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Grandparenting

screen addiction breaking my heart

(120 Posts)
Mebster Sun 22-Sep-19 22:28:17

My grandsons, 8 and 5, are completely addicted to screens. They want to do nothing else and ask to go home if I try to get them to take even a brief break from games or TV. They loved playing with me until about a year ago but no more.

Fiachna50 Sun 22-Sep-19 22:30:47

Sadly, I think its a sign of the times. I think even adults are addicted to screens. Not that this helps your situation. I really am at a loss what to suggest to you.

SalsaQueen Sun 22-Sep-19 22:33:42

My Granddaughters are the same age, and my son(their father) doesn't live with them, so has them every other weekend plus one evening in the week.

They play games on their tablets, but we go out to play centres (we did today because it was raining). We had a picnic yesterday as it was so warm and sunny, then went to the park and shops.

I think it is vital to do things away from the house. We went out for lunch today, and when the weather is decent we always get outside.

Fiachna50 Sun 22-Sep-19 22:37:40

Salsaqueen I do try to take my grandchild outside, but it can be difficult in inclement weather. Mebster, is there any chance they would even go to the library, cinema or kick around with a football?

etheltbags1 Sun 22-Sep-19 22:38:17

My dad is the same, if I try to take her screen off her she screams and shouts. I wanted to take her out yesterday as she was staying over and as her iPad has been removed she watched tv but it was the same screaming etc. It was such a golden day we could have gone to the park or just the garden. I don't know where it will end with our younger generation

etheltbags1 Sun 22-Sep-19 22:39:40

I meant darling granddaughter not dad. My Samsung tablet does not recognise some abrieviations

Fiachna50 Sun 22-Sep-19 22:42:23

Gosh Ethel thats a shame. Luckily, I have a pond we can walk to and sometimes we go feed the ducks. I dont know what it will be like as my grandchild gets older, but I very much feel for you and Mebster. Wonder if any other folks on this site can suggest ideas.

Gonegirl Sun 22-Sep-19 22:43:43

It is primarily down to the parents to ration screen time, but you would be quite justified in doing so when they are with you. If they object and ask to go home, tell them they can't.

We pussyfoot around our grandchildren far too much.

mcem Sun 22-Sep-19 22:50:10

I believe the answer is definitely the provision of activities away from the house. Mine love museums and cinema trips. Yes cinemas are screen-based but the interaction and the followup discussions are excellent.

callgirl1 Sun 22-Sep-19 22:50:13

My youngest grandchild is 11, and everywhere he goes, his tablet goes as well, even to meals out with the family. I don`t understand why my son and his wife allow it.

Oopsminty Sun 22-Sep-19 22:50:20

Hello there, Mebster. I know just what you mean. My grandsons are 10 and 8 and addicted to Fortnite and other games.

What we tend to do is spend half an hour with a jigsaw we've been working on. Then a walk to the forest with the dog. Then we get to play on screens.

I have got quite addicted to Fortnite myself which they find hilarious so we get to play together. I decided to see what it was they were so obsessed about.

I think as long as they know screen time will be available during the visit then you can possibly manage to squash other activities in.

We baked the other day as well. I purchased some rice paper Fortnite cake decorations so we got to bake cookies.

I hope you manage to get some fun with them soon!

And don't be hurt when they say they want to go home. Just tell them they can't!

Namsnanny Mon 23-Sep-19 01:16:50

Gonegirl…^We pussyfoot around our grandchildren far too much^
Had to laugh at this......you clearly haven't spent much time on the estrangement threads have you? grin

Namsnanny Mon 23-Sep-19 01:20:47

Mebster….I feel sorry for children today. Have you talked to their parents?

If its something the parents arnt worried about you'll have difficulty applying different rules at your place.

5y old does seem a little too young though!

stella1949 Mon 23-Sep-19 04:17:50

I agree with Namsnanny - it might seem logical to say " we shouldn't pussyfoot around the grandchildren". But at the end of the day they are not our children , they belong to their parents. And if the parents allow this, we're not in a position to lay down the law and stop the children from sticking to their devices.

My 10 yr old grandson is a Fortnite addict - I see him every morning and afternoon and he is either on his PC at home, or on his phone while in my car. He talks to other kids online , and I've no idea of what they are talking about.

I'm just glad when , on the odd occasion, he'll suddenly ask me what I think about something and we end up having a really good talk about space, or the weather, or who has the biggest army in the world, or whatever comes into his 10 year old brain. I'm just happy for those times.

We can't change the way our GC are being brought up - woe betide any grandparent who tries. If my parents had decided to go against my rules with the children I'd have been very upset - I'm never going to risk that as a grandmother.

Willow500 Mon 23-Sep-19 06:17:56

I've just watched a cartoon on FB which was heartbreaking about a little character ignored in crowds of people all glued to their various devices. It's a sad sign of the times unfortunately and I'm not sure how we will break the cycle as parents set the examples to their offspring.

