of their children (which I think is purposely done). Get your childrens’ passwords now and have them walk you through the sites the teachers are using. Know their accounts and passwords and monitor them.

    • #79337

      I am a special ed teacher and am working with a group of ADHD kids at the high school level. Our district is 1:1 iPad and students are expected to use these devices on a regular basis to access most all of their school day. It is a CHRONIC problem for our kids with ADHD and other neurodiveristy (autism, emotional disorders). They often do not have the skills to regulate screen usage. They are learning to use screens to soothe their symptoms of attention deficit, sensory input or social anxieties. Teachers are not employed to or capable of ‘baby-sitting’ technology use in class. Parents have no better luck at home.

      Sadly, technology in classrooms is leading to our group of kids with learning differences being left further behind, or technology addicts at the extreme end of things.

    • #79351

      I am so sorry for what you are going through, it is so tough to raise children without ADHD! The technology is a detriment to our society at large. I’ve experienced a little of what you are saying about addiction, ours was with the Wii. Years ago I decided to pitch it seeing how my boys just wanted more and more. No regrets! Unfortunately, the schools have stuck these addicting devices in our children’s hands. We chose to Homeschool so we have complete control over the technology. My children do not have computers , iPhones , or iPads. We just don’t allow it. Once our children hit college age , they took some online classes and had no problem navigating through. They don’t need this stuff as children. It consumes them . If homeschooling is not an option, possibly you can find a school that supports you better. Interestingly, many of the techie people who work for these companies use Montessori type schools ( no technology!)They know it’s addictive!
      In the end , we are the parents and we should be in charge . Our kids need to respect any limits we put on the electronics , if they don’t then out they go ( or no borrowing moms car , not going to the mall or movies , etc… some kind of punishment for disobedience). Thankfully, my son with ADHD and on autism spectrum has a doctor who is supportive and agrees that the screen is not good for kids with these challenges. Good luck to you and don’t give up !

    • #79358

      Oh my gosh! I feel the pain on this! I have spoken with school officials also and have had no luck. Our kids are part of a social experiment. My son is 16 and I can’t tell him to do anything anymore. We used to program the router to only allow a certain amount of time for the internet but he figured out the password. We have bribed gaming time for grades which kind of worked for the grades but created tons of resentment. Now, he has been given total responsibility for his gaming and grades. I’m scared but he has to get some control. No one is going to be nagging him in college. I hope it all turns out ok. Good luck everyone!

    • #79359

      I’m a parent of three children (two of them school aged). I’m also a School Psychologist and I have ADHD myself. My advice is this,
      1. Don’t give up. Your concerns are valid and real.
      2. Assuming your kids already have a 504 or an IEP, you should call and request a meeting. If you dont have a 504 or IEP you need to start there.
      3.At the meeting ask your team if there is a way for your kids to do their homework at school. Many schools offer homework clubs, supported study halls, and by High School, most teachers offer office hours. The point is, the kids get their homework done at school and most nights they wont need to bring their ipads home at all. If they are on the ipad, at least you know it isnt about school anymore and you can go back to setting realistic limits for screen time at home.

    • #79363

      I Have the same issue. This society is done unfortunately. ADHD son 14 years old and 11 years old daughter.
      This is my plans (unfortunately did have time to put in practice yet)

      1- Cut the electronic as much I can
      Going to the roots with bike riding, beach time, park time – Screw the homework craziness (sorry responsible parents)

      2- Cut the data from my Sprint ISP
      That means they will depend on wifi to go online

      3- Install a firewall on my home wireless
      You can’t do this with cheap router, but with $100 you can have a router where you can block sites, like Youtube, Netflix, Amazon Video etc.
      I do this at the office for the milleniums with “lack of control” on their online time. I know it look ridiculous, but I believe if you cut some time, it will get better. My son broke his phone while ago and after be without phone for while, he was much better person. Phone came back and the online hours start to increase little by little. Now we are back where we were…CRAZINESS ONLINE TIME. My next step is to get the router and setup some parameters here at the house.

