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How to stop my special needs son wanting to play Grand Theft Auto! Please help!

(28 Posts)
NotSuperhuman Thu 18-Feb-16 14:58:36

We never allowed violent video games into our home. Our oldest was 16 and he borrowed it from a friend and though I kept barring it my oldest and husband didn't see the problem. My special needs child then found the game and it fascinated him - all he wants to do is ride on the train in the game, go to the airport and walk around the streets. He's now obsessed with it and now that my special needs son is 18 he wants to play the game. I relented because he was so distressed about not being allowed to have it and he does just ride on the train after all. Now he's becoming more aggressive and angry. I do think the game is affecting him. How can I get him away from this horrible game? Advice desperately needed!

ouryve Thu 18-Feb-16 16:45:26

Tell your 16 year old to keep it out of sight or take it back to his friend. It's natural at 16 to nurture different interests from a 10 year old, but he needs to be more responsible about them. he doesn't get to have an opinion about whether or not an 18 rated game is a problem or not - you are the parent. As is your husband, who needs to actually do some parenting.

If your 10yo wants to drive around, etc, then find a more age appropriate game which allows him to do this and monitor his usage of the game.

NotSuperhuman Thu 18-Feb-16 17:30:17

I am really upset that this is the first time I have ever posted on Mumsnet because I genuinely did not know where else to go for help and this is the response I get? My husband "needs to actually do some parenting"? How bloody dare you!

You have no idea what we go through on a daily basis. This is unkind, unhelpful and unwarranted. My husband only gets three hours sleep at most each night because he's "parenting" our child and supporting me when he's not working to provide for our family.

Tambaboy Thu 18-Feb-16 17:46:36

GTA really is an awful game, Dh used to play it and I would leave the room when it was on. It is violent, sexist etc. so I understand why you don't want your DS to play it.
What about providing your DS with a more appropriate alternative? I'm afraid I'm not very good with games and DS is only 9 so he plays things like Minecraft which is probably not what your DS wants. Another driving game without all the violence?

zzzzz Thu 18-Feb-16 18:04:38

I'm confused a little by the ages Your son with SN is 18 and is playing a game for adults and you don't think it's appropriate?

What has it got to do with your other son?

You let him play but you don't want him too?

Ask him not to????
Tell him he can't play it in your space?
limit time he can do it?

Are you treating him like a forever child or are you allowing him autonomy?

NotSuperhuman Thu 18-Feb-16 18:05:16

Thanks for taking the time to post. That's been my line of thought too - if I could find a replacement where he can latch on to a similar experience. I've looked at simulators and driving games and I'm just not finding anything out there.

zzzzz Thu 18-Feb-16 18:18:30

So what you are really asking for is info on driving games that are like GTA? confused

NotSuperhuman Thu 18-Feb-16 18:42:24

My GTA obsessed special needs son is now 18 and I guess I felt the need to explain how it came up on his radar in the first place. Now, yes, I'm letting him play, but I hate it in my home and I feel that it is having an impact on him - he's becoming more aggressive and angry. I want to allow him to make his own choices but he obsesses over the game which allows him to freely interact in a city. If it were just about finding a new driving game then that's do-able but its not about driving. He can go to the train station, airport, walk around the city, go bowling, look at traffic, go to a cash machine, choose clothing. He likes the world.

I posted in this forum specifically because part of his condition is that compulsive and obsessive behaviour. I'm looking for advice on how to discourage him from wanting to play the game. It may be that replacing it with something else is an option, but I can't find anything that would replicate the immersive world he's enjoying being part of in GTA.

PolterGoose Thu 18-Feb-16 18:45:02

Can you just clarify how old are your sons and what is the special need?

Flanks Thu 18-Feb-16 19:02:32

Game complexity induces anger rather than game content. Or put another way, there is little to no peer reviewed evidence that computer games induce any form of long term aggressive behaviour.

Even though anecdotally people believe the reverse to be true, a bit of careful thinking makes it obvious that it cant be true. If it were true, then there would be a LOT more violent behaviour than there is. It would also be true that happy games would make everyone lovely, which is also obviously not true!

Games that induce longer term annoyance tend to be games which are complicated to play or non intuitive to achieve success. This means the dopamine hit is harder to findband instead annoyance grows. GTA is quite a straight forward game which allows playability for any number of aims.

It may well be the case that if someone is prone to anger then a lower arousal environmeny is better, in which case (and if this applies to your son) I can understand your concern.

Have you considered games such as SIMS, the lego games or others of that ilk?

If he plays on a tv screen or uses a large monitor you may also wish to adjust the light settings. Bring down the backlight very slightly, and reduce the amount of blue light specifically if you can. This will help with sleep patterns, reduce arousal and perhaps help him maintain moods more easilly.