Maybe you could set a rule that at Grandma's screen time is strictly limited to a specific period of time and then they're put away and normal play is resumed. It should probably be up to their parents to enforce though.

PamelaJ1 Mon 23-Sep-19 07:11:32

We have our DGS every Friday and all he wants is my iPad.
That’s fine, he plays Jurassic world and slither.io and other games that, if they were in a book and he was sitting at the table we would be happy he was doing.
I am quite strict and we also go on the trampoline and kick a ball about because it’s part of the deal. He would prefer to sit on the sofa but I win!
The other week I gave him a choice. He could have an hour of screen time but he could choose how it was split up. 4x15 mins, 2x30. He chose 6x10. It worked. I think he thought he was in charge. Maybe he was😏

NfkDumpling Mon 23-Sep-19 07:17:25

DGS became addicted and he’s only five. His parents noticed that his character changed - and not for the better. So, he’s now banned from games and iPad during the week and only plays on it at weekends. He’s accepted this - now. But it took a fight and lots of tears. And he’s a much nicer person.

Hetty58 Mon 23-Sep-19 07:29:34

I think screens are their 'default settings' so we have to override them with other little things to do like:

'We have to go out as the dog needs her walk. You can take turns with her lead.'

'We're going to the shop and you can choose lunch'

'I need to exercise (for my back) at the park'

'We're going to see my friend today'

'I have to take our books back to the library'

etc.

Once they are prised away from their screens it's fine until we're back home - then it's back to default!

GagaJo Mon 23-Sep-19 07:51:19

Although there is proof that work on a touch screen improves hand eye coordination and also processing skills, we are NOT giving my grandson (1 1/2) any kind of tablet. He's still fascinated by them but NO.

Stave it off as long as we can.

Humbertbear Mon 23-Sep-19 08:55:15

I’m afraid it is down to parents to limit screen time. My GD all have phones and tablets but usage at home is strictly controlled. My GD was here for the weekend and she used her phone for photos only. On Sunday afternoon she said ‘but I haven’t had any device time’ and I pointed out that she had simply been too busy working on a painting of a dragon.
We have to be consistent when dealing with tech - my husband often gets told off by the GC for being on his phone and the chorus of ‘it’s not device time’ can be heard.
I’m obviously lucky that even the 14 yr old GD still likes to bake with me. She’s going to do my nails next week!

Daisymae Mon 23-Sep-19 09:03:32

When we have GS w I limit the time on screen - say 45 mins, give a 5 minute warning and then away it goes. He's ok with this. We then do something more interesting. I understand why parents allow it, as it keeps children quiet. But it must overall affect their communication abilities and concentration. You only have to look at parents who are in their phone while pushing a buggy. Saw one dad absorbed in his when his child was in a very high activity. Can't blame the children.

suziewoozie Mon 23-Sep-19 09:23:35

It’s just bad parenting to allow unlimited screen time. In DDs house ( and ours) we have a similar system to Daisys. They have a daily allowance and have choice over when they ‘spend’ it. It’s written down in a notebook and once it’s spent, it’s spent. They tend to postpone using it and then get so absorbed in everything else that they rarely use it all up by the end of the day.

Gonegirl Mon 23-Sep-19 09:46:05

Am I the only rubbish granny who is eternally sometimes grateful for screens?

Be honest.

Chestnut Mon 23-Sep-19 10:03:38

I agree the parents are in control overall and really must carefully limit screen time as it's so addictive. There have been cases of youngsters getting seriously overcome by their addiction.

However, I think grandparents can set their own rules when the children visit or stay over. My house, my rules! It requires careful planning of course, you want to avoid a screaming fit if possible. As others have said, keep them occupied in other ways, either going out or with indoor activities. Have plenty of games, colouring, crafts, whatever. If you can engage their interest with some kind of discussion or interesting true story that's good. Just try to keep them interested. Obviously outdoor activities are best when possible. Keep the screen time for when it's convenient for you, when cooking the dinner or whatever.

I might add that a good movie can always count as screen time, but not cartoons/animations. Mine watch old movies (with real people) when they're with me. There are so many to choose from. Think of the ones you loved as a child.

Rosina Mon 23-Sep-19 10:22:52

My GC have their own ipads. If we are out they ask different members of the famiy if they can play on their phones - sometimes they have the ipads with them and they sit there like zombies. I could scream quite frankly. When they stay with us or are in our charge the rule is the ipads stay at home; luckily they haven't refused to come - I don't think parents would allow that anyway - and if they ask for games on phones we just say we haven't any. Quite how long we can maintain this stance I don't know; there is much to keep them occupied here but I am not smug about this - I dread your situation arising Mebster because as they get older....I'll try not to think about it right now as I have no solution other than hoping that ipads are found to cause rabies or something similar.