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Need help. Boys are addicted to video games.


Alicia64
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I do know someone who has a son who actually is addicted to video games.  What that looks like is he does/did nothing else. Didn't get his school work done.  Didn't leave the house ever if he could help it.  Barely slept.  When his parents tried to take away games and computers by putting them away he would search for them until he found them and hook them back up and keep playing (in the middle of the night).  The behavior was something similar to a drug addict.  Where he would do any crazy thing he could figure out to play the games.

 

 

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Your sons sound like avid gamers, not addicts. As mentioned above, it becomes addiction if it takes over a life such that other required daily functions go undone on a regular basis.

 

My family has been made up of avid gamers since the first Pong machine I played at the tennis club back in the 70's. There have never been limits. When we get a new game, we might seem like addicts as there will be no sleep for days as we dive head first into the game. Gaming at our house may be an all day thing or several hours, whatever. Nonetheless, I managed to obtain several degrees, DS has several degrees, and DD16 finished high school at age 15. So, there is hope. A gamer can survive. DD16 actually makes money with her gaming skills, much more than she would ever make at the typical high school type job.

 

I have always had a few rules with my kids. They must learn at least one instrument and play at least one sport. As long as schoolwork, sport, and instrument are accomplished, then gaming can go on as long as one can hold up his head. Friends over the years have come from sport and gaming. With the internet, some of those friends are now international, met online. Crazy world we live in, right?

 

This is to say that if your boys play only the weekends, they are no where close to being addicts. Make sure they get some exercise each day and that's it. Happy gaming.

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Well if we are going to talk about addiction and what is and isn't addiction, it's worth remembering that there are completely functional addicts. Of alcohol, of coffee, of cocaine and heroin (for a while). It's not like anything above The Wire level antics is not addiction.... Notably when someone has an enabler covering for them handling day to day tasks while the addict, addicts.

 

Just thinking​ in general.

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(snipped)

 

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

 

I have found this to be the case.  It is the same with many things that are just fine for most people.  But when they aren't...they aren't.  

 

There is a difference between enjoying games and being addicted to the dopamine dump.  It does't happen for everyone, but when it does, it is a bad situation.  

 

Like I said upthread, regarding gaming, we are now where we were 50 years ago talking about alcoholism.   Alcohol isn't bad in itself.  Unless you happen to fall into the 9% for whom it is bad.  Then, there is a bottomless pit of badness about it.  KWIM?

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I have found this to be the case.  It is the same with many things that are just fine for most people.  But when they aren't...they aren't.  

 

There is a difference between enjoying games and being addicted to the dopamine dump.  It does't happen for everyone, but when it does, it is a bad situation.  

 

Like I said upthread, regarding gaming, we are now where we were 50 years ago talking about alcoholism.   Alcohol isn't bad in itself.  Unless you happen to fall into the 9% for whom it is bad.  Then, there is a bottomless pit of badness about it.  KWIM?

 

Totally agree, but I shouldn't have used the word "addicted." In my sons' case, they're not actually addicted.

 

But I agree: TV is fun. 24/7 of TV all weekend long is a problem. (Sometimes it's not about what you're doing, but all that you're not doing when you're on -- for example -- the TV like baking, hiking, washing the car w/ Dad, running the dog etc.)

 

(Of course coffee is different.) :)

 

Alley

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Totally agree, but I shouldn't have used the word "addicted." In my sons' case, they're not actually addicted.

 

But I agree: TV is fun. 24/7 of TV all weekend long is a problem. (Sometimes it's not about what you're doing, but all that you're not doing when you're on -- for example -- the TV like baking, hiking, washing the car w/ Dad, running the dog etc.)

 

(Of course coffee is different.) :)

 

Alley

But what if they don't want to bake, hike, wash the car with Dad, or run the dog?

 

I guess what I'm saying is maybe they don't want to do what they're not doing. :)

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When the kids were younger, we simply went a couple of weeks cold turkey.  My kids whined for a day or two and then started to so more interesting, worthwhile things.  I would love to do this again, even just for a weekend, but, alas, most of the worst offenders are adults.  Short of kicking them out for this behavior (which would essentially break the relationships that I want to foster), I am kind of stuck on this one.  I can see why this behavior exists ... there is a lot of tension due to one kid's mental illness and we live in a small house ... the screens are a coping mechanism.  But, when it interfered with Christmas, I had a fit.  I wish I had an answer for you. 

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But what if they don't want to bake, hike, wash the car with Dad, or run the dog?

 

I guess what I'm saying is maybe they don't want to do what they're not doing. :)

 

I hear you, but it's more complicated than you're making it. When the boys get off the video games and clean the car with me -- like one just did -- they seem to enjoy talking and interacting with me. (I made it a fast-clean and didn't allow it to take forever.)

 

One time I dragged one boy off the video games, took him to the dog park and he later thanked me saying it had been fun. I'm not making this up.

 

On another Sunday after a long weekend of playing one son said, "Don't let me do that again. I feel weird that I didn't do anything else."

 

But when I remind of that, he blows me off.

 

Somewhere inside of them they don't want to do all day/night on "gaming."

