Videogame / screen addiction

by Honolulu Mother

Caitlin Gibson of the Washington Post took a recent look at a case of videogame addiction:

The next level
Video games are more addictive than ever. This is what happens when kids can’t turn them off.

I really think this may be the biggest challenge for our kids’ generation. Maybe the boys lean a little more toward videogame addiction and the girls lean a little more toward social media addiction, but they’re all faced with the challenge of pulling themselves away from a virtual world that’s been deliberately designed to be immersive and addictive (because that’s what makes for a successful game / app / platform), and is always available at any time of the day or night. Even though most of us had video arcades and MTV and maybe an Atari or early Nintendo available in our teens and college years, the technology and availability weren’t comparable: we just didn’t have the same level of temptation to face down.

We don’t have problems at the level portrayed in this article, but I certainly wouldn’t say my kids are immune to this and they’re still trying to find ways to be able to have a little screen time after school and still be able to pry themselves loose back out before too long to get back to homework or other projects. We don’t have particularly strict screen time restrictions, as my theory is that this is something they really have to learn to self-monitor to be successful in college and adulthood.

How do your kids deal with the call of the screen? Are they independently able to exercise moderation, do they exercise moderation primarily through parental strictures, or is this a problem area for your family?


119 thoughts on “Videogame / screen addiction

  1. Very interesting article!

    Boys tend to be more susceptible to compulsive gaming than girls, but any kid who is trying to avoid overwhelming stress — bullies at school, a difficult home environment, social anxiety — might be especially drawn to video games. Experts also see a correlation between obsessive video game use and traits associated with autism, attention deficit disorders, anxiety and depression, although the exact nature of the connection is not fully understood.

    Based on personal experience, I’d say the video game addiction was a symptom of his underlying mental health issues, ASD, etc. coupled with a toxic home and school environment. He isn’t doing better at boarding school because he doesn’t have access to video games (he does have access) he’s doing better because he’s away from his previous toxic home and school environment.

  2. I don’t get it. Why wouldn’t you take away the computer and Xbox earlier? My son on the spectrum has limited access and during the school year, iPad has to go away during the week. He doesn’t have the self control and self regulation to handle it.

  3. So my generation faced (and largely failed) the test of foods that have been specifically designed to target the “crave”/”binge” sensors and turn off the part of the brain that tells you you’ve had enough. And now my kids face the test of media that has been specifically designed to target the “crave”/”binge” sensors and turn off the part of the brain that tells you you’ve had enough.

    Progress is awesome.

  4. I agree that it is something teens have to learn to manage themselves if they are going to be able to handle the freedom of college. Surprisingly to me, my DD is actually a little worse than my DS. He is pretty good about managing his time. My DD has gotten sucked into fan fiction, and will read for hours, then be in a panic about having essays to write. She will also try to pull her phone out at the table and read, despite knowing that I’m going to jump on that. Until about two years ago, she never read. I read recently that online stories on a phone or tablet may make reading easier for dyslexics because it allows them to scroll. I’m delighted she has developed a love for reading and writing, but she really does seem to have trouble shifting gears to real life.

  5. Why wouldn’t you take away the computer and Xbox earlier?

    “He was relentless about asking when he could play — it was a continuous negotiation,” Robin said. The routine grew exhausting, she added, and sometimes she and Terrence caved in to Byrne’s demands. “The games were his refuge.”

    At 10 he was a pediatric psychiatric inpatient so I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and say it was really really tough.

  6. When Byrne threw the glass, his mother, Robin, didn’t panic; she mostly felt numb. For five years, she and her husband, Terrence, had felt their son slipping away — descending deeper and deeper into a realm they didn’t like or understand, consumed by the virtual worlds shared by millions of strangers, all reachable through his Xbox and his computer. Robin and Terrence had conferred with therapists, medical experts and school counselors to try to help their son.

    I see Mooshi beat me to it.

    Take away the fuck1ng video games.

    Rhett, throw them in the garbage and there will be no negotiation about it.

  7. Rhett, throw them in the garbage and there will be no negotiation about it.

    Then he’s on to heroin.

    Do you really expect throwing away the video games to solve the problems of someone with sever psychiatric problems living in a toxic home and school environment.

  8. My oldest has had two different developmental pediatricians, both specialists in ADHD, and both have said very strongly that kids with ADHD are far more vulnerable to screen, and especially game addiction than the rest of the population and that their access has to be limited. Interestingly, the first ped also told me that there are some screen-based therapeutic games out there which may have some success – but games aimed at the general population are designed to be addictive, not therapeutic.
    And in fact, my two ADHD kids have much bigger issues with game addiction than my middle kid. He plays some games, but spends less time overall on the computer and when he is on, he is more likely to be found scrolling through lists of MTG cards or reading satirical articles.

    One thing that is making all of this worse is the move by the school systems to require students to use computers for most of their work

  9. Do you really expect that if someone has an addiction to alcohol that you should keep a few bottles of Jack Daniels around and negotiate about how many shots he can have at night, maybe if all his homework is done and he keeps his grades up and feeds the dog?

  10. Milo said “Take away the fuck1ng video games.

    Rhett, throw them in the garbage and there will be no negotiation about it.”

    There is no physical game to chuck. That is why it is so insidious. The kids have to use the computer to complete their assignments, and multi player games, the opioid of preference, are just a click away.

    Back when my oldest was first having problems with it, we did toss the laptop. Now he does all his work on the iMac in the kitchen so we can see what is going on. But I am not always home in the afternoon, and I usually need to work on a system upstairs.

  11. Milo,

    He was a psyc inpatient when he was 10. Do you have any experience with that?

    My main criticism of your solution is that it misses the main issue, namely his poorly managed psychiatric problems and toxic home and school environment. You’ll note he has access to video games at school and doesn’t have a problem.

  12. We also have a rule that all cellphones, smart and dumb, must be on a charger in the kitchen at bedtime. One of my friends has a daughter with ADHD, and discovered that the girl was sitting up all night chainviewing TV shows on her phone. The kid was literally going to school with no sleep, which makes ADHD even worse.

    I have another friend with a son with ADHD, who turns off the router, puts all the laptops into the room with the router, and then physically LOCKS the room at night. They have found that nothing else works

  13. Rhett, why do you say his home is toxic? I don’t see any indication of that in the article. It does say he was dx’ed with ADHD, which is an enormous risk factor, and it sounds like he is OCD as well.

  14. Rhett, why do you say his home is toxic?

    Because as soon as he went off to camp and boarding school everything apparently resolved itself.

    And I don’t mean the parents were doing anything wrong. It’s sort of like my point about teaching your kids or spouse to ski vs. hiring and instructor. Sometimes the personalities and baggage just don’t work in terms of resolving the issue.

