Video and computer time

Discuss unschooling, eclectic, the unit study approach, or any other "unusual" homeschooling method.

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Video and computer time

Postby Elei » Tue Nov 06, 2007 2:09 am

Hello everybody,

apart from playing a lot, my boys love videos and computergames, actually my oldest if I let him he would be in front of a screen all day long. I know they can learn a lot from good video's and good games so they watch a video (documentals about animals or other stuff) everyday and we have a lot of educational computergames which they love. But my question to you all with more experience is: How much screen time do you allow them? If I count the video, the computergame and some internet time where we look up thing together sometimes we get to three hours a day. Would you think that is too much? I have the feeling it is too much, but on the other hand I know he is learning a lot from that and they never watch TV shows or we never have the TV on eating or anything. Do you let your children watch educational videos or computergames whenever they want?

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Postby momo3boys » Tue Nov 06, 2007 8:42 am

The problem with screen time isn't what they are or aren't learning, it's how overstimulated the brain gets. What if you let them choose one screen option each day? We don't have a TV so I let them get about 30min of play time on the computer and about 30 of educational time, but not everyday. When my children go and visit grandma or Pepe and watch a lot of TV, they are so grumpy for the next day! Their little brains have been so overstimulated that they have no self control and can't concentrate on their work. They need about two hours of debriefing for every hour of TV. Just a thought. Sorry I got on the soap box.

It is generally recommended to have no more than 1 hour of screen time per day.
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Postby Theodore » Tue Nov 06, 2007 9:55 am

Hmm. Depends a lot on what videos and computer games they use. I assume they're older children? While you don't want young children watching TV at all because it messes with their brain development, older children watching an hour or two of good TV shows (defined as shows that involve some amount of thought or imagination) won't hurt, and there are plenty of strategy computer games that can be actually educational. Still, they should do at least as much outside activities, reading, etc. as TV / computer games. Using the computer is good for your typing skills, but you won't learn much grammar, spelling, or vocabulary from people on the Internet. Reading is the best way to learn that.

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Postby StellarStory » Sat Nov 17, 2007 9:18 pm

I've never tried to limit either. I have sometimes said they have to get their work done first. That's no longer necessary though!

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Postby iamnettie » Tue Nov 20, 2007 4:03 pm

We don't have a set time limit in our house, but it has never been an issue. Somedays the TV is never on....other days it is on in the background almost all day while we are playing and such. Durning true school time it is off no matter what. Same with computer...somedays they are never on the computer other days they are on it several times durning the day.

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Postby StellarStory » Tue Nov 20, 2007 4:20 pm

Some of my teens work is on the computer. They have to do that ACT question of the day for instance. Rosetta Stone is computer based as well. The science CD we have is too. They do almost all writing online.

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Postby amird » Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:04 pm

My oldest is about 6 yo.
we limit what can be seen on TV, and the websites (learning sites such as starfall for English and of course my site for learning Hebrew and math.
We had a time that we limited the screen time and encouraged outdoor activities, but these days we don't need to limit
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Postby Lauxa » Sat Feb 09, 2008 9:46 am

My kids spend the same or less time in front of screens as I do. When I am doing housework, etc, I turn off all the computers and TVs. When I am programming or web surfing or watching TV, they can watch TV or play games as well. It's probably about 2-3 hours a day during the week, an hour or so of "quiet time" around 4:00 and an hour or so after getting ready for bed.
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Postby Ophelia » Sat Feb 09, 2008 12:26 pm

My 6 year old would love to play games on the computer all day if I let him. Anytime anyone else walks away from the computer for an instant he tries to sneak in there.

I finally made a rule that if he did really well on an (insert subject here) lesson he could play on the computer for 30 minutes. The same rule applies to the Vsmile.

We do not watch television in our home. But the kids do get to watch a movie about every other day.

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Postby tsmama24 » Sun Feb 17, 2008 2:38 pm

I'm probably the worst person to respond to a post like this one, because we are a HIGHLY techie family. We couldn't live without our screens, and somehow our boys have managed to turn out to be normal, likeable, even well-rounded young men who happen to be computer geeks...go figure! Check out my blog if you get a is about our life as Techie Homeschoolers: Topsy-Techie. Good luck!


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Postby WWMama » Mon Feb 18, 2008 6:40 pm

We watch a couple hours of tv a day at our house, generally when the kids are waking up in the morning. As far as computer time...its interesting because I have one kid who seems to be able to pick up anything from a cd/computer/movie but give him a book and he's lost. My other child is exactly the opposite, would rather have his nose in a book. I guess I wouldn't worry about it unless it seems to be causing an issue for you. As long as you are smart about what they are watching or playing I really don't think they will turn out to be a detriment to society.
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Postby Shari Nielsen » Mon Feb 25, 2008 6:26 pm

As long as they are still excelling in their schoolwork and have opportunities to free play and exercise their imagination, I think three hours is reasonable, especially since you have limited the regular tv watching and they are playing educational games. I love the fact that kids learn when they don't realize they are learning!!!
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my plan for next year....

Postby Scout » Sun Jul 13, 2008 7:14 am

... don't know how well it will work.

I am going to require my kids to earn their screen time next year. They can earn it buy doing "independent learning" of their choice... ie, working on all those workbooks, great curriculum, educational gadgets etc. that I bought that we never got around to fitting into our schedule. Hopefully they will find something interesting...

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Postby mark_egp » Thu Jul 24, 2008 10:02 am

Though I'm a computer professional by degree and trade, I've always been uneasy with screen based media, including movies/TV. Lately I read Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death which details the problems with these media, even for wholesome types of programming.

I recommend it for all parents, truly "must read".
More details here:
Mark - Homeschool ideas Classic Book lists easy to search/sort for history, literature, and reading lesson plans

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Postby StellarStory » Thu Jul 24, 2008 3:06 pm

I've give it a look but it sounds awfully alarmist so I probably won't like it and therefore won't read it word for word.

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