 

Alley

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I hear you, but it's more complicated than you're making it. When the boys get off the video games and clean the car with me -- like one just did -- they seem to enjoy talking and interacting with me. (I made it a fast-clean and didn't allow it to take forever.)

 

One time I dragged one boy off the video games, took him to the dog park and he later thanked me saying it had been fun. I'm not making this up.

 

On another Sunday after a long weekend of playing one son said, "Don't let me do that again. I feel weird that I didn't do anything else."

 

But when I remind of that, he blows me off.

 

Somewhere inside of them they don't want to do all day/night on "gaming."

 

Alley

But that's actually a very good sign. They like to game, but they don't HAVE to game in order to enjoy themselves.

 

I know it can be frustrating to watch them sitting there instead of doing something else. But if they're only playing on the weekend, there's still a limit on how often they're gaming. I would suggest that you offer them the option of limited time every day, including the same time limits on weekends, but kids are way too clever about extending those limits and you might end up with a daily problem instead of a weekend issue.

Edited by Catwoman
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I hear you, but it's more complicated than you're making it. When the boys get off the video games and clean the car with me -- like one just did -- they seem to enjoy talking and interacting with me. (I made it a fast-clean and didn't allow it to take forever.)

 

One time I dragged one boy off the video games, took him to the dog park and he later thanked me saying it had been fun. I'm not making this up.

 

On another Sunday after a long weekend of playing one son said, "Don't let me do that again. I feel weird that I didn't do anything else."

 

But when I remind of that, he blows me off.

 

Somewhere inside of them they don't want to do all day/night on "gaming."

 

Alley

Then I think I would go back to time limits. I know it's hard but it sounds like they would appreciate it too.

You could be pretty generous, maybe 8 hours Saturday and 6 on Sunday. They can figure out how to fit those hours around other activities.

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Well if we are going to talk about addiction and what is and isn't addiction, it's worth remembering that there are completely functional addicts. Of alcohol, of coffee, of cocaine and heroin (for a while). It's not like anything above The Wire level antics is not addiction.... Notably when someone has an enabler covering for them handling day to day tasks while the addict, addicts.

 

Just thinking​ in general.

 

Ok, but I'd be FAR more concerned about my kid being a functional cocaine addict than video game addict.  This is not a realistic comparison.

I'm by no means trying to talk anyone into how to determine their house gaming rules.  Just offering the perspective of how I handle it and my reasoning behind doing it.

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I hear you, but it's more complicated than you're making it. When the boys get off the video games and clean the car with me -- like one just did -- they seem to enjoy talking and interacting with me. (I made it a fast-clean and didn't allow it to take forever.)

 

One time I dragged one boy off the video games, took him to the dog park and he later thanked me saying it had been fun. I'm not making this up.

 

On another Sunday after a long weekend of playing one son said, "Don't let me do that again. I feel weird that I didn't do anything else."

 

But when I remind of that, he blows me off.

 

Somewhere inside of them they don't want to do all day/night on "gaming."

 

Alley

 

This sounds like my son -- he's always happy to do interacting with family and tells me how nice it is to go on family walks or grocery shopping together, but if he had to choose, screens are an easier choice.  Not having screens during the week, however,  might instill the feast or famine mindset.  We have a lot of screen options during the week -- my kids usually play minecraft for 30 min before school, 45 min after, sometimes they play 30-45 min at night (my oldest got the latest Zelda game so they hang out with her watching her play it) -- and even with all that time they still usually have time for swim practice, ballet practice, piano practice, a short board game and 30 min to an hour of reading! And if they didn't end up playing that much on the weekend because of an all day monopoly or risk marathon, they don't have the worry that they won't get to do screens again until the following weekend.  

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Ok, but I'd be FAR more concerned about my kid being a functional cocaine addict than video game addict. This is not a realistic comparison.

.

Not I. I've known both and at least cocaine addicts know how to have fun and can really get stuff done haha.

 

Just kidding, obviously I want zero addicts.

 

Some people just don't know how to stop. I used to date a guy who was super into wow. Never, ever again. There's nothing objectively wrong with wow. But there is with just deciding to do the bare minimum everything-else to play as much wow as possible.

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We have strict limits on screens here (I recently upped the limit to 3 hours per day on weekends only, no carryovers).  DS whines and claims he has nothing to do, but it's a strict limit with few exceptions.  There's no other way to go about it - you'll have to be the adult and enforce the limits.  Keeping DS so busy with sports, scouts, museum visits, and projects have made the adult enforcement easier.

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In our house, if they don't want to participate in other family activities, the burden is on them to come up with ways to entertain themselves that doesn't involve electronics.

But what if they don't want to bake, hike, wash the car with Dad, or run the dog?

I guess what I'm saying is maybe they don't want to do what they're not doing. :)

 

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In our house, if they don't want to participate in other family activities, the burden is on them to come up with ways to entertain themselves that doesn't involve electronics.

I hope I don't sound like I'm against the idea of limiting electronics. We don't do it, but I can certainly understand why other families do things differently than we do. :)

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Not I. I've known both and at least cocaine addicts know how to have fun and can really get stuff done haha.

 

Just kidding, obviously I want zero addicts.

