My youngest children use the same Apple ID as me so I can keep track of the apps they want to download onto their devices. This gives me the total discretion to decide whether the game/app is suitable and stops them from having open slather to purchase or download apps as they please.

The flip side to having them using the same Apple ID, means that the apps get automatically downloaded onto my devices. I don’t mind this, as it actually allows me to use the app to see that the description of the app has been accurate and that it is appropriate for my kids. The downside of ‘checking out’ these apps, is that I find myself spending hours playing these addictive little games that my kids enjoy.

Last Christmas I took great delight in ‘Elfing’ myself and watching my over-sized head on some phenomonal hip-hop dancer’s body grooving to a funky christmas carol. Come on – admit it – you did it too! Or if you didn’t, you should as it really is worth the chuckle!

The latest craze for my kids is a game called ‘Crossy Road’ where you try to get a pixilated chicken to cross the road without getting hit by a car. Simple and boring I hear you say – but no! It’s addicitive because you are sure you can beat your prior record. First the chicken wants to cross a road, then there’s a trainline and eventually a stream. Just when your brain is telling you to grow up and get on with real life, you win a cow. Then it’s a whole new game! You now want to get the cow to cross the road. It’s embarrassing that I’m entertained by such a simple game!

I have come to the conclusion that these apps are appropriate for my kids, just not for me as I find myself wasting time on trivial games. I have however worked out the riddle ‘Why did the chicken cross the road?’ – the answer, so you can win a cow!

Please tell me I’m not alone – let me know if you too have been sucked into the vortex of time wasting games, in the interest of researching them for your kids!

(Picture courtesy of Stuart Miles,



In a world driven by technology, the new first world dilemma seems to be how much screen time (ie. TV, ipads, video games etc) is appropriate for kids. I struggle with this as of course I understand the fun and relaxation that comes from using these devices (I’m a closet Candy Crush addict myself!). 

We came up with what we think is a workable rule in our house. During the week, the kids are allowed to watch TV in the morning until 7am, as long as they are already dressed for school. We then put on the news for half an hour to see what is happening in the world.

There is no television or screen time in the afternoons. This time is for homework without distraction and good old-fashioned play time (swimming, playing with the dog, backyard basketball etc). Mind you, most weekday afternoons are crammed with kid’s extra curricular activities so there isn’t a lot of free time outside of homework. 

We record the evening news and watch that after the kids go to bed, so dinnertime and bedtime are distraction free. Before we implemented this rule, I was always nagging the kids to do things to be met with a zombified silence or a mumbled ‘Okay, after this show finishes, it hasn’t got long!’

Friday afternoons, weekends and holidays are time for relaxation and the kids are free to sloth about watching TV or playing video games (although we do encourage them to do some physical fun activities as well).

I know some people argue that by limiting their access to screen time during the week makes them more addicted on the weekends, but I feel that at least the weekdays are productive.

What works in your home?




(Photo courtesy of Ambro,