  15. Rhett – It would have been a start.

    Why? He has access at boarding school and he doesn’t have a problem. Obviously, it wasn’t the problem.

    Keep in mind to be an inpatient at 10 would typically require a suicide attempt or at least a very strong possibility of one in the near future.

  16. Or maybe it was just because in camp and school, his time is so structured that he can’t sink back into his addiction. That is why drug addiction programs appear to work, only to have the addicts get back into drugs as soon as they reenter real life. Same with diet bootcamps.

  17. My boys, especially Twin2, love screen time and managing it is something we have put considerable thought into. My issue is its tendency to displace other activities so we allow 30 min for each boy each day, subject to chores and behavior, and have a newly created token system so they can save their time from busy days for less busy days. We have a Wii and Minecraft on-line and have agreed that computers belong in common areas. Khan Academy doesn’t count toward screen time for math or programming (playing other people’s games DOES count) and other activities (creating an Excel spreadsheet of all your Pokemon cards and their characteristics) may be approved upon request. Not too much homework requires the computer yet and much of that (typing spelling words or essays, for example) could be done without internet, which removes much of the temptation. We also talk about why we have the rules we have, and, because of our religious beliefs, about temptation in general. I’m young enough that I know people whose marriages have been negatively affected by excessive video gaming.

    I have some of the same addictive tendencies (in college, I’d relax by playing for awhile) and reading-in-general but not addiction to video games.

  18. We have more trouble with TV than with video games. When my tether/patience is short (unfortunately it has been like that all the time since we moved – I have been pretty anxious) I am more likely to let them watch more TV than they should because it is easier for me. Rrrgh. Nothing like the kid in the story, though, thank goodness. I don’t know that I would be able to handle that.

  19. One flaw in the story for our purposes is that they are dealing with a kid with potentially fatal underlying psychiatric problems. That’s vastly different than a moody but neuro-typical totebag teen who prefers to play Call of Duty to doing yet another math worksheet.

  20. I know a kid who followed the exact path of the kid profiled in that article –obsessed with video games, sent on a wilderness therapy program and then boarding school. I guess wilderness therapy and boarding school are common recommendations for cases like this. The happy ending (so far) is that this kid is about to receive a graduate degree in data mining. Is this a bit ironic?

    Throwing away the games or preventing access may seem a solution, at least a first step. But some kids, whether because of psychological issues or willful personalities will move on to other destructive behaviors like refusing to do school work, running away, using drugs/alcohol, risky sexual behavior, cutting themselves, or worse. The parents face a challenging situation that is hard to understand unless you’ve been there or have seen it up close. I agree that extreme structure can serve as an initial solution, but how long can that be kept up?

    Here’s another article, and includes a story of a mother fighting against the public school so her kindergartener son would not be forced to use an iPad.
    Kids turn violent as parents battle ‘digital heroin’ addiction

  21. You know whom I’m missing now? kaleberg. She’d have some choice words about this article.

    And then we could hear about the Christmas tree with real candles.

  22. I agree that extreme structure can serve as an initial solution, but how long can that be kept up?

    In many cases kids naturally grow out of that inability to self regulate. I’m sure we’re all familiar with a totebag kid who goes off to college and flunks out because they couldn’t manage their time. Then they do their own thing for a while and go back part or full time at 25 and go on to a happy productive life. Their issue was just one of not being mature enough at 18 for going off to college.

  23. And then we could hear about the Christmas tree with real candles.

    And knowing the name of the farmer who raised your Christmas goose.

  24. “And knowing the name of the farmer who raised your Christmas goose.”

    I don’t want to give the appearance of making fun, just in case she lurks. I really did enjoy hearing about the Christmas tree.

  25. I’ve been letting my kids play on the kindles and watch tv a lot more than normal because the house has been a mess (we have had workers here every day and I need them out of the way),and my oldest was sick for a few days to kick off winter break. Today I’ve been painting the new family room so have also needed them out of my hair so they’ve played for two hours. I’m about to cut them off for the rest of the day and kick them outside. Usually it’s no electronics during the week and they can play on the weekends for an hour or two. My oldest seems to finally be able to self regulate, the 5 year old has never been interested until recently and now he’s really interested and the 3 year old loves screens and obviously can’t regulate herself. My 9 year old will get bored after about two hours and pick up a book or go do something else.

    Other rules – never while eating, never while out doing errands and never with friends over at this age.

  26. And knowing the name of the farmer who raised your Christmas goose.

    And why MIT is the One True University To Rule Them All.

  27. I should read this later. Right now, I’ve just checked into flights for which our bags are not completely packed. Main task remaining–dig out my fleece-lined tights, long johns, and other warm things. Looking at the weather recently, this is a step I don’t want to skimp on!

    My kid spends a lot of time online. Is it his refuge? Yes. Is that healthy or not? Yes. Occasionally (but not often), like when he was sobbing about not having contact with his dad, at 10 pm during exam week, I’m ok with him stuffing away feelings, including online. But having it as a “refuge” isn’t always unhealthy. The days that I hear genuine, real laughter coming from his room as he plays, I have no problem with him having a place he can go and enjoy other people. There are lots of things he has learned from that game–how to put up with teammates who aren’t very good. How to deal with people who try to push you around. How to laugh at yourself. How to not give up on stuff (that last one is his submission–I just asked him). All of this is important. More than anything intellectual, it is what he needs to learn to succeed. How awesome that he can work on it whenever he’s ready!

    Of course, there are times he plays too much, and neglects schoolwork. I often let him deal with the natural consequences there. He does need to know how to do this on his own, and when he is healthy, he does well at it. When the depression is overtaking him, it’s not like he’d be able to focus on schoolwork anyway. (You call it defeatism, I call it realism, and I do make sure he doesn’t spend all his time on it, even then)

    I make sure to talk with him about the need to balance his game play with other things and strategies for setting limits for himself, and what’s going on in the game. Once we start talking about the game, conversation might be all about voice lines and funny hats, or it might be about one of those little pieces of psychological growth. It all build connection, so it’s all good.

    Now back to my closet!

  28. DS plays Minecraft mostly. He has his phone and an iPad. He had an iPod which used to be taken away during the week. As he has gotten older our enforcement has grown lax. The kids do their schoolwork, do activities, play outside. Most days everything is fine. Sometimes a warning has to be issued on too much game time. No playing games past bedtime. They are usually good with this and DH spot checks. I would say, their self regulation has gotten better but parental supervision is still required.