 

Some people just don't know how to stop. I used to date a guy who was super into wow. Never, ever again. There's nothing objectively wrong with wow. But there is with just deciding to do the bare minimum everything-else to play as much wow as possible.

 

I would say they show no definitive signs of addiction though. 

 

I think it's a matter of some people thinking video games have no value.  People used to think the telephone would be the death of morality, etc.  Which is fine..some people feel how they feel and value different things.  Since a person can become addicted to nearly anything, it seems like stretching to say after these very few details it's all about addiction.  It's all about people sticking their noses up at the idea of video games is what it is.  Which, again, is fine, but call it what it is. 

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I would say they show no definitive signs of addiction though. 

 

I think it's a matter of some people thinking video games have no value.  People used to think the telephone would be the death of morality, etc.  Which is fine..some people feel how they feel and value different things.  Since a person can become addicted to nearly anything, it seems like stretching to say after these very few details it's all about addiction.  It's all about people sticking their noses up at the idea of video games is what it is.  Which, again, is fine, but call it what it is. 

 

What is a matter...?

 

Any limits at all?

 

If that's what you're saying, I disagree so much. Anything with any amount, even great, of value, can't be permitted to take over a life (and by extension, the lives of all the people around them). I don't devalue the internet LOL CLEARLY but I have limits on what my little kids can do on it. My parents didn't devalue the work I did with animals in high school, but they still (thankfully) made sure I saw the sun shine and some human faces every day. I value loafs of homemade bread, but I still make sure I only eat a whole loaf in one sitting SOME times :laugh: 

 

And so on.

 

Or m I misunderstanding? I'm often slow on the uptake!

 

 

I mean, I know a woman that was addicted (in the secondary sense) to RUNNING. It ruined her marriage. She went out in terrible weather and got hurt. She stopped seeing her friends. There is VALUE in running. But too much of anything is too much. And what is just enough for one person is too much for another, and the "just enough" person saying so doesn't change the situation for the "too much" person.

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I haven't read all responses, but wanted to reply.  My family has dealt with true video game addiction (in an adult), and my boys sometimes exhibit similar "symptoms" to greater or lesser degrees, if allowed.  What we have done is - strict limits, and Mom is the harda$$ making them stop when necessary, and keeping them from playing when necessary.

 

My boys get 45 min screen time /day max.  (No being on a tablet until it's your turn on the xbox, and then programming games on the computer afterward, for example.) 

 

They play in a rotation, because not everyone gets to play every day (sometimes we have other activities going on, and when we're home, the screen time window is between supper cleanup and before bed snacks.)

 

They know that if they are told no, or told to stop before their time is up for an unexpected reason, or Mom wants the TV for a movie, or whatever reason that they can't play at the moment - and they complain/whine/dawdle/ignore/protest, they are restricted from playing until further notice.  Usually, that means a few days to a week of no game time, until I see that their "obsession" with playing has abated.

 

On weekends they get a little more time, but they still have to take breaks after 45 min.  I also ask (politely require, lol) them to pitch in with whatever projects/chores that Dad or I may be doing on the weekends.  Also, on weekends, game time is more of a whole family activity, which seems to keep attitudes better, lol.

 

We are a very techy household and it's not feasible to just chuck all the screens, for us.  I don't like the amount of time they spend staring at screens, but we've found a balance that works for us.    I hope you can do the same, OP.  :)

 

ETA:  I forgot one other point, lol - I don't go to any lengths to set up alternate activities to keep them busy instead of gaming.  If I don't have something requiring their help, they are responsible to find something to entertain themselves.  Forcing them to make the decision helps them get their mind off the game, I think.

Edited by tori@thehomefront
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I think most kids that age have trouble limiting their time. I doubt if it would be different if they'd been allowed to play earlier.

 

I think, even if you don't think it's an addiction issue, it's important to think about how they games operate on the brain.  With most games, they are designed so that the player doesn't want to put the game down - there is always one more thing that needs to be completed, or point to be gained, or they can't leave the group, that sort of thing.  THis si true for war games, puzzle solving games, and it's probably worst for the games that never really end. 

 

So - people end up spending far more time than they intend, than they realize, often, like a souped-up version of watching tv because you keep getting caught up in the next thing.  Some people actually seem to find ending their playing session really unpleasant and connected to negative emotions.

 

I think that context can help design a set of rules or guidelines to make playing reasonable amounts easier.  And it's important to at that age for kids to be told that this is what happens, because it is good for the gaming industry, the same way you would tell them how to avoid being manipulated by commercials and such.

 

As far as other things to do, I think the thing is, you don't really have to provide entertainment.  They need to learn to fill their free time.  It may be that they need less free time, but it sounds like a big issue is that because of the gaming, they haven't really developed any teen-level hobbies.  If you want to do something other than read or play a board game, you need to invest time in it  So -a kid has time to do something like learn to sew, and then all of a sudden, he has one option to fill some pretty substantial amounts of time in a very rewarding way.  Or maybe he gets to setting up a regular Frisbee game with some local people.  Or something else - building a diorama, making a garden, writing something, putting together a play. 