      4- Kids see Kids do
      I think everybody heard that before. Be honest with yourself. Do you spend long hours on the phone or computer when you kids are around? What about the TV? TV is the same thing …just worse because you take what they shove in your mind (no search). I need (sorry!) I MUST cut my online hours too.

    • #79368

      I would try Norton Family to sort out screen time. You can also see what they have looked at. In one place you can limit phones tablets and pcs. Worth a free trial.

    • #79310

      We have a similar problem with screen time and homework. My solution was two fold but first a little background. Our school district does not issue computers, chromebooks or iPads to the students. They may take chromebooks home however. Our grandchildren access Google Classroom for assignments from home via their school’s account on our Chromebooks. If your school district allows the use of personal devices to log into the school’s network remotely from home, then that may be an option. Also, through using Family Link (a Google app) you can control access. It is free to use. I use Norton’s product to monitor screen time and activity and it works well. Sites like youtube, facebook, pinterest, instagram and so on can be selectively blocked. Screen time can be controlled also as well as sites allowed. You may have a router, Netgear as an example, that will allow selective blocking and parental control management. Using OpenDNS is free also but is a little more tech oriented but it works too. A bypass account would be needed so mom and dad aren’t blocked from otherwise child blocked sites. Additionally, I learned that it is possible to cast the screen from a Chromebook to a TV equipped with a Chromecast device. Therefore, with that combination the screen from the child’s device can be seen on the big family TV.

      The research is incontrovertible. Screen time excesses will impact grades, reading ability, the ability to make decisions and so on. When I learned that companies like facebook employ “attention engineers” that did it for me. The programs and games are like slot machines and with little reward.

      Keep your kids to a minimum time on the screen. You might want to view this:

    • #79384

      I looked into the programs or apps that would supposedly help the ADHD brain, but reviews were mixed, so I opted to not try them. What I have been doing for 10 or more years is have electronic free Sundays with good success, and with only limited success electronic free Tuesdays after school. No tv, no ipods for individual music, no computers, etc. We can listen to the radio or a playlist only if it’s a random list, not something they have to keep choosing. Then we are free to do anything –homework, crafts, chores, cleaning, board or card games, reading, etc. But at least it shuts down the fighting and opens up conversation. As for the rest of the week, if the kids are really abusing the device, I use three strikes and you are out. If they are refusing or dragging their feet on helping out, or toeing the line with websites, they lose the device for the day (or three). If they need it for homework, then they either get an F or they sit with me the whole time (not a fun way to spend their homework time but they earned it). It takes a lot of work on a parent’s part, but it is necessary.

    • #79487

      I completely feel everyone’s frustration here! I have a 10 year old ADHD daughter that brings her ipad home from school that turns into another child when I try and get her off of it! I’ve grounded her again from it other than school activities this week, but she’s always trying to wiggle her way in with I’m researching or reading. She is an avid reader and there are so many resources on it, but I catch her doing other things as well, such as mindless video games! My problem is that while I work from home, I’m a single mom without a support system nearby. I’m fortunate to be able to be home for my kids but I also can’t spend my work hours monitoring every moment or fighting with them over when they need to get off! Their father is in the computer security industry and gives them as much screen time and Mind Craft/device time as they want at his house and they come home every other weekend extra hyper 🙁 I’ve tried to speak to him about it but we don’t see eye to eye on this among other things (he doesn’t think ADD or ADHD exist). Next year my 8 year old son who has ADD will also begin bringing home his ipad and I’m already cringing!

      They also call me out on my phone, which I admit is my source of the outside world. As I said, I work from home with no real interaction with adults most days. I use my phone as a tool to text friends, talk to coworkers or just unwind at times. I know I shouldn’t, but I do use it sometimes more often than I should. I do have firm boundaries of not using at specific times and also trying to give them my full attention when I am able and put the phone down. I’m exhausted and running out of ideas and patience, so it’s very nice to see others in similar circumstances with good recommendations!

