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Need help. Boys are addicted to video games.


Alicia64
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Apparently I handled this all wrong. We haven't let our boys -- now 13 -- have much tech growing up. DH is an IT guy and we both thought that running around outside w/ other kids, listening to me read aloud etc. was preferable to being absorbed in devices.

 

Fast forward by a few years. When they turned 11 we started letting them have video games on the weekend. I think in the beginning it was an evening thing.

 

Long story short: the boys now play video games from Friday evening to Sunday evening. (We've never ok'd it during the week.)

 

But, other than a couple of activities that take an hour here or there on weekends. . . they're glued to video games. It's like we don't have a life, don't have family time because they're so into the games.

 

I feel like I lose my family every weekend now.

 

I guess the obvious thing is give them limited hours which I've tried and you should hear the push back I get.

 

DH is semi-oblivious to the whole thing so I don't get a lot of support from him on this.

 

Ideas?

 

Alley

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What is it you would rather be doing? You said you feel like you are losing family. Start doing those things you envision doing as a family on the weekends. Since they are older, I would talk to them, tell them a little of what you are saying here, and let them know that you will now be doing family activities on the weekend. At least some of the time.

 

I hope you are at least thinking how of fun stuff like hiking, or filed trios and not spending the day cleaning house. I think that could lead to a rebellion. :-)

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We let them have access earlier and they still don't self regulate well. You didn't make a mistake specifically it's just a difficult thing to get right as a parent. It's kind of like junk food I think. Some people can have a little and others struggle to moderate it.

 

I think at this stage getting them involved in out of the house stuff will be the best option.

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What games are they playing? I'm not advocating playing all weekend long but some games take a while to complete a chapter/scenario/section of a game. Some games require some pretty complex problem solving skills as well. Maybe take stock of the time it takes to complete things in game and what positives they might get from the games.

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Add in activities outside of the house. They don't have to be scheduled things, just anything that gets them doing something else.

 

Play video games with them.

1 -- I've tried. It's like pulling teeth to get them out of the house doing something.

2 -- I do play w/ them. It's not my thing, but I do play. And I'm not rude about it. I try to get into the game, but it's no Ms. Pacman!!! :laugh:

 

What is it you would rather be doing? You said you feel like you are losing family. Start doing those things you envision doing as a family on the weekends. Since they are older, I would talk to them, tell them a little of what you are saying here, and let them know that you will now be doing family activities on the weekend. At least some of the time.

 

I hope you are at least thinking how of fun stuff like hiking, or filed trios and not spending the day cleaning house. I think that could lead to a rebellion. :-)

Busted. I have had them do some light chores. But I also remind my one son to practice piano -- he sees his teacher on Tues. -- but I'm also at a loss as to what to suggest they do. I'm pretty great about ordering good books from the library so they have something good to read most of the time.

 

We let them have access earlier and they still don't self regulate well. You didn't make a mistake specifically it's just a difficult thing to get right as a parent. It's kind of like junk food I think. Some people can have a little and others struggle to moderate it.

 

I think at this stage getting them involved in out of the house stuff will be the best option.

 

Thanks. I think you're right, I'm just not sure what. They take a Krav Maga class on Sat. that doesn't start again until April. But it's only an hour.

:bigear:

 

I have a similar problem with ds. Unless we have a planned activity outside the house, which he willingly joins, he's glued to his computer. 

 

Seems like a common theme with this age group, though that's not to say it's normal. 

I know. It's just sad. I think I'm going to initiate board games, seeing a matinee etc.

 

Thanks everyone!

 

Alley

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What games are they playing? I'm not advocating playing all weekend long but some games take a while to complete a chapter/scenario/section of a game. Some games require some pretty complex problem solving skills as well. Maybe take stock of the time it takes to complete things in game and what positives they might get from the games.

 

Okay, we'll do. They play something called Civ -- for Civilization. But one of my sons love first shooter games. (Not fun to me.) My other son loves a Lego video game that's cute and seems a whole lot more wholesome than first shooter, but. . . still not fun.

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I can see that changing things up at that age would be harder.  Maybe you can have a meeting with them, explain that you're going to be changing things around a bit (and explain why), but then ask them to help come up with a new schedule.  Then, to make it seem exciting, have them help plan some fun weekends -- a camping outing?  A day fishing?  If there are four of you in your family, maybe one person can plan a Saturday outing each week.  Movies?  Mini golf?  A hike and picnic?