 

For a lot of kids though, being bored seems to be a pre-requisite for doing these things - if tv or video-games are an option, they go for those first.  There can be a real lack of skills to take some initiative and begin a project without an adult setting it up.

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I hear you, but it's more complicated than you're making it. When the boys get off the video games and clean the car with me -- like one just did -- they seem to enjoy talking and interacting with me. (I made it a fast-clean and didn't allow it to take forever.)

 

One time I dragged one boy off the video games, took him to the dog park and he later thanked me saying it had been fun. I'm not making this up.

 

On another Sunday after a long weekend of playing one son said, "Don't let me do that again. I feel weird that I didn't do anything else."

 

But when I remind of that, he blows me off.

 

Somewhere inside of them they don't want to do all day/night on "gaming."

 

Alley

 

 

But that's actually a very good sign. They like to game, but they don't HAVE to game in order to enjoy themselves.

 

I know it can be frustrating to watch them sitting there instead of doing something else. But if they're only playing on the weekend, there's still a limit on how often they're gaming. I would suggest that you offer them the option of limited time every day, including the same time limits on weekends, but kids are way too clever about extending those limits and you might end up with a daily problem instead of a weekend issue.

 

I don't know - I don't think it is entirely a good sign - it's good they recognize that they don't want to do something, but not that they can't do it.  Essentially, they are finding their own level of self-control/insight into mental state isn't enough to do what they know they should, and what they actually want to, when they are away from the games.

 

I wouldn't call playing all weekend under those circumstances "doing what they want to."  Usually that kind of behavior on a regular basis is characterized as a bad habit, if it's nothing worse.  Adults have to figure it out themselves, but for young teens who asked for help with a bad habit, I'd tend to give it.

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I don't know - I don't think it is entirely a good sign - it's good they recognize that they don't want to do something, but not that they can't do it. Essentially, they are finding their own level of self-control/insight into mental state isn't enough to do what they know they should, and what they actually want to, when they are away from the games.

 

I wouldn't call playing all weekend under those circumstances "doing what they want to." Usually that kind of behavior on a regular basis is characterized as a bad habit, if it's nothing worse. Adults have to figure it out themselves, but for young teens who asked for help with a bad habit, I'd tend to give it.

I disagree.

 

Your idea of what they "should be doing" may be different from what the kids' idea of what they should be doing. They think they "should be" playing video games. Why is it a problem that they have a different preference?

 

You said the video games are keeping them from doing the things they "actually want to, when they are away from the games." But I think you're missing my point that they prefer to play the video games, but if they're not allowed to play them, they'll do something else. The fact that they can enjoy something else is what I consider to be a good thing, because it says to me that they aren't addicted to gaming. They like it. It's probably their favorite thing to do when they have free time. But if they can't game, they'll make the best of it and figure out something else to do.

 

I'm not sure why you insist that the gaming is a bad habit. If they were spending all their free time on one other activity, like reading or a sport, would you still feel the same way? Do they need to be doing something you consider to be constructive in order for it not to be considered a bad habit? Do you feel they need more variety in their activities, even though they get that variety five days a week and can only play video games on the weekend?

 

I'm not sure I understand what you're saying.

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I disagree.

 

Your idea of what they "should be doing" may be different from what the kids' idea of what they should be doing. They think they "should be" playing video games. Why is it a problem that they have a different preference?

 

You said the video games are keeping them from doing the things they "actually want to, when they are away from the games." But I think you're missing my point that they prefer to play the video games, but if they're not allowed to play them, they'll do something else. The fact that they can enjoy something else is what I consider to be a good thing, because it says to me that they aren't addicted to gaming. They like it. It's probably their favorite thing to do when they have free time. But if they can't game, they'll make the best of it and figure out something else to do.

 

I'm not sure why you insist that the gaming is a bad habit. If they were spending all their free time on one other activity, like reading or a sport, would you still feel the same way? Do they need to be doing something you consider to be constructive in order for it not to be considered a bad habit? Do you feel they need more variety in their activities, even though they get that variety five days a week and can only play video games on the weekend?

 

I'm not sure I understand what you're saying.

 

Anything that has young people sitting on their butts 20+ hours over a span of a weekend staring at a screen is not what they "should be" doing.  IMO. 

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I disagree.

 

Your idea of what they "should be doing" may be different from what the kids' idea of what they should be doing. They think they "should be" playing video games. Why is it a problem that they have a different preference?

 

You said the video games are keeping them from doing the things they "actually want to, when they are away from the games." But I think you're missing my point that they prefer to play the video games, but if they're not allowed to play them, they'll do something else. The fact that they can enjoy something else is what I consider to be a good thing, because it says to me that they aren't addicted to gaming. They like it. It's probably their favorite thing to do when they have free time. But if they can't game, they'll make the best of it and figure out something else to do.

 

I'm not sure why you insist that the gaming is a bad habit. If they were spending all their free time on one other activity, like reading or a sport, would you still feel the same way? Do they need to be doing something you consider to be constructive in order for it not to be considered a bad habit? Do you feel they need more variety in their activities, even though they get that variety five days a week and can only play video games on the weekend?

 

I'm not sure I understand what you're saying.

 

Her son said he didn't like the way playing that long made him feel, and they are happy and feel good when they go do other things - enough to mention it.