  29. We don’t have a gaming system like XBox, so not sure of the impact of those. Our kids somehow didn’t ask for a gaming system and now older kid is at a phase where he would prefer a laptop both for schoolwork and entertainment. The family computer is old and slow. I get irritated with it myself.

  30. The problem is that you can’t control what happens in college when your kids have unlimited access to Xbox or any video game. There is a college student that is part of the story in Screenagers. He’s addicted, and never eats or goes to classes. He becomes sick, and his parents finally find out.

    I was a little surprised when I saw this in Screenagers, but then it happened to my coworker’s son. It wasn’t alcohol, but video games that caused him to flunk out of college. They tried to set limits at home, but they had no idea that he stopped doing almost anything (including sleep) until he had free access to video games when he left for freshman year.

    I admit that my kid spends too much time online. It isn’t games that is the attraction, but her friends on Snapchat and other stupid apps. She knows that she has limits, and I am very grateful that she goes for 7 weeks during camp with no devices.

    I do think she might have some issues when she goes to college if she doesn’t start to manage get time when we’re not around to tell her to get off her phone.

  31. I don’t have kids, but I grew up with Nintendo, Playstation, Sega, XBox, and all the game systems that are out now – just a little less advanced. My parents had to limit my video game time to an hour or so. Now, I’m glad they did. Later, it taught me to do things in moderation.

  32. I like that you used the games as a platform to build conversation. Many kids and parents don’t have that type of relationship. How long did that process take? Is he always willing to talk or does it take a little push?

  33. I think I am somewhere between Rhett and Milo on this — in a way, I agree with both.

    I do have a very non-typical kid (althought not inpatient-at-ten level), and I empathize with how difficult it is to find where to draw the line sometimes. Trying to figure out how to put it into words, the biggest thing is that it’s not one thing — it’s everything, all the time. It’s homework, and bedtime, and toys/videogames, and dinner time, and tags on clothes, and no friends at school, andandandand. Which battle do you pick? Which hill do you die on? Because you can’t die on them all. Which power struggle is worth it? And the specific issues vary day to day as well; something is a huge deal one day and nothing the next; or one day, you think things are normal, and then next something blows up and you wonder if you need to cancel everything and get to a psychiatrist. It is a life where your daily life swings from high to low to high again, frequently many times over the course of even an hour.

    Wtih all of those daily/hourly spikes, it’s hard to see the big-picture trends. It’s like looking at a stock market chart — it’s hard to see a long-term trend from a minute-by-minute graph, because of all the noise. So it frequently takes a long time to recognize a pattern. Invariably, once I realized something was a real issue that required action, it was eminently clear in retrospect that it had been an issue for a long time — I just hadn’t seen it amongst the 187 other things going on. Added bonus is that when you have a kid like that, you question your own judgment — it’s like your own kid is gaslighting you, because something that seemed horrible one day seems totally normal the next, and vice-versa. As a result of all of this, it usually took that One Horrible Event to crystalize things for me and make me realize I need to change something. Luckily for us, that One Horrible Event never got to the “throwing things” or self-harm stage. But looking back at my own perceptions and state of mind when I was in the middle of all of that, I can totally see that happening.

    But on the flip side, when you have a kid like that, consistency is even more important. You just *cannot* say no 9 times and yes on the 10th — that just makes it worse. EVERY time I decided to lighten up on something to give DD a break, I paid for it with much worse behavior the next day. Every. single. time. Here I’d try to return to normal, and she assumed we had a new normal (that involved “yes” where there had previously been only “no”). The only, only, only parenting technique that worked for us was 1-2-3 Magic, which is all about staying calm, not engaging/explaining, and then holding your ground 100% of the time. But even that was slooooow progress; we had to set one new expectation at a time at a let her achieve that consistently before moving on to the next. So you’re still letting a lot of behavioral issues go, for a long time, as you work on higher-priority ones.

    And Rhett is also right that you can’t just take away something the kid is using as an outlet and not deal with the underlying issue, or the kid is going to find far more destructive ways to manage his anxiety. I think these parents were in a huge bind, because the kid had very real anxiety coming from very real social problems, and the one thing that served as an outlet for that anxiety itself became a huge issue — I think it became a crutch that allowed him to blow off enough steam to make it through to the next day, but at the same time, it meant that he never learned to deal with the underlying issues. But again, when you’re the parent looking at that from the outside, in that kind of environment, it is really, really hard to distinguish between “useful outlet” vs. “destructive addition” — until, say, the kid throws his glass at your door, and you realize you’re on the other side of that line.

  34. How long did that process take? Is he always willing to talk or does it take a little push?

    Micah, I’m not sure who your question was addressed to, but I can tell you that with all my kids we’ve had an ongoing conversation about the challenge of limiting screen time for years. As they get older they’re more willing to admit that it’s something they find difficult to turn off and would like to be better about, and we can talk about ways to handle temptation, but that sort of conversation you can only have during a calm moment when there aren’t immediate stresses, not when you’re shouting at each other and there’s time-sensitive stuff the kid needs to be doing.

  35. Great topic. Wish I had more time to comment.

    When our oldest was younger – around age 8 or 9 – we were having a lot of conflict around screens and inability to get off them in a timely manner, accompanied by lots of grouchiness that lasted a long time afterwards. Thanks to a comment here, I learned you can set the router by device to control internet access. So that’s what we did with both kids. They each have their own computers, but their internet access is automatically controlled to allow them on only at certain times on Friday/Saturday/Sunday.

    This has worked really well for us over the past several years. I don’t have to tell them to get off and hear “five more minutes” repeatedly. They know what times they’re allowed on, and what times they’ll get kicked off, and they’re able to manage their time to wrap up whatever they’re doing before getting kicked off so they are not booted right in the middle of a game.

    Oldest is in middle school, and he now has a school-issued laptop. We do not limit internet on that computer at all. So, when he is on it doing homework during the week, he will also spend a few minutes on YouTube looking for music, or he’ll google funny memes, etc. in a limited manner. But he doesn’t do any gaming on it, and doesn’t watch YouTube videos on it like he does his personal computer, and this is how we are transitioning to that self-governing piece that has to come eventually.

    LfB – great comment @ 2:54. HM, great topic.

  36. LfB – great comment. I find myself caught in the weeds as parent in charge. It is hard to look at the big picture when whacking at the weeds.

