tools to set online limits for wimpy moms like me

I have struggled for a long time now with managing how much screen time Luke and Emma have. “When I have kids,” I vowed “my kids will never play video games!” {sigh}
When Luke was 4, we purchased a Leapster for him because the games are educational.
Then, when he turned 6, I gave in to a portable video gaming device, the Nintendo DS. It was mostly for me, I’ll admit. I needed he and Emma to have something to keep them occupied on long car trips and during boring activities like grocery shopping. Should they have been able to occupy themselves some other way? Of course, but that didn’t happen. I say “I gave in” because Daddy has never had a problem with video games (he enjoys them too sometimes).
When Daddy and I discussed that we’d allow Santa to give them Nintendos for Christmas that year {wink, wink}, I put my foot down and insisted that we enforce strict time limits on its daily use, that was the only way I was going to agree to it. Well, I say I put my foot down, but my foot never reached the ground or it doesn’t mean anything when it does. On Christmas day it was, “oh, they just got them, let’s let them play, they’re so excited.” That excuse lasted a couple weeks. And a couple weeks was all it took for them to get used to playing Nintendo, a lot.
Ms. Karen, our counselor, says we should make them earn all their screen time, and any other privileges, as rewards in a token system. They start each day with a clean slate and no privileges and they have to earn them. I tried to implement it but my armor wasn’t strong enough for that revolt and I quickly gave up.
So proud of my little guy for choosing reading over
screen activities more and more lately!

So Luke and Emma spend 1-3 hours each weekday in some sort of screen activity, depending on our schedule. For the last couple years, Luke has felt playing DS is a requirement when riding in the car for any period of time or entering any retail establishment. He turns 8 years old in two weeks and he still rides in the cart in a store — so he can play DS. However, I am seeing him mature a lot over the last couple months and he is choosing to do things like read a book instead sometimes. I am so proud of him for that!

But DS isn’t the only non-productive electronic time-hog for these two kiddos of mine. The computer is an obsession for them too.  It started with educational games as well, and I have to concede that they do still engage in some educational websites from time to time. But they could both spend hours, non-stop, playing on the computer and that’s a problem.
A problem I’ve been enlightened on how to solve thanks to a wonderful ADHD adult {a mom’s view of ADHD} reader, I’ll call HelperD. HelperD sent me an email last week describing how he’s had a chronic problem with staying on task when working on the computer. He has searched and searched for a product to help him be more productive on the computer and recently found three great products, all of which are free. He asked me to share them with all of you in the hopes it may help your children, or even you, to be less distracted on time-wasting sites and games that can suck the life out of your day. Thanks HelperD, you rock! I know this will help many of our readers.
There are two internet browser extensions that help to keep you on task online. You can block certain websites at specified times of day or limit how many minutes/hours each day you can spend on a particular site before it is blocked for the remainder of the day. In essence, they eliminate time-wasting, non-productive distractions online. LeechBlock is the Mozilla Firefox add-on and StayFocused is the Google Chrome extension, both free. (These browsers are also a free download – I use Firefox and love it!)

Even better though is Focusr, a free Windows productivity manager for ypur entire computer that helps you stay on track by focusing you on your productive applications. This application not only restricts online distractions, but it can also be set up to limit computer games and other software on your computer. Even better, you can set rewards so your child can earn extra playtime minutes for the time spent in productive applications! It will reward them with bonus playtime on the limited applications and websites. And you can set a password for the parents so our little schemers can’t change the restrictions. What a great tool — even for all of those easily distracted, not just those with ADHD!

Now, if I can just find the strength to limit DS and TV like I should!  Oh, I did find this crazy gadget for the TV where the kids have to insert provided coins to turn on the TV for a set amount of time per coin! I don’t dare though! It’s not the thought of fighting about limiting the screen time that turns me off, it’s keeping up with earning coins/tokens everywhere we go, consistently, all day long that I have yet to find success in.

COVER3D_400sq_bestsellAward-Winning Blogger. Freelance Writer. Author. Warrior Mom.
A self-described “veteran” parent of a son with ADHD, Penny Williams is the author of the Amazon best-seller about her parenthood in the trenches, Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD. She is also the creator of the award-winning website, {a mom’s view of ADHD}, a frequent contributor on parenting a child with ADHD for ADDitude Magazine and other parenting and special needs publications, and co-founder of the annual Happy Mama Conference & Retreat, a weekend away for moms of kids with neurobehavioral disorders. Look for her second book, What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting ADHD, in late 2014. Follow Penny at http://BoyWithoutInstructions.com.

