"We used our common sense"

Are you worried about the amount of time your son or daughter spends in front of a screen? You’re not alone. We spoke to Marketa and Mehjoub Sahraoui about the ground rules they have set for their children’s digital world.

While their parents recognise the enjoyment they get from online gaming, they worry about how much time the children, especially Adam, spend in front of a screen.

“We notice sometimes that if Adam plays Wii in the evening, he will go to bed thinking and talking about the game and he will wake up thinking about the game,” says Marketa.

“We don't like this as the game seems to take over his mind. It's not right.”

Setting limits

Marketa and Mehjoub have tried to set some limits for the children. Online gaming and Wii are restricted to a couple of hours a day over the weekend, with the computer only being used for homework during the week.

“We used our common sense,” explains Marketa. “We decided that these limits were sensible and fair – even if our children might not have the same opinion!”

Mehjoub admits that they end up being flexible though. “They can have extra time playing games as a treat for some good work or good behaviour or on special occasions.”

As well as time limits, the Sahraouis have set Parental Controls on their laptop and they also make sure they know what the children are doing online.

“We keep checking with the children when they’re on the computer – it’s mainly Habbo and Club Penguin, which we are OK with.”

"We used our common sense... we decided that these limits were sensible and fair – even if our children might not have the same opinion!"

Looking ahead

Marketa and Mehjoub know that Aya and Adam would like to have access to other technologies.

“They would both love their own email addresses, mobile phones and computers, but we don’t feel they need them until they are older. Aya will probably get a phone when she starts secondary school though,” comments Marketa.

Aya and Adam are pretty vocal when it comes to the limits on their gaming.

“Sometimes it isn’t fair!” says Aya.

“I feel upset because there are rules about it. I would like to play more, especially with my friends,” adds Adam.

But that doesn’t stop mum and dad feeling that the rules are important.

“On the whole, the children have got used to the limits and understand why they’re there – that doesn’t stop them asking to play on weekdays though!”