 

If it makes you feel better, once kids are more settled into high school activities, they seem to have less time on their computers.

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Our two sons (11 year olds) would play all day if they were allowed also.  They are allowed 35 minutes on weekdays and 70 minutes on Sat and Sun.  We have explained to them that it is not healthy to play games all day long.  They clearly cannot moderate their playing time without help so we set and maintain the limits.

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Busted. I have had them do some light chores. But I also remind my one son to practice piano -- he sees his teacher on Tues. -- but I'm also at a loss as to what to suggest they do. I'm pretty great about ordering good books from the library so they have something good to read most of the time.

 

I hate to say this, but if I was a 13yo boy and I had the choice between chores, piano practice, and reading "good" books versus playing video games, I'm pretty sure the video games would win every time. :)

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This will NOT be a popular opinion, I'm sure, but... I have found that the less I regulate my kids time on screens/devices, the less attractive that device becomes. Your mileage may vary, of course. I give a lot of freedom and very little time limits on computer games, screen time, etc. I have found that my kids go through phases. They may spend a few weeks--even months-- spending WAY too much time on screens, but then they kind of  OD on it. Then they find other ways to fill their time. I do have certain rules--like no screens at the dinner table. No screens or devices at or close to bed time--(except a device used to listen to audiobooks). So yeah...I give a lot of freedom. And I've found that my kids seem to strike a pretty good balance on their own. They OD for awhile, and then pursue other interests--like art, crafts, reading, recipes, writing stories, photography, making videos, etc...

 

like I said... your mileage may vary. This works for us, so far.

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PLEASE do not quote. I might delete this post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There actually *is* addiction to games. It's not just lack of discipline either on the part of the person or the parents.

There is a parallel to the statement that while drinking alcohol is not a disaster for most people (about 90%), it *is* a disaster for that 9%...that is true of gaming.

 

You can learn about it if you want. I would like to post a long essay I have sent to friends in the past, but the internet being what it is, I won't because it has too much personal information in it. But I'll clip out some bits and put them at the end of this post. I tell people I know of two growth industries in the years to come: gaming addiction counseling and network security. I wish it were a funny joke. This had a serious impact on our lives, and we have been blessed with immense amounts of help that cannot be duplicated ... but even so, it will alway be an issue in the way alcohol is an issue for a recovering alcoholic.

 

And it isn't a matter of having good controls or no controls. It is an addiction (when it is an addiction). We did a damn good job of trying to control it, of late starting, of limiting time. Our counselor said she had never seen a family so on top of things. And yet.

 

If I can find a couple of links, I will put them here. If I can't, here are a couple of tidbits. The Army has developed a game that helps soldiers deal with their pain from injury or amputation even better than morphine does. Do you know what the game is? It is not a shooter game. It is an innocent looking game of throwing snowballs to hit a snowman. The sort of thing that I never would have had a problem with, for my family. I kinda think I might have thought twice about morphine...

 

There are a few half-way houses in the US for young people who need support as they come off gaming, and one residential center (near us, ironically). To take advantage of that program which *always* has a waiting list, would have cost $70,000 minimum. Had we needed to do this, I would have in a heartbeat. We had a special circumstance that cannot be duplicated and so things are a lot better around here. But think of that. We did pay $1000 to get on the wait list, in case our circumstance changed.

 

If you want to learn more about gaming and *real* addiction, here are three resources:

 

reSTART: https://netaddictionrecovery.com. Lots of good help here. And it is not just gaming that causes the problem. They address this.

Steel Counseling: http://www.steelcounseling.com. There are numerous guidelines and resources here.

http://www.vulture.com/2017/02/video-games-are-better-than-real-life.html. This is a very long article but I found it very interesting and that it explored areas unexplored by books mentioned on the SteelCounseling and reSTART sites. It rang true.

 

Here is one clip: I read (this person's) commentary today about gaming, and want to respond to you but not publicly (with my name) as I wish to preserve some privacy. The internet is forever, and all... I'm not very organized in my thoughts here, because there are so many angles and the issue is so little understood that it is hard to know where to start. I believe we are *way* behind the curve in talking about this--kind of like where we were 50 years ago in talking about alcoholism...you know, "weak character"; "why don't you just take away the bottle?" and so on. The comparison is not a bad one to make, either, in understanding how game addiction works.