  37. Micah, if you’re asking me:
    Communication has been important to me since my son was born. At first it was mostly the delighted “look what my little one can do” variety. After he was bullied to the point of self-harming in first grade, there were lots of darker things to discuss. In my post, I mentioned the depression which has gotten more severe over the years. Between that and him going through puberty, I’ve had to change a lot in the way I reach for communication. Asking direct questions usually results in monosyllabic answers these days, or in pushes back against privacy invasions, but if I say “I’d love to hear about that when you’re ready” and then show that I mean it, he will often open up about the big stuff. A recent happy example: he texted me to say that the girl who he’s liked all semester had asked for his Snapchat. When he came home from school, I just said “sounds like you had a great day. I’m looking forward to when you’re ready to tell me about it” and he went in his room and shut the door. Later that evening, we were driving somewhere and he just started talking about their texts and what he’s hoping for in the relationship, etc. One thing that I have been surprised to realize is that things I think of as showing interest “really, how so?” “I bet you did”, etc knock him off track and he usually shuts down.

    TL/DR: my answer to your question is that it has taken a lot of prep work before using games to stimulate conversation.

  38. By “show that I mean it” I mean that I don’t talk to him about anything after that until he’s wound down from school. That can be an hour.

    Keberg is on WordPress. I sent her a note saying that people here are interested in her take on today’s topic.

  39. Lfb, you are describing all 3 of my kids. I never know if an issue is not a big deal or Really Important. With my oldest, we realized that gaming had become a serious problem for him around 13 or so, because he was up all night with the laptop. So initially, we took the laptop away and put it in a drawer in our bedroom at night. But then, he started sneaking into our room and stealing it out of the drawer around 1am or so. When I confronted him, he started crying and said he couldn’t control himself. That is when we realized there was a problem and got rid of the laptop.

    with my youngest, a lot of things were building over the last year or two, but again, I couldn’t see the forest for the trees. And then I noticed bald spots in her hair. At first we thought it was ringworm, and so did the ped, so she did a 6 week course of treatment which did nothing. In the meantime, she was seen by a new developmental ped, who said she seemed really anxious and should see a counselor. Then, the regular pediatrican, at her ringworm followup, told us that testing had not picked up any signs of a fungus, and that the spots looked like she had been pulling out her hair. That pediatrician also told us that it looked like severe anxiety and also recommended counseling. So now she is seeing a therapist and at her next developmental ped meeting, may get put on some kind of med.

    It is just so hard to tell what is important and what isn’t

  40. LfB, I agree completely with your answer. I think I’ve mentioned before that with my son I learned that I can’t be the parent I want to be, but instead have to be the parent he needs. So on vacations when I thought we could relax rules and be flexible with stuff, I learned that life was much more difficult than if I just kept with the predictability of everyday life. And I agree passionately that you can’t fight every battle. i think a lot of people on here have no exposure to a kid for whom Every Single Thing is difficult, every hour of the day. It is absolutely draining for them, and they may be able to hold it together at school all day, if you’re lucky, but all that emotion has to come out sometime. For them, having an outlet is really important, and that outlet isn’t sports for every kid. I’m not saying I agree with how those parents handled things, but it is not the simple, obvious answer that those parents were too stupid or too lazy to see. I feel a lot of compassion for anyone in that situation.

  41. MBT, that’s straight from my heart! What you just said is exactly why I’m not looking forward to seeing my sister and her daughters who are my son’s age and a couple years older this weekend. Between not “getting” that what’s hard and easy for him aren’t the same as for themselves and the girls, and not seeing any reason to defer to my parenting decisions the way they do to my Brothers in Laws’ I often grit my teeth at family gatherings and hope my kid isn’t picking up on criticism.

  42. I’ve recently watched the documentary Screenagers and it was very enlightening. Teenage brains have more reward receptors then any other age group and they have MRI’s of teenagers addicted to heroin and those addicted to video games. The same areas of the brains are lit up in both addictions. There is now a treatment center dedicated to addressing screen addiction where they follow a similar program to getting off drugs.

    I’ve also attended a cyber-security presentation given by the cyber team from our local sheriff and DA’s office. The best advice they had to give was for parents to have a device curfew and to put those devices in your room. Many of the cyber crimes they investigate involving teens occurred after midnight when parents were sleeping. If you can put this in place when your kids were younger it was an established rule by the time they would be old enough to get into trouble.

  43. The best advice they had to give was for parents to have a device curfew and to put those devices in your room.

    Until what age?

  44. Until you were sure they understood the consequences of any actions or until they graduated high school. For example, if your son or daughter received a nude pic of someone 15 or younger and then forwarded it along, s/he can be charged with distribution of child pornography. They usually tried not to go that far but there have been instances where they have. This means your kid will have to register as a sex offender and this will follow them for life. If your child was in the pic, it has devastating consequences to their reputation and self-esteem.

    The DA said most of the cyber bulling took place when parents were sleeping and they were always stunned with what was “recovered” from the devices that were confiscated from their house. Not to mention the legal fees and potential damage to their child’s academic career because the school was usually involved.

  45. I hope you don’t plan on voting for this moron DA who thinks it’s appropriate to prosecute teens for sending each other pics of their naughty parts.

  46. NY is still one of only two states still prosecutes “kids” as adults if they are 16 or 17. The only other state is NC. While you might think the DA is a moron, it is possible that the parent of the child that was the victim will not feel this way. These cases happen because there are generally two sides to every story, AND you don’t always know how they obtained the photos.

    I sit through the local police presentation about this topic every year because I have to represent our district in this meeting due to my position on a local board. The public school kids in each of these same districts have an annual assembly to hear a similar presentation every year from the police starting in 6th or 7th grades. The police also think that kids should not have to be prosecuted as adults, but that is the law so they try to educate these kids to the risks that come with this type of behavior.

    There are actual cases that he shares from the county, and the state where kids have committed suicide, or tried to commit suicide because of distribution of these types of photos. The reason that there are prosecutions even though it might seem harmless is that there can be devastation consequences.

  47. My other concern is the screen time block comes off after high school graduation but college deposits were due 5/1. They only have a little over two months of this new freedom before you drop them off at freshman orientation. It doesn’t seem wise to me to have the freedom gradient that steep.

  48. “My parents had to limit my video game time to an hour or so. Now, I’m glad they did. Later, it taught me to do things in moderation.”

    @Micha – my parents limited our tv to one hour a week during the school week – Now I have a tv in most rooms in our house including the bathroom. I loooove tv. My brother not so much. Sometimes I think this stuff is just hard wired.

  49. This is certainly a big challenge in our family. The screen is used for work, social connections, and pure entertainment. For my son video games provide connections with friends and a break from his responsibilities. He definitely spends more time on it then I would like, but so far I haven’t seen him do it to the exclusion of real life activities.

