Is my son on the computer too much?

Posted by David Beard, Globe Staff  September 23, 2008 06:28 AM

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(The following is from a Q&A with Child Caring writer Barbara Meltz.)

Question: How much computer time should I allot my 8 year old? He's been obsessed with video games, but I thought if I maybe curb it to two hours a day, I'd feel better about his health.

Barbara Meltz: I don't blame you for worrying. ... By your question, your son is obviously spending more than 2 hours a day on it, and that's cause for concern. I think even 2 hours is a lot at this age, if it's all in one stretch.

Rather than simply lay down the law, however, lay out your concerns for him: that too much computer time takes away time spent playing with friends; getting exercise; reading a good book. That it's also potentially bad for the eyes and for the body and that it can be addictive.

See if you can't agree together on a set of rules for when/how much he uses it. That you are seeking his input on this will make him feel you respect him, which will be something he will appreciate.

Readers, weigh in on your opinion in our Comment section. If you have a question for Barbara Meltz, make sure to check in during her chat on Monday, Sept. 29, at 1 p.m.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
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About the author

Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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