Debbie’s Story – Encourage creativity and set limits

by Screen Time Team on 20/09/2016

We recently caught up with single mom Debbie and chatted to her about how Screen Time helped her daughter spend less time on her device, saves Debbie’s time and reduces her stress levels.

Creativity offline and online

Whether she’s offline or online Debbie’s daughter likes to be creative. She makes mandalas, bracelets and other crafty things by herself and with her mom. When she’s on her device she creates and films stories that she puts up on YouTube and builds vast worlds on Minecraft.

“There are benefits of using her device and I’m happier when I see her creating something, like the videos or Minecraft, than when she spends hour after hour watching 5 Nights at Freddy’s”

Being a single mom Debbie found it difficult to track the time her daughter was spending on her device, she would often be guess when she thought she’d spent too long it for in one day. Then it could take up to 45 minutes to get her to put down the device and sometimes turning the Wifi off was the quickest solution.

“I’ve never found one single thing as a punishment that bothers her, because her device is always with her. Go to your room. Ok. You’re grounded. Ok”

Keeping up with the kids

One of the problems Debbie had was that she felt out of her depth when talking about technology with her daughter. At Screen Time we hear this time and time again, parents hear about problems that kids can have using their devices but they’re not sure what their options are in tackling the problem and are unsure how to approach that conversation with their tech savvy kids.

Debbie is worried that there’s a lack of education for kids about the dangers of the internet and how to be responsible digital citizens. Not being very techy herself, Debbie is going to college and doing a course on technology and internet security so she can bridge the gap and discuss technology on the same level as her daughter.

To begin with, Debbie decided to just observe, so she installed Screen Time but didn’t set any limits. After a week gathering information she checked the App Totals page and was shocked to see how frequently the device was being used, on one day during the weekend there was 8 hours total spent on there.


Armed with this information she started settings limits, giving her daughter 2 hours a day to use apps, and allowing her to earn extra time through Tasks. Even though there was some resentment to start off with after 2 weeks her daughter started to accept Screen Time.

Being able to complete tasks and earn more time was a great way for her daughter to participate in the new limits and was soon offering to do more chores to get bonus time. Debbie experimented further, creating two Tasks for the same chore, if her daughter does the chore quicker she gets more time.

“I usually don’t ever pay more than a dollar for an app, but Screen TIme was really worth it.”

More time to be crafty

Since the first few weeks her Debbie has noticed her daughter has been spending less time on her device and more time on craft projects. Even though Debbie’s noticed it, she doesn’t think it’s occurred to her daughter, her habits have changed so smoothly that she doesn’t resent having less time on her device.

Managing her daughter’s device usage and getting her to disconnect to do something in the real world was a daily stressful routine for Debbie. Now her stress levels are a lot less and she’s happy that she gets to spend more time with her daughter working on their craft projects together.

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