    • #79546

      I have this same issue with my 11.5 year old daughter. She has ADHD, ODD, anxiety, and sensory processing disorder. The one thing about her though is she’s also an athlete! The problem is if she isn’t at school, practice (soccer during the spring, summer, and fall and basketball in the winter), or games/tournaments, playing on her iPad, iPhone, and computer is all she wants to do! When her attitude gets too much, we do ground her from anything internet, including locking her iPad, iPhone, and computer with a password that only hubby and I know! Although, if hubby and I have to leave and run errands and one of us forgets to lock our computer or iPad, she will sneak on to ours. This ends up into a HUGE argument once we see she’s been on our computers or iPads. Then she will lie about it which is another issue in and of itself!! We will take everything away from her and she will play Just Dance (what ever year) on the Wii U, which is at least exercise, but fresh air AND exercise is better. Some of her not wanting to go outside is me, but it’s not really something I have control over. I’m disabled due to a genetic connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome or EDS. I live in pain, every second of every day. I do get out and practice soccer and basketball with her when my pain isn’t too bad and when my joints will stay put!! EDS often causes chronic joint dislocations/subluxations (partial dislocations) due to the body producing defective collagen which effects all soft tissues in the body (basically ANYTHING that isn’t bone)!! My dislocations and subluxations have been exasperated by the fact that I played sports from age 3 until 22 and had LOTS of injuries. I was not diagnosed until I was 35.

    • #79396

      Same struggle here with 16 year old. I am including a link here to the instructions on how to set up restrictions. Some parents are blocking youtube completely. SETTING UP GUIDED ACCESS AND RESTRICTIONS

      Here is also a link to our schools resource page. There are lot of other links here that are worth looking at too. MINNETONKA IPAD PARENT RESOURCE

      For the phones in our home I have trialed three different programs and found Qustodio to be the best. You can have one account that you can put on all of your electronic devices (computers and phones) and it will add up all the time so you can set limits of how long they spend on ALL screens. You can even see what they are texting and it has a location tracking setting. The limitation is that we can’t put it on the school ipad but if you lock out youtube or games that should help.

      We are the guinea pig parents learning how to parent in this age. I am sending you strength! We all need it 🙂

    • #79398

      You can use the technology to control the technology. 1)iPads have built in parental controls called “Guided Access”, where you can set up a parent account and set limits for the student’s account to limit to certain apps, time durations, etc. . There are also apps like ScreenTime which allow you to control multiple children’s devices from your personal device, including giving them more time on the fly as a reward, and Moment. 2) There are a lot of apps on the other hand which work WONDERFULLY with ADHD–Habitica uses a game-challenge design to establish and reinforce habits and routines. Brill lets you set up routines for your student and the program guides them through the steps with reminders and alarms, just for starters. 3) I would be MUCH MUCH more worried about social media access than games. Games are rewarding, they help with focus, they help with problem solving (and coordination if they’re using a console). Social media on the other hand has been linked to negative self-esteem, decreases empathy and facilitates bullying. Gaming still needs to have a time limit put on it, but it has a lot of positives

      One thing the teachers are right about–interacting with computers and tablets is the future. Your child NEEDS to develop the skills in problem solving which come from learning how to use various apps for them to succeed. They’re also the social common ground your child will be encountering at school, so eliminating screentime and games completely will isolate them from their peers. AND it doesn’t teach them how to establish healthy boundaries down the road, when you can’t control everything they watch and do. Focus now on laying down habits and rules which they can internalize, and make their off-screentime as rewarding as possible. And if you can link their screentime towards furthering your student’s passions and interests, that’s even better because they will learn that the iPad is a tool, not a toy.

    • #91314

      *Sigh* Oh, you’re THAT kind of parent.

      Look, the video games and iPad or whatever is not the problem. Speaking as someone who has ADHD and loves reading, video games, programming, etc while also hating things like sports, I can tell you that you can live a perfectly normal life without harsh restrictions. Also, don’t throw the word “addiction” around like you own it. Unless it’s diagnosed, it isn’t an addiction.

      Instead of blaming the technology and forcing things down the kids’ throats like parental controls or sports, try motivating the kids. They probably realize that the “variable homework” is pretty useless or they don’t need to study. If their grades are slumping, it’s your fault, not their hobbies’. Try motivating them through positive reinforcement and limited rewards. Things like “good job on your test” or giving a quarter for doing their homework, things like that. Studies show that positivity works waaaaay better than punishment and negative reinforcement.

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