 

If we imagine they were doing something like eating quantities of chocolate and expressed similar sentiments about feelling ill or wanting to eat healthier foods, but blew off the person who reminded them in the moment saying they only wanted chocolate, and kept doing the same thing over and over again, we would probably think that they were having a problem.

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Her son said he didn't like the way playing that long made him feel, and they are happy and feel good when they go do other things - enough to mention it.

 

If we imagine they were doing something like eating quantities of chocolate and expressed similar sentiments about feelling ill or wanting to eat healthier foods, but blew off the person who reminded them in the moment saying they only wanted chocolate, and kept doing the same thing over and over again, we would probably think that they were having a problem.

 

This, exactly.  We had to get very hardcore and I mean hardcore.  We could not have done what we did without a counselor on board and a saint who walks the earth on our team.  We would not have made it without his mentor, his teammates, his 2 remaining friends, and our friends and family who kept us from falling over from exhaustion, disappointment, fear.  

 

The first 4 weeks, we also had to expend enormous amounts of energy finding ways to ease-down the dopamine dumping.  Learning to race a car.  Going to car races.  Speed boating.  Ski racing.  That sort of thing.  

 

When asked, he would say he was really bored with gaming and was just going to finish out the next tournament and then quit...but then he couldn't.  He wasn't happy but he couldn't do without the dopamine dump.  

 

Within a few weeks of the our intervention, however, this post appeared on a gaming discussion board and I know who wrote it.  Forgive the raw language and note the first 6 words of the second sentence:  

 

"@anyone letting tf2 (the game) get in the way of leading a more fulfilling life (most ppl in this thread) i can 100% recommend quitting cold turkey.

i couldn't do it without help but looking back i was definitely not leading a good life. i was taking meaningless online shit way too hard without a constructive way to cope and it led to a cyclically destructive escapist lifestyle

i'm definitely not the person i want to be yet, but it feels good to be working to better myself"

He stays on the gaming discussion boards, even as I stay here although my homeschooling days are long gone.  But he has IRL friends now, even a girlfriend (cute as pie), and has a very good possibility of having a great future (even though many beautiful ships have already sailed...). It is going to take some time for his maturity to catch up to his physical age, as the damage to the executive function is in repair mode), but quitting gaming was the only option.  He will always have an obsessive nature -- now he is into vinyl music -- INTO IT -- but that is something he seeks out, engages in with other people, and can turn off at will. It's not adrenalizing his system, dumping endless amounts of dopamine into his brain, so now he is finding greater joy in small pleasures--a walk, a duck on our pool (NO!), a baseball game, a win at work, and so on.  We have our son back...at least most of him.  :0)  

My point in THIS post is that he could not have come off of gaming himself.  And he really couldn't admit it was a problem, even though everyone around him knew it was.  Sort of like the alcoholic in denial.  

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One of the main assumptions is that kids game because they are bored.  

 

That's one of the reasons.  Kind of like I end up on the computer when I am bored and don't want to spend three seconds to figure out what to do with my time...it's one of the reasons I periodically kick myself off Facebook, or these boards, even....so I HAVE to re-engage with things I actually do like to do, if I will just get out and do them.  

 

In my long post upthread, I linked to an article that is *very* long (in our short-attention-span-theater days) which talks quite a bit about why kids/adults game.  One that really resonated with our experience is that gaming often attracts intellectually gifted OR challenged people.  Games offer a world that makes sense, a meritocracy--you do this, that happens; you do that, another thing happens.  The real world isn't like this, and it is really frustrating to people who want a meritocracy, OR relief from a world that doesn't make sense.  It's escape.  But the thing is, it's not real, and when kids in particular spend too much time on games, and not engaged with IRL people, IRL situations, the ability to cope with the world and other people is delayed ... sometimes wayyyyy too long ... until the cost for not being able to deal with the real world is exceedingly high.  

 

That article listed other reasons people become immersed in games.  I wish I had realized that it wasn't just boredom relief because it might have alerted me to some nasty things that could have been avoided....things that made games a LOT more appealing than life.  

 

Please know that I am not against all games all the time.  I'm not.  Anymore than I am against all alcohol all the time.  I'm not.  But when it is a problem, it is a serious problem.  I don't use the word "addiction" to mean "obsession."  They are different things.  I'm talking about addiction.  Sadly, addicts are often the last to know they have a problem, and very often, even when they do, they can't help themselves.  THOSE are the people I am concerned about and that's why I keep piping up on this thread.  Given the milieu our kids live in, it is probably worth being aware of what to watch for.  That's all.  :0)

 

 

 

 

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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.

I noticed you have girls. In my experience and those of my close friends, girls seem to do a better job of self-regulating when it comes to video games. Boys seems to become addicted much more.

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I do the same as she does. I have boys.

 

I have never heard this about boys/girls and video games.

The experience of the rehab center and of our counselor who specializes in the field is that it is very predominantly a male issue.

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The experience of the rehab center and of our counselor who specializes in the field is that it is very predominantly a male issue.

 

Wouldn't that also hold true for other addictions?  The gap is closing for many of them.  I assume for video games this might be also true.  In fact, I am pretty sure I read somewhere that more females play video games now than males.  Although they tend to play different types of video games.