Even as there are those who can drink alcohol and bear no ill effects, or those who have smoked marijuana for years and seem OK, most kids can play a game or two and walk away and have normal social lives and so on. But there is always the guy who is really an alcoholic from the first drink he takes, the gal who becomes a drug addict from the first marijuana cigarette...The same is true for gamers...there's the guy who's an addict from the first -- no matter how harmless -- game he plays. And gaming addiction is primarily a male problem. The addiction rate is about 9%...roughly the same among all the addictions.

Gaming causes enormous amounts of dopamine (pleasure inducing hormone) to be dumped into the brain. There is no way to get this amount of dopamine outside of gaming, drugs, alcohol, gambling, porn, and so it is very very hard to get away from it. I have heard of "runner's high"--this is what happens--you run and your body produces dopamine in a limited amount and you get a buzz from it. But you can't run forever, and so there is a natural stop to the pump. With gaming, this is not the case...The gamer can just keep going and going...keeping the dopamine pumping into their bodies...until it is their natural state. Stopping gaming can actually cause physical pain...because the body has become used to such large (and unnatural amounts). It is a similar issue with heroin, which is why it is dangerous to go off cold-turkey, because the body of an addict can't stand the pain of a normal dose of heroin (which would be "none").

The brain can't separate reality from non-reality; when a kid is gaming in a first-person-shooter online game, his brain can't tell that he is not really in Afghanistan...so it pumps enormous amounts of adrenaline into the body in the fight/flight (for males) response. The adrenaline pump stresses those glands, causing other issues, which often result in extreme weight gain or weight loss.

Gaming damages and prevents the development of the pre-frontal cortex (which is the last part of the brain to form, in males still forming until the mid-20s). This is where our executive function lives. Damage results in not being able to distinguish between the importance of doing one's homework vs. playing another game. The results are pretty predictable. The good news is that this can be repaired if intervention happens early enough. The bad news is that age 28 is pretty much too late.

Here is another clip: We have friends who did not have this recourse, and their bright son who did well in college is now so damaged that his only job capability is on the level of stocking shelves in the graveyard shift. He can still speak English, but not at the level of a college graduate but of a mildly retarded person. At age 32, he is lost and now is a burden on his mother, an early widow. I grieve for this friend of our family.

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Hi Alley,

 

This was a constant issue in our house as my son was growing up. We tried a variety of measures to limit gaming. If we said he could only play at a certain time, then he'd spend that entire time playing. When we said he couldn't play until 3:00 IF his school work was done, he'd pace around the house until 3:00, just waiting until the time he could get on. Setting a timer never worked for us, and we had a lot of battles when his time would be up, and he'd beg for just a "few more minutes" to reach a certain point. I also was concerned that limiting too much would cause him to sneak time to do it. We never did find a consistent solution that worked for us.

 

Fast forward a few years, and he began to spend other time on the computer doing school work, and that made time limits more difficult. I wanted to encourage school work, and I couldn't police his time.

 

I asked him now (age 18) what he would consider, knowing what he knows now. He said it would be helpful for you, as the parent, to know exactly what they are playing. Online gaming is very competitive, that you can play for 400 hours and still have more to do. It's much easier to set time limits on smaller games that you play by yourself, games where you CAN reasonably stop after a certain time, say 30 or 60 minutes. What your kids are playing is important too--shooter/gore games vs. something less stressful such as Minecraft. He also added that parents playing makes it more fun for both. My son and I played a LOT of Mario Kart over the years. It's been a nice bonding for us.

 

On the plus side, while he continues to game, he manages his time very well. While we often think he's playing, we'll go into his room to find him instead on his non-gaming computer studying (and his grades show that to be true).

 

It's HARD to find balance. I never found it, but he eventually found it himself. So keep trying to find what works for your family--and what works this month or next might not be as effective in three months. Don't give up. Fight to keep your family life.

 

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My kids have always played on the computer in their free time. It is possible that the loss of family time is an age thing. My oldest two are more than willing to spend the entire day doing their own thing without speaking to me much at all. The younger two still seek me out. When it first happened with my dd, I thought I'd upset her. But, no, she's just moved to a new stage. She talks to me when she feels like it. I've also noticed that all of the kids prefer to have time one on one with a parent than as a group. It is different than when they were younger. 

 

Read your update: Civ is incredibly time-consuming. You build an empire from huts to settling on the moon. I have the latest edition but haven't even found the time to learn all the new tricks. Great game, though. 