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Related posts:

attention/focus, behavior modification, General ADHD, high school, homework, middle school, parenting/FAMILY, Penny Williams ·

About the author

COVER3D_400sq_bestsellAward-Winning Blogger. Freelance Writer. Author. Warrior Mom. A self-described “veteran” parent of a son with ADHD, Penny Williams is the author of the Amazon best-seller about her parenthood in the trenches, Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD. She is also the creator of the award-winning website, {a mom's view of ADHD}, a frequent contributor on parenting a child with ADHD for ADDitude Magazine and other parenting and special needs publications, and co-founder of the annual Happy Mama Conference & Retreat, a weekend away for moms of kids with neurobehavioral disorders. Look for her second book, What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting ADHD, in late 2014. Follow Penny at http://BoyWithoutInstructions.com.

4 Comments

  1. dmd says:

    While it's a struggle, we have managed to fend some of this off. Dylan is only allowed TV in the morning if he is dressed by 7:00am (we leave at 7:20am). The first few difficult weeks of school, he watched no am TV. He gets no TV during the week at night, except for Christmas specials because I'm a sucker for them. Weekend TV is more relaxed. Some days he watches more than I would like, but we keep pretty busy so that often curtails it.

    Computer games are similar to TV. – None during the week, but more weekend flexibility. Our activities keep it manageable.

    Dylan has long wanted a video game system, especially a DS. But I just don't like it when I see kids zoning out at a restaurant while the parents are having dinner. He can use my iPhone sometimes, but I don't want to get him something that will end up being a behavior football. And I'm not into video games nor is DH, so we have no family reason for it. And, quite honestly, we can't afford it, especially since it's not just the system but the never-ending parade of new games for it.

    We will be dealing with the issue soon, however, since Dylan wants Santa to bring him a DS for Christmas. I've told him that Santa will not bring anything his parents won't allow. But the lobbying will step up, I'm sure. I'm hoping I can remain strong, because I'm just not a fan of them. He's so incredibly creative and I love love love when he uses him imagination, which he will do when I say no more TV on a Saturday morning.

    Good luck, Penny. It's tough in the society we live in!

    dee

    Reply
  2. Oh Penny, this is so hard. Especially hard for us because Clark would rather game than socialize (I've blogged on this before, I'll probably reblog on it here) and he gets obsessed with anything he does electronically. I can say this issue is FINALLY (age 15) getting a little easier to handle. NO easy answers.

    Reply
  3. We have avoided the DS/hand-held gaming system as well as game systems in the kids' bedrooms. I am lucky in that my kid would rather draw/paint/create than anything else.

    However, limiting tv is tough. My husband keeps it on all day long on the weekends, and both my kids see tv as a boredom filler. I had to unplug it last weekend to keep them from turning it on.

    These tools are great for whenever we move into the Internet age. So far we've avoided it!

    Reply
  4. Aejay Goehring says:

    I was just looking through my analytics, and saw some visits from this page. It's so cool to see that people are finding a use for my software project. I created and maintain the focusr software project because I'm a college student who has a terrible, terrible problem staying focused when I'm using a computer to get stuff done. I'm not diagnosed as ADHD (I've had my suspicions, and so have my parents, though), but I sure do have a problem with focusing on the work at hand. I made focusr to help control the way I use my time online as a student, so I get my papers done BEFORE I get lost in Dead Rising 2 or whatever other video game I'm sucked into.

    It's really neat to see my software talked about and used in unique ways like this. I wish I knew who this mystery person is; I'd like to thank “HelperD” for helping to spread the word about my little software project.

    Reply

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The "ADHD Mommas" are not medical or mental health professionals, nor an ADHD coach. Any opinions shared here are just that, opinions. I, and the other "ADHD Mommas," are sharing our experiences with our own ADHD children. Please do not re-post or publish any content or photos without a link back to {a mom's view of ADHD}. Have the courtesy to give credit where credit is due. Copyright protected. All rights reserved.

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