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Yes, but it's exactly that. Your opinion.

 

I don't think there is a definitive right and wrong here.

 

Yes, it's my opinion that sedentary is not awesome.

I mean, a lot of people have to be sedentary.  Work, mental health issues, physical problems...... it happens a lot.  But I just can't see it being something you'd encourage as a parent.  Same with watching TV, same with reading.

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my 2c . . .

 

TAKE THEM AWAY NOW . . .

 

Do not wait another day. Not an hour. Not a minute!

 

Box them up, take them to grandma's house or your work or, if you are smart enough the DUMPSTER.

 

BTDT, very similar trajectory, but with just one boy. If I'd just had the balls to actually get rid of the dang things earlier on, it would have saved us SO MUCH conflict and grief.

 

 

If you really refuse to do that, then I guess you can try to limit it more. But, IME, that just sets you up for problems and sneaking, etc, etc for the rest of your life. 

 

One of the only things I'm looking forward to about ds going away to college is that I won't have to fight about x-box anymore. He'll either be able to self-manage and do fine in college. Or, he'll flunk out due to x-box. I sure hope it's the former and not the latter. Meanwhile, i've let go of trying to micromanage it, or even manage it at all . . . in hopes that he'll have mastered sufficient self control BEFORE he goes to college. We've made headway, and I'm optimistic, but I swear, I SO SO wish I'd gotten rid of the dang stuff long ago or never allowed it in the house in the first place. 

 

 

 

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Some people train for a sport morning, noon, and night.  When not training they are reading about it, studying it, watching it.  Is this an addiction?  Or is this a passion? 

 

Some people are very passionate about video games and there is competitive video gaming.

 

(This is not to deny there isn't real addiction issues out there, but this can happen with nearly anything.) 

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Wouldn't that also hold true for other addictions?  The gap is closing for many of them.  I assume for video games this might be also true.  In fact, I am pretty sure I read somewhere that more females play video games now than males.  Although they tend to play different types of video games.

 

 

I'm really not trying to be argumentative; I just want to put out there what I have learned in a very difficult school.  

 

The thing is, boys' executive function matures later than girls'.  So a 15 year old boy's frontal cortex is not as developed as a 15yo girl's.  Girls by and large have a mature brain by age 18; boys, by age 25. 

 

This difference causes a different response to dopamine dumps, as do the differences between testosterone and estrogen.  

 

One of the marks of maturity is being able to see the long view...like, "I'll be better off if I quit now and get my homework done..." as opposed to, "Who cares about that stupid paper?  I'm about to win the CONTINENT right now!!!"  

 

As for other addictive substances/processes, most are not as accessible, let alone *pushed*, at so young an age.  One exception these days is p-rn, which is available to anyone with an internet connection, and that is pretty well documented as an addictive process.  

 

Re: the result of delaying engagement--there is good evidence that a male who refrains from drinking alcohol until age 25 has almost zero chance of becoming an alcoholic.  The executive function has matured and isn't so easily swayed by the dopamine dump, and has the maturity to prevent its dominance. I've been reading a bit about the mid-20s/early 30's young people who were in the Guinea Pig Class for Technology Immersion, and find it fascinating that it is these people, most of them male, who are the most zealous evangelists for limiting technology.  Their lives have been shortchanged (to say the least) by the addictive engagement in gaming, p*rn, and social media of one stripe or another.  They are the ones developing very cool--and limited--technology that just doesn't allow one to go there.  Interesting times.  

 

Like I said, not trying to be alarmist, condemning, or argumentative.  We need to have these conversations.  If our kids were going to school where alcohol was served out of the vending machines, every kid was packing a flask, and the school lunch program started with a martini, we'd be having the conversation about alcohol.  

 

Here is another clip from a discussion with someone involved with this issue: My goddaughter just had her third child.  She asked me the other day if I thought she was depriving her eldest by not getting him an iPad or some other game device...that her friends have all done so for their children already and are pressuring her, telling her that she is depriving her children.  ***THE ELDEST CHILD IS FOUR YEARS OLD.***  (Yes, I am shouting.). For heaven's sake, we don't need to be *pushers*.

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This is very interesting.  If boy's brains are taking so long to mature, why are we giving them so much adult responsibility long before this?

Not that I'm asking for you to answer.  This just opens up a huge can of questions for me. 

 

 

I'm really not trying to be argumentative; I just want to put out there what I have learned in a very difficult school.  

 

The thing is, boys' executive function matures later than girls'.  So a 15 year old boy's frontal cortex is not as developed as a 15yo girl's.  Girls by and large have a mature brain by age 18; boys, by age 25. 

 

This difference causes a different response to dopamine dumps, as do the differences between testosterone and estrogen.  

 

One of the marks of maturity is being able to see the long view...like, "I'll be better off if I quit now and get my homework done..." as opposed to, "Who cares about that stupid paper?  I'm about to win the CONTINENT right now!!!"  

 

As for other addictive substances/processes, most are not as accessible, let alone *pushed*, at so young an age.  One exception these days is p-rn, which is available to anyone with an internet connection, and that is pretty well documented as an addictive process.  