Edited by MomatHWTK
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Patty Joanna, thank you for your post, I am not quoting because of your request, but wanted to share another treatment center:

 

https://aspiroadventure.com

 

A friend of ours sent her son there.  He had a true addiction.  He would stay up all night, steal CC numbers from his parents to buy games online, spent thousands of dollars, would reject getting together with friends, etc.....

 

We need to be careful with throwing around the word addiction.  My kids LOVE video games and play them a lot, but they also would prefer time with friends, etc...

 

Our rule is this:  When we ask you to get off you MUST either get off immediately OR communicate that you are in the middle of a game and will get off as soon as it is over.  If you don't do those things, you get restricted in the future for a period of time.

 

So far, even though they could play for hours every day of the weekend, they have obeyed the rules.

 

 

 

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An easy way to cure it here was to not buy new games.  We have a small library of them and I'm not up for buying more, or the newest game system, or....I'm just done.  Zelda is only interesting for so long, you know?

 

We also change our rules seasonally.  In the summer when it is too hot to go outside for long periods, by all means, play video games.  During the rest of the year it's rather temperate and it goes back to a weekend-evening thing.

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My kids have always played on the computer in their free time. It is possible that the loss of family time is an age thing.

 

This is exactly what I thought too.  My teen isn't a huge video game player, but he often isn't super into spending time with us.  Or if he does, it's on his terms.  I assume this is fairly normal. 

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I'm a gamer.  I've played Civ.  Currently re-doing Skyrim.
I think anyone who plays ALL DAY  or every free moment in the weekend is a real jerk.

The id in my brain would looooooove too. But I'd be a terrible mother.  I'd hate be married to a man who did it. I'd not want my kids to think this is an OK way to act either. 

 

For Civ, give him 3 hours a day.  Plenty of time to immerse.  4 if he can do it 7pm-11pm instead of sucking up all the daylight.

For first person shooter, similar time, but find out if he is playing with friends or 'online only friends'. Just because if you are playing with buddies that can influence the time you want to be there.  So if he says Max is there noon-3 and Cody is there 2-mightnight that can help you help him figure out when to play / how to limit.

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Video games or not, teens often prefer doing their own thing to being with their parents 24/7. Before you tackle this, make sure you sort out your feelings. Pulling the games won't make them little again and want to be with you all day. Even if they were addicted to reading good books, they'd likely do it in their rooms away from you. Your family will change as your kids age and that's hard. I have one gamer teen and one reader who adores her alone time in her room after a long week. The reader is actually in college now, so she does t even live here anymore.

 

The good news is that they're teen boys and will want to eat. Food can be a carrot. You can insist all meals be together at the table. You can take them out to eat on weekends and keep them out half the day. You can take a picnic to a park if eating out isn't in the budget. Even if they moan, that can sometimes fade once you're in new scenery.

 

Don't be afraid to assign weekend chores that must be done before you give them their cables back. However, at some point you have to respect that, given a choice, people choose free time activities that they like and not necessarily what their mother likes. If it's not really free time, be honest about the choices they have that day.

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I hate to say this, but if I was a 13yo boy and I had the choice between chores, piano practice, and reading "good" books versus playing video games, I'm pretty sure the video games would win every time. :)

 

I'm 42 and the video games sounds better than pretty much all those other options.  I like to read, but not all day.  And I don't even love video games!

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Thank you everyone! I wanted to respond to everybody but there are so many posts!

 

No, I don't think they're genuinely addicted. I do play video games w/ them, but I don't want to do that from Fri. till Sun. night.

 

I come up w/ books (they're bookworms), piano, chores etc. b/c I don't know what else to suggest. I've given them a wide open day and said, "do you want to go to a movie?" "A park?" "Just name it."

 

I get that this might be a stage.

 

For today I've said, "We're taking a break from 1 pm to 6 pm." Now I'll watch them sit in their rooms waiting for 6 pm to show up.

 

Alley

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We have this situation going on right now with our 12, almost 13 yr old. I have no good solutions. What I have been doing is letting him have the games in the morning. I cut him off at 11am about. And then he cannot have it back until 6pm and has to get off at 9pm. I am unsure if this is really making a good difference. We will see.

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I'm a gamer. I've played Civ. Currently re-doing Skyrim.

I think anyone who plays ALL DAY or every free moment in the weekend is a real jerk.

The id in my brain would looooooove too. But I'd be a terrible mother. I'd hate be married to a man who did it. I'd not want my kids to think this is an OK way to act either.