    He wanted a gaming PC, and we told him that he had to build it himself. So for six months he would spend time on PC Part Picker specifying different builds, and watching videos of builds and reading reviews. For months we heard him questioning whether he should get water cooling or not, Intel or AMD, Nvidia or anything else. He was even looking at kickstarter funded PC case manufacturers. He worked with his Dad earning money to pay for it all. On Black Friday he ordered his parts and last Saturday he invited his friends over to help him build it. With minor tweaking it all came together – it has a clear case, LED lights and an Overwatch figure.

    However, I’m working from home this week, because we found that he had installed a video game that we had specifically told him not to install. It’s three steps forward and two steps backwards. I have a new router to install that will give me the knobs to turn to limit Internet access or certain websites if I need to.

    I agree that the end game is for him to be able to regulate his usage once he is on his own. His job is to push our limits, and our job is to push back. LfB’s post is a reminder that it can be hard to tell if all that pushing is masking a more serious issue.

  50. SBJ, my oldest is in the middle of building a computer (SO MUCH time spent on Part Picker!) and he’s like a stereotypical bride trying to make everything work with his color scheme. Because of course, clear case . . .

  51. I’ve never heard of Part Picker, wish I would’ve had DS use it. One thing I don’t like about his computer use is that he does more consuming and less creating these days. The game he plays lets people submit things to be added. He often has an idea, sometimes tells me he’s started on it, and never finishes one (to my knowledge). We have got to use the coming summer better than the last one!

  52. hm, best wishes to your son on this momentous occasion.

    One lesson learned: DS bought the full set of the appropriate color cables from CableMod but then determined that most of them wouldn’t show, so he could have saved some money. The other lesson was that the water cooling unit didn’t fit as he thought it would, but he was able to makes some tweaks to make it work.

  53. This is why we have a pink computer with a clear side. I think DH wanted to remind me (and perhaps himself) that he knows how to build computers. It was a good project for him and one of the monkeys.

  54. It was our experience, and I didn’t realize this until DS1 called us out on what was going on with DS3 a couple of years ago, that open ended games, wherein the story just goes on forever, affect a player differently from games you can beat or win. So Skyrim turned DS3 into a sullen teenager only interested in playing Skyrim, whereas other games like Assassin’s Creed didn’t have the same effect. When we banned a category of games, not all video games, he turned back into himself.

  55. We have adjuncts in our cyber security program who are in the cybercrimes unit of the NYPD. They often tell us about these terrible cases involving teens. Yes, teens do get prosecuted. More commonly, though, are cases where adults are preying on teens. As a parent, you need to be alert to that possibility. One of our adjuncts, btw, does presentations in the public schools for parents and has presented up here in Westchester.
    Our head of cybersecurity has teens himself and advises that parents should always have a router that at least tracks site visits, or better yet, has controls that let you blocks things and set timeouts. This should be at the router level, not the computer or browser level.

  56. We have parental controls on our router. Obviously, this could be circumvented by a phone connection. We set limits on time on screen usage relating to the quality of the time usage. We try to be open about the rationale behind the limits. I think the kids enjoy not having to make the decisions all by themselves. They will have the chance to make those decisions soon enough.

  57. We too have cyber security presentations fone by the police to middle school students. These are ongoing. The counselors have presentations for the parents. What was more informative was the frank talk from parents who had faced issues or had seen things they were not comfortable with.
    One of our far relatives is on the sex offenders list. I happened to find out by accident while looking for their address. It seems he was contacting 12 year old girls. His DD was the same age at the time. It was a sting operation and he was caught. His Totebaggy career ended (ironically he was an IT risk person). We were told he started his home improvement business.

  58. “Obviously, this could be circumvented by a phone connection. ”
    Or by a neighbor who doesn’t have a password on their router. Or by a kid who can go to the internet provider’s site and select “I forgot my password”. I got sick of that crap and now just talk with my son.

  59. Two of our kids were easily sucked into devices, so we opted out of Game-Boys and X-Box during the critical years. They got to play with no restrictions when visiting friends, and we were pretty lax about online gaming because it seemed they were mostly interested in pretty innocuous stuff. One real blessing was that their schools were very low-tech, with very little homework requiring computer use until they were well past the most vulnerable middle-school years. When oldest DS went to college, his reports on the amount of time his dorm-mates spent on gaming were sufficiently sobering that we decided to give the younger ones more unrestricted time on their devices in hopes that they would learn some self-regulation before they were out from under our control. It seems to have worked, but then they are both kids with no neuro challenges who are concerned enough about their schoolwork not to let the gaming thing tank their academics.

    Those of you who “park” devices in the kitchen overnight — how do you transition them into device “adults” who can make responsible decisions regarding powering down on their own?

  60. You need both, really. I think having controls and limits gives the kid a message that this is something you care about. It is a conversation starter. But we also talk a lot about the content that is out there, and what apps and sites are currently popular. I can give them some historical context – we have compared the Usenet of the 90’s to the Reddit of today, for example, and have had many deep discussions on the cultural meaning of memes. But in the end, they also have to know that we care enough to be paying attention

  61. There is no 100% foolproof way to transition your kid to an adult who understands how to limit him or herself. However, one of the things that has influenced me is hearing the developmental pediatricians and also DS’s therapist explain to me the importance and power of establishing routines and habits. You park the devices in the kitchen at night – and keep in mind, we adults do it too, that is very important – with the hopes that it just turns into a habit. So much of what we do is just habit.

  62. “and keep in mind, we adults do it too, that is very important ”

    You keep your phone in the kitchen overnight? We use our phones as alarms and for other reasons like to keep them bedside.

    From what I’ve seen, I think screen time has supplanted book reading as a time suck for some kids. Curious, do any totebaggers find themselves getting sucked into gaming or other types of screen addiction?

  63. Yes, absolutely. I do not want any Internet devices up with me in the bedroom. I do use my e-reader Kindle because it is just a book surrogate, and the kids can have their e-reader Kindles in their rooms too. But no computers, no phones, no tablet,no TVs.

  64. Also, DH’s phone buzzes incessantly through the night because there is a constant barrage of work related texts. It was keeping me awake at night. DH realized at some point that if they need him in the middle of the night for a work issue, they will call on the regular telephone.

  65. I keep my phone in the bedroom overnight, with the sound turned off, as a backup alarm and means for keeping in touch with DH or the boys on travel. Also as a security measure, because an intruder can cut the landline but not the phone. (Yes, I am paranoid but sometimes alone in a big house.)

    But the kids won’t have a kitchen in the dorm. Their phone will be their alarm, and their laptop will be steps away from their bed. They won’t be able to rely on the “parking” habit then, and will have to develop other habits of self-control.

  66. You keep your phone in the kitchen overnight? We use our phones as alarms and for other reasons like to keep them bedside.