If the above does have a positive effect, it may be worth exploring tinted lenses (if he would be open to wearing them).

PolterGoose Thu 18-Feb-16 19:04:32

Brilliant post Flanks

zzzzz Thu 18-Feb-16 19:29:40

I like your post too flank

Perhaps what he needs is his own space to play in. At 18 I would imagine he gets some choice in what he does?

Flanks Thu 18-Feb-16 19:33:15

Blimey, I got the double!

Thank you both for the kind words smile

PolterGoose Thu 18-Feb-16 19:44:57

grin

It's not something I know a lot about, but we are a family of gamers and what I have read seems to suggest a lot of the media frenzy around 'violent' games is a myth.

It's also worth knowing that a lot of 18 games have 'content filters' which mean you can set it up to restrict blood, gore, language and other adult content. This can be an effective way to enable kids to 'play what all their friends' are playing but with some restrictions.

ouryve Thu 18-Feb-16 21:38:04

Beg pardon?

Your husband is thinking it's OK for your DS to play a game that's too old for him and which you're not comfortable with him playing, as well as being concerned about your DS's behaviour in response to playing said game. I am not the person you need to be getting cross with.

PolterGoose Thu 18-Feb-16 21:40:30

ouryve I think the son is 18...

ouryve Thu 18-Feb-16 21:47:22

Apologies for reading 18 as 10, though. You did say your eldest son was 16 in your OP and my new varifocals are crap!

It's really not good form to come on a board full of parents of kids with SN and say we have no idea what you're going through, though. We are here because we all have our own parenting challenges. I know boards elsewhere have their own flavour, but this particular one tends to be a schmaltz free zone. We know it's hard because we're all living our own version of it.

ouryve Thu 18-Feb-16 21:48:51

Aye - I had to go back and check, Polter - cross posted there!

LMGTFY Thu 18-Feb-16 21:52:38

ouryve her son is 18, don't know where you've got 10 from, perhaps you should read the op instead of being so judgemental.

NotSuperhuman I'm very sorry to hear of your predicament, I'm not a gamer so can't suggest alternatives, plus I couldn't comment on your specific circumstances, however of he's enjoying the exploration side of things, could you introduce him to Google Street view and he could get immersed in a city that way? We all apparently only ever view our own house on there but New York is pretty cool to 'drive' around.

zzzzz Thu 18-Feb-16 22:04:54

Why do you think it is the game causing him to be more aggressive?

It's really unusual for ANYONE to be snippy on this board and certainly the vast majority of posters have very difficult and challenging lives.

PolterGoose Thu 18-Feb-16 22:08:38

OP Whatever the age, ouryve makes a valid point about making decisions about things like this within families, if you are seeing it as problematic but your husband is over-riding you or ignoring or dismissing your concerns then that is a worry.

I do think a big part of the problem around gaming is that most parents are clueless and don't play the games themselves. Here it's all very collaborative and we all discuss the content. For us it's not a passive entertainment thing, it's a combination of stress relief, escape and a conversation starter, as well as being fun of course smile

Flanks Thu 18-Feb-16 22:31:03

Saying someone needs to do some parenting would be considered out of line by most when OP is making no judgment herself.

Refusing to apologise for blatantly getting it wrong is even more so.

I appreciate that there is an attempt to calm this down right now, but if Ouryve is determined to double down on their opinion after misreading the first post and being corrected on all counts, I suspect that this may be OPs first and only venture to a support board.

This is a great shame.

zzzzz Thu 18-Feb-16 23:31:48

I don't know flanks one of the things I like about this board is that people are direct with each other. So saying this is about OPs dh doing a bit more parenting and less bringing in age inappropriate stuff is I think a valid point. Sometimes the issues are children face ARE best solved by more effort on our part, mostly people are rather relieved to hear that.

It's unusual for someone with a child with any kind of disability to describe them as "my SN child" (and I would find it offensive if someone described my child as such) it is also unusual for someone with a child with any form of disability to use "SN child" as if there is one generic type of child. Add a dh who is not being asked to change his behaviour while the child is and I think most of us are going to be bemused at best.

OP is an adult. If she genuinely wants help and support with this issue then she is going to have to face the fact that it may not all be down to her ds's difficulties, it may of course but when you ask for advice you should be willing to hear what people think or the whole process is rather daft.

Jasonandyawegunorts Thu 18-Feb-16 23:38:44

I love the way your eldest son is 2 years younger than your 18 year old... sad

PhilPhilConnors Thu 18-Feb-16 23:45:10

Jason, I read that as at the time the oldest was 16 he brought the game in, and subsequently her younger son, who is now 18, found it.
May be wrong though.

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