 

For Civ, give him 3 hours a day. Plenty of time to immerse. 4 if he can do it 7pm-11pm instead of sucking up all the daylight.

For first person shooter, similar time, but find out if he is playing with friends or 'online only friends'. Just because if you are playing with buddies that can influence the time you want to be there. So if he says Max is there noon-3 and Cody is there 2-mightnight that can help you help him figure out when to play / how to limit.

Are you really calling 13 yo boys "real jerk(s)" bc they're playing video games all weekend? BC that is the issue in the original post...

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Are you really calling 13 yo boys "real jerk(s)" bc they're playing video games all weekend? BC that is the issue in the original post...

If that's the case, almost every 13yo boy I know would be a "real jerk." :)

 

If it's the weekend and they have free time, they want to spend that time doing the thing they like best, and if that favorite thing happens to be playing video games, that's what they will want to be doing.

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If that's the case, almost every 13yo boy I know would be a "real jerk." :)

 

If it's the weekend and they have free time, they want to spend that time doing the thing they like best, and if that favorite thing happens to be playing video games, that's what they will want to be doing.

 

Yup

 

To me an addiction would be them never managing to do anything else. 

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Yup

 

To me an addiction would be them never managing to do anything else. 

 

 

But they aren't managing to do anything else on the days they are permitted to play, right?  That would have me worried.  Whether it qualifies as an addiction or not, I can't say.  But it doesn't sound healthy.

 

OP, this is not an area in which I have a lot of experience because even though my dd loves video games, she self-moderates very well.  So here's my inexperienced opinion, and take that for whatever it may be worth (which might be absolutely nothing).  

 

Right now, they have a "feast or famine" scenario, an all-or-nothing thing going on, where they have days/times they can't play, and other times where they are given completely free reign and do nothing but play.  I wonder if a better way to teach them moderation might be to limit it to a certain number of hours in a given day.  That way they can play without the games completely taking over their lives for that day, and pushing out every other activity.  Perhaps that even means allowing them one hour on weekdays, but limiting Saturdays and Sundays to 3 hours, or whatever makes sense and works for you.  

 

:grouphug:  I hope that you can find a scenario that works for everyone.  I know it can be hard when your spouse isn't on board.  

 

 

ETA:  And there's nothing wrong with having them do some chores on the weekend.  Chores are a normal part of life, they won't be damaged by them.  In fact, one of my biggest parenting regrets is not making my daughter do more chores.  I was far too easy on her in that regard, and now I fear it's going to end up making things harder for her.

Edited by Greta
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My kids are 11 and 9, so younger than yours but they would definitely play games all day, every day if we let them.   I feel like they are entitled to their interests, as long as they don't become a health issue and I don't think video games are inherently evil or bad.  I also spent all my time in my room at that age listening the music and playing solitaire (with actual physical cards!).   That semi-mindless downtime was extremely important for my mental health and I think today's kids often get that from video games.  

 

That said - my kids are allowed to play computer from 4pm to 7pm on weekdays, IF they did their school without whining, they did an hour of completely screen-free quiet time, and an hour of exercise (which often falls into that 4pm to 7pm slots).  Weekends they get from wake-up until noon, then 4pm to 7pm.   We don't have the other requirements that we have weekdays.   This has worked well for a few years now because they know exactly what to expect and it's not ME telling them to get off, it's "it's 7pm!" and off they go.  Now, we do occasionally make exceptions like when we're in the middle of a snow storm but we also have times it naturally doesn't occur, like when we go camping or spend a week at the 4-H Fair.

 

In your case, I wouldn't ask them what they want to do, I would have something in mind.  "Look, there's a Maker's Day going on at the local university, we're going to check it out", or "the new Avengers movie is playing, we're going to see it at 3pm".    

 

If there were specific things they NEEDED to do - like chores that have to be done or piano practice.  I would sit down and talk to them.  "You need to practice piano sometime over the weekend, what hour works best for you?".

 

Edited by Where's Toto?
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But they aren't managing to do anything else on the days they are permitted to play, right?  That would have me worried.  Whether it qualifies as an addiction or not, I can't say.  But it doesn't sound healthy.

 

OP, this is not an area in which I have a lot of experience because even though my dd loves video games, she self-moderates very well.  So here's my inexperienced opinion, and take that for whatever it may be worth (which might be absolutely nothing).  

