We have a 10 year old in the house, and the bonuses of being a tweenager and almost a teenager is that you are treated to more grown up gifts for your Christmas and birthday (especially when they fall so close together)
So Madame has an iPod, a fancy bit of kit, indeed. Not quite an iPhone (she most certainly doesn’t need one of those yet, her mother isn’t ready for it and neither is she!) but with new devices come new rules, and not just for the new device owners but for the adults in the house, who need to set a good example.
We have got some fairly strict things in place for her usage of a device that she can in theory communicate with the outside world with, and the world can have access to her via. I read a very helpful post by BadMammy about how to handle the arrival of devices in the house and The Husband has done lots of research into keeping her safe, and protected whilst using it, and also on security and what she can and can’t access. We have times when she is allowed to use it and times when she isn’t and she has a limit on how much she can spend using it per day. I will be writing another post about that, soon.
This is a much fancier bit of kit than the Walkman I treasured through my adolescence but it comes with many more rules about it’s usage…
Because this post isn’t about that, it’s about new rules for the adults in the house, so she sees good behavior around the usage of devices like phones. We don’t want her using her iPod at night, in her room, so we decided she wouldn’t have it, and of course, she protested “but you have yours in your rooms at night”. Normally I would be all “well we are grown ups and we have different rules” but actually, we kind of feel that we probably need to improve our phone usage habits anyway, so we decided that maybe we need to ditch the phones from the bedroom at night too. We, like many other people use our phones a lot, and often at night, we are either watching something, reading messages, cruising social media or playing games on them. We both agree that we use our phones too much and that it would be better to not have them in our rooms. We don’t need to be reading e mails or watching such small screens, and there is a fair bit of research to say that it isn’t good for people to have phones on at night in our rooms.
We don’t want her using her iPod at night, alone in her room, because we know it isn’t conducive to sleep, and also we don’t want her using it for hours unsupervised, even if we do have strict WiFi access limitations and her device is thoroughly locked down and she is limited in what she can currently do (play games, watch movies and some TV programmers and she can message us and a couple of family members) currently.
So, for over a week, we have been scrupulously good about not having our phones in the bedroom overnight. Before we get into bed to settle for the night, both our phones are dispatched downstairs to charge overnight. The husband has his work BlackBerry on at night, because he has to, for the time being, but he doesn’t actually use it for anything, unless he has to take a work call on it, but other than that, we are phone free at night. It feels right, actually, and it means we are reading more, going to sleep more easily, and also the temptation to reach for the phone in the middle of the night, if I wake up, isn’t there because the phone isn’t within reach. It also means when I wake up, the first thing I do now isn’t reach for my phone.
It feels healthier and it’s setting a better example to the tweenager, and whilst some would argue that it’s not a rule we can force on her, as she gets older, we do plan to be pretty strict about phone/device usage, and this is a start. Practice what you preach, you could say. It’s not doing the adults of the house any harm… 😉
Do you have rules about phone usage at night, for you or your older kids? How do you enforce them? What are your thoughts on phone/device usage at night in bedrooms?