    We leave our phones downstairs at night as well. I don’t want to be woken up by a late text or anything. I have a 30 year old clock radio that still works great. And my internal clock is such that I can’t remember the last time my alarm actually woke me up – I’m always up before it goes off.

    From what I’ve seen, I think screen time has supplanted book reading as a time suck for some kids. Curious, do any totebaggers find themselves getting sucked into gaming or other types of screen addiction?

    Absolutely – I can get totally addicted to games.

  67. Rhett, they never persecute the teen who sent the pic of her/himself and for the first time that someone decides to send it to the entire class they only talk to them or send them to counseling. However, when the kid does this for the third time, well it is time to do something about it.

    There are revenge porn sites where exes have put up pictures, email addresses, actual address and phones numbers. Women have been harassed and attacked by strangers because they had the audacity to break up with a fragile man. My guess is that many men who post to these sites are the same boys who texted out the nude pic they had in high school when their “hearts” were broken.

    To your point that they are then off to school, it is like every other parenting challenge. We need to talk to our kids and make sure they are prepared. But as the mother of two sons, I’m not going to blame a girl who sends them pics and ignore that my son sent them to all his friends. This is how we end up with situations like Stubenville where a bunch of kids stand around and watch someone be attacked and do nothing.

  68. “Those of you who “park” devices in the kitchen overnight — how do you transition them into device “adults” who can make responsible decisions regarding powering down on their own?”

    Well, I was going to say what Mooshi said. We have one designated spot in the house for all devices, including ours. The hope is just that the kids adopt that habit as one of those things you just do without thinking about it. (And we have old-school radio alarm clocks by the bed).

    Only difference is when DH is traveling — we don’t have a land line, so I keep my cell up with me at night just in case.

  69. The hope is just that the kids adopt that habit as one of those things you just do without thinking about it.

    Where are they going to put their phone and laptop in their dorm room?

  70. My kids (and H when he’s traveling) are out at all hours, so I like to keep my phone handy in case I need to be reached. Maybe that’s too helicoptery . . .

    “(Yes, I am paranoid but sometimes alone in a big house.)”

    I can relate. :) Tip: keep your car keys with you because they can be used to activate your car’s alarm if needed. In some neighborhoods that might not alert anyone, but it could scare off an intruder. In our neighborhood an alarm that kept going would probably cause our neighbors to call the cops.

  71. My thinking on parenting older kids was really changed by our struggles with DS1 around 12 and 13. His problems were not simply video game addiction, but also severe ADHD. It became clear that simply talking about issues wasn’t working. We were in fact very close, and talked about stuff of importance all the time. He could explain perfectly clearly why his behaviors – his inability to pay attention, his refusal to write assignments down, his denial when he had screwed up – were defeating him. He wanted to be doing better. But discussion and understanding wasn’t working. The ADHD specialist just chuckled when I described our efforts, and explained to me all the neurological reasons why a teen can understand his problems and bad behaviors perfectly well but will still do them. He said that everything is a habit and the trick is to find ways to make the good behaviors into habits rather than the bad ones. Productive behaviors have to be wired in so you don’t think about it. And, you can’t just say “lets make this a habit”. It takes a lot of work, and the family may have to change routines, to establish habits.

    I think this is working, too. Many of the simple things that DS1 needed to do – writing down all assignments, working out plans for longer assignments, being proactive if a deadline is missed rather than just ignoring it – he is now doing on his own. I had to do a lot of oversight for a couple of years, but now I am backing off and he is doing well. I rarely have to remind him to do any of this stuff. It is becoming automatic. Next year’s goal is to really let go of the oversight so that he has a year to practice completely by himself before he starts college.

  72. “Where are they going to put their phone and laptop in their dorm room?”

    On a charger on the desk, laptop shut and powered down. Of course this is a tough one if you have a roommate who games all night.

  73. “We leave our phones downstairs at night as well. I don’t want to be woken up by a late text or anything. I have a 30 year old clock radio that still works great.”

    Ours may not be 30 years old, but ditto.

  74. Both DH and I have our phones on our bed side tables. DH has two phones in fact. He uses his as his alarm and glances at it if it buzzes. I use my phone for reading, streaming shows, sending messsages from bed. At my bedtime I put it on my bed side table and fall asleep. The kids devices remain in their charging spots in their rooms. DH is up late, so he’ll glance in and make sure kids are asleep. Being an older home our bedrooms are steps away from each other.

  75. Ours may not be 30 years old, but ditto.

    It’s the one I had before went to college. I also still have the stapler I bought with the rest of my supplies when I went to college, along with the box of 5,000 staples that I haven’t used up.

  76. I have a clock radio with alarm too. I set the alarm just in case but always wake up before and turn it off. The clock radio is definitely a habit I picked up in college. I buy some of my staple clothes from the same stores my room mates took me to when we made our infrequent outings to the far away nice mall.

  77. We have a designated spot downstairs for the kids to plug in their devices at night. I do a quick check at night, and if they’ve kept something in their rooms, they lose it for the next day (this has only happened once).

    They went to a computer science camp this summer at a college, where they had their computers/iPads with them in the dorm rooms. We set up a charging station at each of their desks, and at night they shut everything down and plugged in, because it felt like routine for them. I definitely don’t think they’ll necessarily do that in college, but I think the habit of shutting everything down and charging it overnight is starting to be ingrained in them. I think that’s the best we can do as parents – teach and demonstrate good habits.

    My phone is in the kitchen at night. I have a regular alarm clock.

  78. Why is everyone keeping their devices in the kitchen? Someone mentioned getting woken up by a text but you get set your phone’s quite hours. It won’t light up or bing or do anything unless someone calls you twice within x minutes. You can also set exceptions so that a text from certain contacts – your boss, your mom, your daughter, etc. come through.

  79. Off topic – I made meatloaf last night and thought of ADA as I used my knife to cut the meat loaf and then used it to add the correct ratio of mashed potatoes to my forkful of meatloaf.

  80. I have one of those lamp alarm clocks — it very slowly lights up over about 20 minutes til it’s fully-lit at the set time. Then it also pings gently. It’s the easiest, most painless alarm I’ve ever had.

  81. I keep my phone in my room but not next to my bed and it’s on airplane mode. I’ve read a few things about emf disrupting sleep. Dh does the same unless he has some deal that’s international where he may get e-mails in the middle of the night. DH doesn’t travel but if I did I’d probably have it handy right now – Atlanta is experiencing it’s usual seasonal crime wave right now and there have been some break ins while people are home.

  82. “Why is everyone keeping their devices in the kitchen?”

    Because when we redid our kitchen, I planned a spot with about eight plugs and an appliance garage to put them in.