 

Right now, they have a "feast or famine" scenario, an all-or-nothing thing going on, where they have days/times they can't play, and other times where they are given completely free reign and do nothing but play.  I wonder if a better way to teach them moderation might be to limit it to a certain number of hours in a given day.  That way they can play without the games completely taking over their lives for that day, and pushing out every other activity.  Perhaps that even means allowing them one hour on weekdays, but limiting Saturdays and Sundays to 3 hours, or whatever makes sense and works for you.  

 

:grouphug:  I hope that you can find a scenario that works for everyone.  I know it can be hard when your spouse isn't on board.  

 

 

ETA:  And there's nothing wrong with having them do some chores on the weekend.  Chores are a normal part of life, they won't be damaged by them.  In fact, one of my biggest parenting regrets is not making my daughter do more chores.  I was far too easy on her in that regard, and now I fear it's going to end up making things harder for her.

 

When I have a day to myself to do whatever I want, sometimes I don't do anything that frankly has any redeeming value.  I just don't happen to get that chance too often. 

 

I don't really feel as if video games are terrible though.  Does not strike me as any different than playing board games all day long.  Growing up I did that.  Sometimes I would spend all weekend reading.  My mother would get mad, but she didn't like to read so she didn't get it.  When I didn't read or play board games, I sat there.  There was nothing else to do.  She didn't complain about that.  Sometimes I think we overthink these things.

 

If you want your kids to do other things, well then maybe come up with other things. They are somewhat limited (money, transportation, etc.). 

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I will be honest, we don't limit video games at all for my gamer kid.  I have found, the more I try to place limits, the more he wants to play because it's a forbidden fruit.

 

Now, he is 14 and has free access to the computer. Some days he may be on there all day.  Yesterday he spent the day reading.  Monday after he finishes schoolwork, he'll ride his bike down to return his books at the library.  A week or two ago, he informed me he intends on spending time outside every day.

 

These are all things he does of his own volition because we don't force him to do any of them.

 

Now, when he buys a new game (he supports his own habits), I won't see him for weeks and that's fine. It's a new toy.  When I get new fabric, patterns, etc. I go through phases where all I want to do is sew also.  I don't split up my days doing different hobbies. I typically spend a weekend gardening, a weekend sewing, a weekend reading, etc as I have time.

 

ETA:  Regardless of how he spends his time, it's rarely with me. LOL.  He does game with his Dad some and get in long intellectual discussions with his Dad, but typically our time together is when we go to the movies, etc.  My 16 yr old is the same way. There isn't a lot of "family" time going on but I try to maintain connections with them as teens by meeting them on their territory (Pokemon hunting with the 16 yr old, video game stores, Pokemon League with the 14 yr old)

Edited by TeenagerMom
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I will be honest, we don't limit video games at all for my gamer kid.  I have found, the more I try to place limits, the more he wants to play because it's a forbidden fruit.

 

Now, he is 14 and has free access to the computer. Some days he may be on there all day.  Yesterday he spent the day reading.  Monday after he finishes schoolwork, he'll ride his bike down to return his books at the library.  A week or two ago, he informed me he intends on spending time outside every day.

 

These are all things he does of his own volition because we don't force him to do any of them.

 

Now, when he buys a new game (he supports his own habits), I won't see him for weeks and that's fine. It's a new toy.  When I get new fabric, patterns, etc. I go through phases where all I want to do is sew also.  I don't split up my days doing different hobbies. I typically spend a weekend gardening, a weekend sewing, a weekend reading, etc as I have time.

 

This is what I do.

 

I'm not always in love with how he chooses to spend his free time, but he gets his work done, gets good grades, etc.  I can't exactly argue that he isn't managing it.

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Well, we do have outside activities on the weekends, so there isn't free reign, but my teens (girl included) would definitely choose to game all day if given no alternative.  And every once in a while they get a Friday or Saturday where they are allowed to just do that.

 

If it's nice out though, they still get sent out.  They may not stay out long, but I will tell them to go for a bike ride, and they'll go out for a half-hearted ride and come back an hour later headed right for the games. 

 

I don't mind when they are gaming on a cold winter day or a crazy hot summer one.   I'll usually announce my intention to want to play something with them and they will plot out their time accordingly to allow for an hour or so with mom.

 

 Sometimes we break it up with board games- we've been getting some really unique ones from Kickstarter campaigns, and that's been a lot of fun to explore together.  Do you have any friends or family who are Board Game Geeks and could introduce them to some new great games?  Or a local board game store that has game nights?  They frequently will have demo games out on a Saturday afternoon- it's really fun way to spend some time.  Still gaming, but a completely different kind of game. 