 

Re: the result of delaying engagement--there is good evidence that a male who refrains from drinking alcohol until age 25 has almost zero chance of becoming an alcoholic.  The executive function has matured and isn't so easily swayed by the dopamine dump, and has the maturity to prevent its dominance. I've been reading a bit about the mid-20s/early 30's young people who were in the Guinea Pig Class for Technology Immersion, and find it fascinating that it is these people, most of them male, who are the most zealous evangelists for limiting technology.  Their lives have been shortchanged (to say the least) by the addictive engagement in gaming, p*rn, and social media of one stripe or another.  They are the ones developing very cool--and limited--technology that just doesn't allow one to go there.  Interesting times.  

 

Like I said, not trying to be alarmist, condemning, or argumentative.  We need to have these conversations.  If our kids were going to school where alcohol was served out of the vending machines, every kid was packing a flask, and the school lunch program started with a martini, we'd be having the conversation about alcohol.  

 

Here is another clip from a discussion with someone involved with this issue: My goddaughter just had her third child.  She asked me the other day if I thought she was depriving her eldest by not getting him an iPad or some other game device...that her friends have all done so for their children already and are pressuring her, telling her that she is depriving her children.  ***THE ELDEST CHILD IS FOUR YEARS OLD.***  (Yes, I am shouting.). For heaven's sake, we don't need to be *pushers*.

 

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I think what the research is showing is that 1) there is a small but not insignificant amount of people who get addicted to any number of substances or activities- being they gambling, running or exercising in general, video game playing, etc.  What also seems to be true is that in those people, there doesn't really seem to be a way to prevent the problem.  I think research bears me out on this and personal observation does too that addicts switch their addictions or add to them and that the tendency seems to be an addictive personality.  Being that my dh had brothers who were/are addicts and that I had a sister with an addictive personality- she was a shopaholic (and by that I do mean at an addictive totally nonsensical level), cigarette, etc., I was always watching out that my children didn't have it.  By that I meant a natural break in doing or ingesting anything.  Both dh and I see that looking back at our siblings childhoods, we can remember other instances of not having that break. Now what also happens is that in very bad circumstances, greater percentages of people turn to some addictive behavior.  In the Vietnam War, that was heroin.  WHen the soldiers came back and got peaceful, interesting lives again, almost all stopped heroin.  The ones that didn't are the true addicts. THere have been studies with rats and in a boring room with nothing to do, they quickly prefer the cocaine laced drink.  Once the rooms are filled with interesting objects for them. they stop using the cocaine.  I didn't read the original research so don't know if that same 9% is true with rats that some stay addicted nonetheless.

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Some people train for a sport morning, noon, and night. When not training they are reading about it, studying it, watching it. Is this an addiction? Or is this a passion?

 

Some people are very passionate about video games and there is competitive video gaming.

 

(This is not to deny there isn't real addiction issues out there, but this can happen with nearly anything.)

:iagree:

 

You and I both know that this is the way threads about video gaming always seem to go. :)

 

I think we're both pretty flexible and live-and-let-live about gaming. If one family allows unlimited access and it works for them, we're fine with that. If another family is adamantly anti-gaming or has very strict rules and that's what happens to be best for their family, that's fine, too.

 

The problem I see is when people try to decide what's right for ALL families based on their own personal opinions.

 

I don't mind reading the cautionary posts like Patty Joanna's because I think she is providing valuable information without being judgmental -- and all parents should be aware of things to watch out for if your kids are heavily into gaming (or any other activity, for that matter.) But I don't really appreciate it when comments start to sound like you're a bad parent if you don't regulate how much time your kid spends on the computer or a gaming system, even when you have been clear that your own kid is not showing any signs of addiction.

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Yes, it's my opinion that sedentary is not awesome.

I mean, a lot of people have to be sedentary. Work, mental health issues, physical problems...... it happens a lot. But I just can't see it being something you'd encourage as a parent. Same with watching TV, same with reading.

Well, in the OP's case, we are talking about two days a week. I can't imagine micromanaging my child's life to the point where he wouldn't even get to choose what he wanted to do for fun on the weekends.

 

No one here has suggested that sedentary is awesome. You're exaggerating.

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:iagree:

 

You and I both know that this is the way threads about video gaming always seem to go. :)

 

I think we're both pretty flexible and live-and-let-live about gaming. If one family allows unlimited access and it works for them, we're fine with that. If another family is adamantly anti-gaming or has very strict rules and that's what happens to be best for their family, that's fine, too.

 

The problem I see is when people try to decide what's right for ALL families based on their own personal opinions.

 

I don't mind reading the cautionary posts like Patty Joanna's because I think she is providing valuable information without being judgmental -- and all parents should be aware of things to watch out for if your kids are heavily into gaming (or any other activity, for that matter.) But I don't really appreciate it when comments start to sound like you're a bad parent if you don't regulate how much time your kid spends on the computer or a gaming system, even when you have been clear that your own kid is not showing any signs of addiction.

 

Thank you, Cat.  That is my intention, so I am glad it came across that way.

 

If it is an addiction, regulating isn't the answer, anyway.  Obsession, regulating is probably a good idea to provide a view to a larger world.  That's what *education* is about, anyway.  