    The “habit” isn’t just the “plug your phone in somewhere where you are not” — it’s more like Lark described, that they never develop the habit of texting/gaming until all hours. We’ve always told our kids if you can’t sleep, read a book, so that’s what they do. Even now, DD will take her phone upstairs while she is taking a bath, hanging out in her room, etc., but then she comes downstairs around 10 and plugs it in before going up to read/go to sleep. Given the number of things that used to result in nagging/yelling/meltdowns, the development of this as a totally normal routine is something I count as a win.

  83. LfB,

    I get why the kids devices are in the kitchen. I’m curious why you keep yours there. Just to be a good example?

  84. Ahh — no, I just don’t like phones upstairs. I frequently forget to turn it off, and then it buzzes and wakes me up (or DH forgets to turn his off, and then I have to decide between letting it bug me all night and waking up enough to kick him to turn it off).

    Honestly, I don’t know why we started that. It’s probably a habit from my own childhood — not that we had cellphones then, but all temptations — TVs, computers, GameBoys, etc. — were just always downstairs. So it just seemed natural/normal to plan a plug-in spot for everything downstairs.

  85. DH sometimes keeps his phone in the bedroom as an alarm. I hate it – he forgets to turn it to airplane and then when he gets an email or text it wakes me up. :( My phone is always downstairs charging overnight. I only keep it with me when we go away for the weekend as an alarm, but I always set to airplane first.

  86. Rhett, As I said, I don’t want to get woken up by someone texting late or an inadvertent phone call. Or an intentional phone call for that matter. I don’t need to use if for an alarm, so it would serve no purpose to have it in the bedroom. (The exception is when I’m on call, then I sleep in the guestroom so DW doesn’t get woken up when I get called.) There is no scenario I can think of right now where someone would need to reach me in the middle of the night. Obviously this will change when the kids are older and staying out later.

  87. Rhett, As I said, I don’t want to get woken up by someone texting late or an inadvertent phone call.

    I frequently forget to turn it off, and then it buzzes and wakes me up

    Just an FYI, you can set it to automatically go into to do not disturb mode from X pm to Y am.

  88. Obviously this will change when the kids are older and staying out later.

    And, again with an FYI, when the kids are older and out and about you can set it so that do not disturb mode will be overridden by the kids(or not) or if anyone calls from the same number twice within x minutes.

  89. LfB,

    I just don’t want anyone to break a hip in 20 years and be on the floor for 2 days because they insist on keeping their phones downstairs.

  90. Rhett, in our case the disturbance phone is my husband’s. First of all, settingthings like automatically going into some mode is probably well above my husband’s tolerance for futzing with his phone. He would rather just put it downstairs. And secondly, he may not even be able to do that – it is a work issued phone and lots of capability is turned off. He cannot install apps, for example

  91. Rhett, that could happen anyway if you happened to put your phone down on the dresser, and you fall in the bathroom.

    We do have a landline upstairs.

  92. My daughter can often be found asleep in her bed, laptop beside her and open, after she has watched some Netflix show past her self-appointed bedtime of about 10pm. I would estimate that 95% of the time, she shuts off her laptop and phone when she’s tired, and they sleep on her floor beside her bed. I would guess that 5% of the time, she is on her laptop or phone later than she should be.

    Of that 5%, I bet 2% has resulted in her getting a bad grade on a test because of fatigue, or handing homework in late because she was online instead of doing it. It was likely greater than 5% and 2% in earlier days, but she has figured out her limits–although there’s still 5% in there because now and then, despite knowing better, she’ll stay up too late and regret it the next day. Like all of us do. I expect that when she’s at college next year, the 5% and 2% figures will stay the same or go down, because she won’t want to risk the effect on her grades.

    I would estimate the same #s for my son when he was in HS.

    These are so-called neurotypical kids, so I didn’t ever have to make allowances or rules-related decisions based on things like game addiction or anti-social behavior or ADHD … or even bad grades or continued exhaustion or other warning signs.

  93. Kids leave their phones downstairs, we take ours but they are on Do Not Disturb from 9 to 6. FYI, a lot of the kids who have to leave their phones downstairs sneak downstairs after the parents are asleep and text all night. FYI – learned this the hard way.

  94. Rhett, that could happen anyway if you happened to put your phone down on the dresser, and you fall in the bathroom.

    That’s why you keep it on your person.

    What I sense is the beginning of the slow decent into the cranky Luddism of the elderly. I can almost picture folks here objecting to the purchase of one of the new Japanese eldercare robots that will let them stay at home a few years longer. Or, being dragged, kicking and screaming, by their children to one of the new automated assisted living facilities. Only to report back in two weeks that you’re having the time of your life. Not to mention those still driving around barely able to see or move their head because they “just don’t trust those self driving cars.”

  95. “LfB,

    I just don’t want anyone to break a hip in 20 years and be on the floor for 2 days because they insist on keeping their phones downstairs.”

    Funny, I read that as “I don’t want you to miss a call that your mom broke her hip,” while Mooshi read it as “I don’t want you to break your hip and not be able to call.” I suspect Mooshi is correct. And that’s a fair point. Back in 2013 when we were on vacation, the one night I turned off the radio on my phone was the night my stepdad had a stroke on the plane home; by the time I got the messages the next morning, it was too late to get to the airport for a flight home that day. So I missed a day supporting my mom and being with them. But, you know, things fade away, and you go back to your old habits. I will have to look into that programming in numbers to override thing.

  96. Congratulations to MM and others who are having success with guiding their kids to manage addictive behavior. As parents, we live and learn and adjust over the years.

    “What I sense is the beginning of the slow decent into the cranky Luddism of the elderly.”

    Could be true. i was imagining myself in the not too distant future sitting in a wheelchair at the nursing home having a great time playing some silly video game. Hey, it’s better than just drooling and staring into space! (I am surprised at how many of you don’t keep your phones with you in the bedroom.)

  97. “What I sense is the beginning of the slow decent into the cranky Luddism of the elderly.”

    Hahaha. Except I can’t take credit for it being some principled belief that I care enough about to get all worked up about (except for the parenting part of it) — just something that I’ve always done. It’s more self-preservation than anything else (as my law school Tetris fixation demonstrates).

    But good reminder not to get anchored into “the way I do it must be the right way.” As my demotivational poster in my office says, “Just because you’ve always done it that way doesn’t mean it’s not incredibly stupid.”

  98. I too am surprised by the phones being kept downstairs. I feel like such a Totebag outlier with our kids having devices in their rooms. DS’s devices are always hanging around in the vicinity of his bed. The worst calamity occurred when he couldn’t find his phone. He kept looking under the sofa, in the cushions nothing. Turns out the sofa can eat phones and you have to remove the seat cushions to find it.