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When I have a day to myself to do whatever I want, sometimes I don't do anything that frankly has any redeeming value.  I just don't happen to get that chance too often. 

 

I don't really feel as if video games are terrible though.  Does not strike me as any different than playing board games all day long.  Growing up I did that.  Sometimes I would spend all weekend reading.  My mother would get mad, but she didn't like to read so she didn't get it.  When I didn't read or play board games, I sat there.  There was nothing else to do.  She didn't complain about that.  Sometimes I think we overthink these things.

 

If you want your kids to do other things, well then maybe come up with other things. They are somewhat limited (money, transportation, etc.). 

 

 

Oh, let me be clear:  I waste a lot of time on things that have zero redeeming value!  A lot.  I'm certainly not judging that.  But none of those things have enough "pull" on me to make me want to do nothing but that thing from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed.  That is the part that would concern me.  That just sounds out of proportion to me.  

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Well, we do have outside activities on the weekends, so there isn't free reign, but my teens (girl included) would definitely choose to game all day if given no alternative.  And every once in a while they get a Friday or Saturday where they are allowed to just do that.

 

If it's nice out though, they still get sent out.  They may not stay out long, but I will tell them to go for a bike ride, and they'll go out for a half-hearted ride and come back an hour later headed right for the games. 

 

I don't mind when they are gaming on a cold winter day or a crazy hot summer one.   I'll usually announce my intention to want to play something with them and they will plot out their time accordingly to allow for an hour or so with mom.

 

 Sometimes we break it up with board games- we've been getting some really unique ones from Kickstarter campaigns, and that's been a lot of fun to explore together.  Do you have any friends or family who are Board Game Geeks and could introduce them to some new great games?  Or a local board game store that has game nights?  They frequently will have demo games out on a Saturday afternoon- it's really fun way to spend some time.  Still gaming, but a completely different kind of game. 

 

So you tell your teens to just go outside?  I can't imagine this.  I try to encourage my kids to go out and about.  Usually I get them to do that by going out there myself.  Right now that's not so attractive since we just had 2 feet of snow dumped on us. 

 

I'm not saying I never tell my teen what to do, but it would be a constant moan fest if I micromanaged him in that way. 

 

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Oh, let me be clear:  I waste a lot of time on things that have zero redeeming value!  A lot.  I'm certainly not judging that.  But none of those things have enough "pull" on me to make me want to do nothing but that thing from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed.  That is the part that would concern me.  That just sounds out of proportion to me.  

 

Yeah but in your case you HAVE other responsibilities.  I suppose one tactic is to give them things they have to do on the weekend. 

 

But really sometimes the only reason I don't just spend all day on-line is because I have to actually do other things.  Remove that...and hmmm.....

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Yeah but in your case you HAVE other responsibilities.  I suppose one tactic is to give them things they have to do on the weekend. 

 

But really sometimes the only reason I don't just spend all day on-line is because I have to actually do other things.  Remove that...and hmmm.....

 

 

It's probably obvious from the frequency of my posts that I do love spending a lot of time here.  And yes, I have other things that must do.  But I also have other things that I want to do.  I love my leisure time a lot, maybe too much in fact.  But I guess I just can't relate to wanting to spend it all doing one thing.  I like variety.

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Oh, let me be clear:  I waste a lot of time on things that have zero redeeming value!  A lot.  I'm certainly not judging that.  But none of those things have enough "pull" on me to make me want to do nothing but that thing from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed.  That is the part that would concern me.  That just sounds out of proportion to me.  

 

Books are my thing.  I could spend all day long just reading.  If I get into a really good series, it could go on for days.  Sometimes I even lose sleep trying to finish up a really good book.

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Screens are the ultimate ymmv.

 

Severe limits work for some parent/child combinations, complete freedom works for some parent/child combinations and literally nothing will work for some.

 

The rest of us muddle along in the middle doing our best.

 

The thing is, though, when there is a problem in a home, it doesn't make that problem go away for ppl to say "that happens in my house, and it's not a problem." Ykwim?

 

Op, you've gotten great advice. I will add that whatever you decide to do, do it confidently and remember that it's an evolving situation...You can (probably should) reassess and tweak the rules again down the road. Right now feels like forever to kids, but you know it isn't.