 

Our counselor said that we did a better job at what we attempted than anyone she has ever seen.  The cold sad fact is that even delaying (which we do legally with alcohol and gambling and other substances/processes) can be of help in the realm of obsession, and that is what we thought we were dealing with.  I came to understand gaming addiction 3-4 years before the you know what hit the fan, but at that time, there was really no place or minors to get help.  Now there is.  Most counselors 5 years ago had no clue about the physical and addicting responses to gaming.  Even in the past 5 years, there is a lot more resource and a lot more data.  

 

The world is so awash in internet access--you can't get away from it.  I have no clue what kind of job my son could have that was tech-free.  So he will have to learn how to manage himself in a world that offers almost zero help...but the help is growing.  

 

It is part of the reason I speak up LOUDLY and OFTEN on these threads...to raise awareness of the issue and make those afflicted aware of help that is available.  

 

 

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Thank you, Cat.  That is my intention, so I am glad it came across that way.

 

If it is an addiction, regulating isn't the answer, anyway.  Obsession, regulating is probably a good idea to provide a view to a larger world.  That's what *education* is about, anyway.  

 

Our counselor said that we did a better job at what we attempted than anyone she has ever seen.  The cold sad fact is that even delaying (which we do legally with alcohol and gambling and other substances/processes) can be of help in the realm of obsession, and that is what we thought we were dealing with.  I came to understand gaming addiction 3-4 years before the you know what hit the fan, but at that time, there was really no place or minors to get help.  Now there is.  Most counselors 5 years ago had no clue about the physical and addicting responses to gaming.  Even in the past 5 years, there is a lot more resource and a lot more data.  

 

The world is so awash in internet access--you can't get away from it.  I have no clue what kind of job my son could have that was tech-free.  So he will have to learn how to manage himself in a world that offers almost zero help...but the help is growing.  

 

It is part of the reason I speak up LOUDLY and OFTEN on these threads...to raise awareness of the issue and make those afflicted aware of help that is available.  

 

I appreciate your posts. 

 

I don't get the impression the OP was actually concerned about addiction.  I could be completely wrong.  It felt more like an exaggeration, but similar to saying something like, "I was so mad at him I almost killed him."  KWIM? 

 

The person I know of with the game addicted kid has another child.  She was so worried about him falling into the same trap she tried hard to have the second kid avoid gaming and set a lot of restrictions.  She didn't forbid it (couldn't really).  He absolutely does not do the same thing as the addicted son.  I honestly do not believe it has anything to do with the fact she regulated the games.  I think he just wouldn't become addicted period.  The games are there.  He could sneak and play them same as his sibling.  He never does so.

 

Not saying keep a bottle of gin in front of an addict because they'll be an addict anyway. It's more like, in my mind, it can happen even IF you do everything right.  Or you could be completely hands off with regulating and nothing will happen.

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Thank you, Cat. That is my intention, so I am glad it came across that way.

 

If it is an addiction, regulating isn't the answer, anyway. Obsession, regulating is probably a good idea to provide a view to a larger world. That's what *education* is about, anyway.

 

Our counselor said that we did a better job at what we attempted than anyone she has ever seen. The cold sad fact is that even delaying (which we do legally with alcohol and gambling and other substances/processes) can be of help in the realm of obsession, and that is what we thought we were dealing with. I came to understand gaming addiction 3-4 years before the you know what hit the fan, but at that time, there was really no place or minors to get help. Now there is. Most counselors 5 years ago had no clue about the physical and addicting responses to gaming. Even in the past 5 years, there is a lot more resource and a lot more data.

 

The world is so awash in internet access--you can't get away from it. I have no clue what kind of job my son could have that was tech-free. So he will have to learn how to manage himself in a world that offers almost zero help...but the help is growing.

 

It is part of the reason I speak up LOUDLY and OFTEN on these threads...to raise awareness of the issue and make those afflicted aware of help that is available.

I hope you will continue to speak up loudly and often! :hurray:

 

It's information every parent should have, and posts like yours can help people recognize the warning signs very early, before a serious problem develops. I admire you for wanting to help other families, and I also truly appreciate it that, despite what your own family has experienced, that you are still able to be so open-minded and non-judgmental toward others. You have a unique ability to get your point across while still being kind and thoughtful. :)

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Well, in the OP's case, we are talking about two days a week. I can't imagine micromanaging my child's life to the point where he wouldn't even get to choose what he wanted to do for fun on the weekends.

 

No one here has suggested that sedentary is awesome. You're exaggerating.

 

What I said (and you seem to disagree with) was it's not great to have "young people sitting on their butts 20+ hours over a span of a weekend". To me, that's too sedentary.   

 

I can't really see comparing it to elite athletics? There's no bar to entry.  I can see comparing it to a passionate hobby. Gardening, model trains, whatever.   Play World of Warcraft hours a day, read WoW forums when you're not playing, go to WoW conventions, etc.  It's not a bad thing.  I like Reddit game forums.  I know a couple that met over a game--  I went to their wedding.  But we have enough horror stories out there to say, moderation is wise than complete indulgence.

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