  99. Just an FYI, you can set it to automatically go into to do not disturb mode from X pm to Y am.

    Then what would be the purpose of having it in the room?

  100. Then what would be the purpose of having it in the room?

    If your mom or kid is in the ER or broken down on the side of the road, it will ring if they are on the list of calls or texts to allow through or anyone can get through if they call 2x within X min.

  101. Well, as an actual newly elderly person I have no trouble futzing with my phone and tablet settings for quiet hours, alarms, repeat caller override, blocking spam, etc. I have a wireless charger bedside. When my mom was alive and failing I could NEVER be out of touch.

    Rhett, women don’t always have pockets, especially in the house, but by the time I need a device on my person 24 7 I hope the smartwatch folks come up with a linked item that isnt just a fashion accessory or a fitness tracker.

    My old people resistance area is being against Uber for old school labor movement reasons, and the day will come when I change my mind on that.

    I play hidden object and puzzle games more than is advisable, but the next mindless activity in line, reading airplane fiction, is not better, but worse IMO. At least the games maintain a bit of mental acuity they take strategy and visual memory.

  102. That’s why you keep it on your person.

    So every time you get out of bed to go to the bathroom (to use one example) you take your phone with you? You’re never unable to reach your phone, even for just a minute?

  103. My old people resistance area is being against Uber for old school labor movement reasons

    How is Uber worse than the slumlord medallion owners?

    A three-part Spotlight Team series in March and April documented that many taxi drivers pay Tutunjian’s staff small bribes to get keys to Boston Cab vehicles that they lease for about $100 per 12-hour shift. Drivers are pressured to buy gasoline at above-market prices from Tutunjian’s gas pump, and are often told to cover phantom shortfalls that they cannot dispute because they do not get receipts.

  104. So every time you get out of bed to go to the bathroom (to use one example) you take your phone with you?

    I obviously take it with me if I’m going to do #2.

  105. If your mom or kid is in the ER or broken down on the side of the road, it will ring if they are on the list of calls or texts to allow through or anyone can get through if they call 2x within X min.

    And again, I have no need for that right now. As I said, when my kids are staying out later on their own, I will keep the phone closer. We have no family local, so there is nothing we could do if we find out a family member is in the hospital somewhere.

  106. I obviously take it with me if I’m going to do #2.

    Of course. Who doesn’t? :) But when you wake up at 3 a.m to pee, do you take it with you?

  107. We don’t often have occasion to use either taxis or Uber, but we used both in NYC this past weekend. We drove up Friday night ahead of the ice storm and stayed in a nice Embassy Suites in Secaucus, NJ. The complimentary shuttle drove us to the train station the following next morning, and I tipped $10 since he had to clean off the windshield and drive through snow and ice.

    When we arrived at Penn Station, I figured that, with five people, we would need an Uber XL, and we got a very nice Toyota Highlander (although, apropos of other discussions, we could only use half of the third row, since the other half needed to be folded just to accommodate two small suitcases).

    Later, when a hotel porter asked if I needed a cab, I said “I don’t know, we have five of us,” and he assured me that we could fit, which we did several times, with me sitting up front. And I think NYC taxis are cheaper than Uber XL. (Uber XL is more expensive than UberX or Uber, but cheaper than UberSUV and UberBlack). For one taxi ride, from Macy’s to our hotel at One UN Plaza, the driver said “I’m new at this, I have no idea where that is,” which surprised me — official, yellow, NYC Taxi Prius V — but I ended up directing him, with the help of my phone.

    Now, when we got back to Secaucus Sunday evening, I wasn’t about to call the shuttle to the hotel where my car was still parked, since we hadn’t stayed there the previous night, and there was a long line of taxis at the train station, anyway. But the first taxi driver in line said “Oh sure, the Embassy Suites. $25.” And that seemed really steep.

    I said, eh, no, let me call a friend. I checked UberXL, and the estimated fare was $12. That’s a big difference. Plus, the Sienna that picked us up was a much better vehicle for our needs, and while I don’t understand all the specific regulations, it had the NY Taxi and Limousine Commission plates. (Same was true of our other Uber ride.) So I think in the NY area, Uber drivers might be operating multiple services simultaneously.

  108. “Uber drivers might be operating multiple services simultaneously.”

    Only in NYC…maybe up to the Westchester County line…are Uber/Lyft etc allowed in New York State. The state legislature is starting to haggle that out. Obv. the ride share cos. want to be allowed to operate all over and it’ll probably work out that way but meanwhile the taxi drivers’ assns. are all saying that before that can happen there needs to be a level playing field re insurance, licensing, etc.

    Anyway, as I was driving around during the day yesterday to and from a holiday luncheon I noticed a ton of taxis, different companies all around me. I was amazed at how many there were in our small metropolis. I had the same thought as Milo…when the day comes that Uber etc are ok’d, the taxi drivers will keep their medallion and charge regulated rates for taxi service and they’ll also charge ride-share rates when they take those calls.

  109. We took Uber one night on our Paris trip, and it was about half the cost of a regular taxi. The driver spoke very little English, but that was OK because we didn’t really have to talk to him. So much easier not to have to fiddle with money and tips.

  110. Since this thread has veered to Uber…

    Has anyone here heard of commuters becoming Uber drivers (or drivers for other rideshare companies) to make some money off their commutes?

  111. I don’t use Uber or other services designed to circumvent labor laws any more that I shop at stores known for paying employees so little that they, as full time workers, need food stamps or welfare to get by.

    So many comments here assume that phone in bedroom = using it at all hours. Silly!!
    We have ours with us, with “night colors” settings set to be from an hour before bedtime til we wake up. We also use “do not disturb”. It is a simple setting, but I’m sure Mooshi already would know that if she didn’t get something out of protesting easy fixes. When iOS 10 first came out, the bedtime part of the clock app worked like the clock Rocky describes. It no longer has the light, unfortunately, but the sound does get louder gradually. As for taking the phone when I pee in the middle of the night: hell yeah! What else are you going to do, turn on the blinding overhead light? I have night lights on motion sensors in both bathrooms. I could get from my bed to the bathroom door in the dark, but prefer to use my phone (usually just the screen) as a mini flashlight.

    Mooshi, good to hear your son is getting better at those things. My kid needs to work on them too, but nothing you have said convinces me that it is putting the phone in the kitchen that made the difference as opposed to not using it after bedtime and, most importantly, getting to be a few years older. With my kiddo, it’s depression that makes that stuff harder. He sleeps more than usual during those periods, so has less screen time, so that clearly is not the cause of the forgetfulness.

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