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So you tell your teens to just go outside? I can't imagine this. I try to encourage my kids to go out and about. Usually I get them to do that by going out there myself. Right now that's not so attractive since we just had 2 feet of snow dumped on us.

 

I'm not saying I never tell my teen what to do, but it would be a constant moan fest if I micromanaged him in that way.

 

I feel the same way. If my ds has free time, he should be able to decide how he wants to spend it. Even when he was little, I never sent him outside to play. If he wanted to play outside, that was fine, but if he wanted to stay indoors, I was fine with that, too.

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So you tell your teens to just go outside?  I can't imagine this.  I try to encourage my kids to go out and about.  Usually I get them to do that by going out there myself.  Right now that's not so attractive since we just had 2 feet of snow dumped on us. 

 

I'm not saying I never tell my teen what to do, but it would be a constant moan fest if I micromanaged him in that way. 

 

 

I actually do.  Honestly, not very often, and I don't expect them to be outside all day.  They're teens and when they're not schooling or dancing they pretty much are allowed to do whatever they want.   But every once in a while I feel the need to send them out and I do so.  Only when it's nice enough out for a bike ride, since that's the "chosen" outdoor activity.  I firmly tell them they are not going to waste a day of gorgeous sunshine and they should go out and enjoy it.  Sometimes that outside time lasts half an hour, sometimes they run into a friend at the park and it turns into spending the day outside.  

 

I would be fine if they sat outside with a book, I just want them outside in the fresh air, really.  

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Books are my thing.  I could spend all day long just reading.  If I get into a really good series, it could go on for days.  Sometimes I even lose sleep trying to finish up a really good book.

 

 

I can definitely relate to being swept away by a really good book.  And I will even admit to neglecting other (more important) things in order to keep reading!  I can't do it all day, though.  Physically I get antsy, and just need to get up and move.  I will make a confession though.  My mother (lovingly, jokingly) scolded me once for reading Harry Potter when I should have been socializing with the family.  I was 35 yrs old at the time.  :lol:

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I can definitely relate to being swept away by a really good book. And I will even admit to neglecting other (more important) things in order to keep reading! I can't do it all day, though. Physically I get antsy, and just need to get up and move. I will make a confession though. My mother (lovingly, jokingly) scolded me once for reading Harry Potter when I should have been socializing with the family. I was 35 yrs old at the time. :lol:

PARENTS JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND

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I'm a gamer. I've played Civ. Currently re-doing Skyrim.

I think anyone who plays ALL DAY or every free moment in the weekend is a real jerk.

The id in my brain would looooooove too. But I'd be a terrible mother. I'd hate be married to a man who did it. I'd not want my kids to think this is an OK way to act either.

 

For Civ, give him 3 hours a day. Plenty of time to immerse. 4 if he can do it 7pm-11pm instead of sucking up all the daylight.

For first person shooter, similar time, but find out if he is playing with friends or 'online only friends'. Just because if you are playing with buddies that can influence the time you want to be there. So if he says Max is there noon-3 and Cody is there 2-mightnight that can help you help him figure out when to play / how to limit.

While I disageee with the idea of them being jerks, I do think the time estimates are reasonable for the games mentioned. Civ especially, does have redeeming value aside from just plain being fun. Read up on the game, there are all sorts of skills learned.

 

 

 

 

For every study or article about how horrible video games are, you can find another study or article about the positives.

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We have some of the same issues. It's not that I worry about addiction, but that I worry about them being well-rounded enough.

There was an episode on NPR last week. (ETA: it is called "'Irresistable' by Design: It's No Accident You Can't Stop Looking at the Screen" and it aired on 3/13's Fresh air segment). One of the things they talked about was games like World of Warcraft that make people feel like they have to keep playing so as not to let their team down. I'm glad my family doesn't play games like that. They play a lot of Civ, and at least with that game there are tons of references to history, literature, science, etc.

My 15 yr old had a computer in his room for a few months, but we just moved it to the living room. The boys and their dad are all playing together and having a great time. Meanwhile I am organizing school stuff and practicing piano by myself. Whose work is more valuable?

We do cut them off and send them to read. But my older boy just wants to read and play on the computer; well, he also likes to play family board games. He does his school work, exercises (which we make him do for PE), watches movies with his dad, reads when we remind him to, and does chores that we ask him to. I wish I could get him into more hobbies though. He has stuff, just doesn't pursue it.

Edited by ondreeuh
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