To be honest, we haven’t been doing the best this summer with keeping the kids off their electronics. In fact, we’re doing the worst we’ve ever done. We’re busy. The kids are addicted to their electronics and turning them off is a bit like taking the drugs away from an addict – not without a fight.
Not that long ago, I instituted a wifi blackout at 10pm and recently rolled it back to 9:30pm. This helps keep the kids from trying to sneak their devices into their rooms to communicate with friends or play connected games. It also renders xbox online games mostly useless and stops youtube video watching all together.
Next I added a mid-day wifi blackout from 4-6pm to force the kids to go outside and play while the sun is out. The first week went over like telling a smoker they can’t smoke on and airplane in 1980. They played right up to the blackout time and then moped around for the next 2 hours. After several days of being irritated with their antics, I threatened to extend the blackout if they didn’t start going outside to play. Now it has been several weeks and they have actually started pulling out board games and making up their own games to play. So far so good.
The next phase of my plan is to flip the blackouts so that the wifi blackouts are the norm and instead there will be open wifi times. Once school starts, I plan to setup their wifi access so they can only have access between 6-8:30pm. That should prevent them from rushing through their homework to get to video games and also kick them off early enough that they can take their ridiculously long showers before bed.
DD-WRT access restrictions on my router seem to be working pretty well. Every once and a while they flake and I have to jiggle the handle by re-saving the already saved settings. It is annoying but it isn’t frequent enough to make me want to switch to some other router or firmware.