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Computer addiction

(39 Posts)
Eeep Fri 08-Jul-11 09:50:35

I have name changed for this in case I out myself.

My DH has what seems to be a computer addiction. He plays pc games all the time. If he is not at work, he is on the computer. This has been going on for years and years. I have screamed, jumped up and down, cried and begged for him to see the damage it is doing. He acknowledges he has a problem with it normally after 2 or 3 days of us fighting about it but says its his hobby and escape. He assures me that he will try and cut back but that obviously, never happens.

We are a family of 6 and there are 6 pc's in the house. I personally feel he has bought the kids their own pc's to make it ok for him iykwim. The PC's were bought many years ago and are upgraded and replaced as we go.

My question is this. I have tried many, many times to limit the time spent on the computers. I obviously have no control over DH's pc time (as much as I have tried) but the kids all have free reign as well. They have unlimited access to PC, internet, TV, Xbox and as a result they are on all the time. The kids see Dad on the PC and go on "with him". He will not help limit them or even tell them to get off.

I am at my wits end as this is NOT what I want and I feel the damage that is being done to the family and the kids as individuals is horrific. All of them, including ds4 (who is 10) is allowed any game with any age restricution as DH just buys and tells me I am being daft as its just a computer game.

DH has his own company but its from home. I feel like the computers have slowly, taken over my family and total control over everyone and I have no clue how to sort it. DH and I fight constantly about it but even if he (sometimes) acknowledges that its a problem, nothing gets done about it. He says he is a hermity person and its just who he is.

Sorry its so long but please, please tell me if I am BU and if I am not, what can I do about it. I am absolutely exhausted with it all and the way it affects our lives. This is not how I wanted my kids raised or how I wanted to spend my life. Please advice ways of sorting it.

StuckInTheMiddleWithYou Fri 08-Jul-11 09:57:30


Have you explained to him how he is using his children to justify his addiction?

Eeep Fri 08-Jul-11 10:05:41

I have tried but he denies that he is using them. He just doesnt see an issue with them being on even though it affects them in every way. School work is not taken seriously because pc comes first, things like that.

TeamDamon Fri 08-Jul-11 10:12:29

I think it depends how strong you are prepared to be, how far you are prepared to go and what you are prepared to risk (DH) in order to turn your children into healthy, balanced adults who can make computers a moderate part of their lives rather than the whole of it.

Start by reading this article and this article (which is an extract from the mother's book chronicling her experiment). Maybe you need to be this extreme. The problem is, your DH would undoubtedly refuse to go along with this...

woollyideas Fri 08-Jul-11 10:19:08


StuckInTheMiddleWithYou Fri 08-Jul-11 10:21:11

"He says he is a hermity person and its just who he is"

Ask him if that's what he wants his children to be?

PhilipJFry Fri 08-Jul-11 10:37:36

YADNBU. If you want things to change you're going to have to completely overhaul your current set up. Getting rid of most of the PC's for a start, limiting internet time, perhaps installing software that blocks the most time-wasting of a sites. It'll probably be very difficult but the results will be rewarding.

swallowedAfly Fri 08-Jul-11 10:42:14

Message withdrawn

pipkin35 Fri 08-Jul-11 10:47:24

YADNBU. I really sympathise. OH is a 'gamer' too, not every day but a lot. PS3 only goes on once the kids are in bed.
Our 2 DCs are toddlers, but my 3 yr old plays PS3 daily now for 15 mins with 'daddy' when he gets in from work. I was REALLY unhappy with this and posted on here but many advised me that DS was not just my child so I gave in. My only 'rule' was age appropriate games and for a limited amount of time.
Recently, we got a Wii, and I am happier with 3 yr old playing this since it is 'active' (sort of). I know where you're coming form though.

Teamdamon hit nail on the head with comments.

Could you play together, some of you as a family instead?

Could you get DH to 'agree' to gaming only AFTER HW/meals/etc....Or at least demand 1 computer free day a week. Let him play when he wants but AFTER kids are in bed?

Don't know ages of your kids, so might be really hard.

But also, 6 PC's does sound like loads? If you've got 4 kids - could 2 share a PC each? Would that work?

Eeep Fri 08-Jul-11 11:07:04

Thank you so much for those links Teamdamon. At least Im not alone (although I suspect we may be worst case).

Stuckinthemiddle I have tried asking that but he says there is nothing wrong with being hermity!

pipkin that is the problem. We started out exactly like you but the lines blurred and if DH was playing an 18+ game he would just say he is supervising so no worries and so on until we are now sitting in this situation.

I have 4 kids and the 6 pcs but that doesnt count the laptops (another 3 of those!!) and phones and xbox/kinect and wii and and and and sad Never mind the cell phones and things!

I am going to have to sit and come up with a whole new plan and get ready for the fight of my life. I just cannot think of something that I havent tried already.

PhilipJFry Fri 08-Jul-11 11:11:26

I would definitely get rid of the laptops for the children. They can be taken anywhere and used at any time, snuck into bedrooms and so on. It's much harder to control how much they're used. With several computers you can limit them to being in shared areas of the house, like the living room.

I'm not sure if you know this but there are lots of apps you can install for whatever web browser you use (google chrome, firefox, internet explorer) that limit how long you can be online per day. Once the counter hits zero, access is cut off. That might be useful.

Hufflepuzzpig Fri 08-Jul-11 11:31:10

Blimey that does sound horrible. Don't out yourself if you don't want to, but I really don't see why you namechanged - you haven't done anything wrong, you are doing your best and it's not your fault your DH is like this.

I'm afraid I agree with swallowedafly, I don't think I could put up with something that extreme. He needs to kick this habit and put his DCs first, or he's a really bad parent IMO. Do you think it's a genuine addiction, or just an excuse for laziness and not being involved with the family?

What kind of games is it? Stuff like World of Warcraft can be incredibly addictive. Although all games can be - I let my DD (4) play on some child-friendly iPhone games, but I've noticed how sucked in she gets and it's actually quite scary, so I'll heavily limit it now.

Eeep Fri 08-Jul-11 11:46:48

Its World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, Starcraft, Mindcraft, facebook, etc. The whole family have WoW accounts and play daily but DH is the worst.

I honestly dont know if its a genuine addiction or just an excuse. In my mind, I cannot imagine why someone would CHOOSE a game over their family but I have read up on comptuer addiction so it may well be something he struggles with.

I also think that its just so easy to not have to even engage in people and life when you are engrossed in a game. This hurts as much as it makes me angry!

NotJustKangaskhan Fri 08-Jul-11 16:23:42

It could be addiction, it's certainly at least a habit he needs to get out of. Are his moods affected by the amount of computer/gaming time he has? It may be hard him to see but if they are, these need to be pointed out to him.

Confession time now, but I have been him. I had a very bad computer habit (and still occasionally slip at times). My childhood was...not a good time and I was pushed onto gaming and computers young by my parents to keep my out of the way (We had computers quite early comparatively as my father designed computer systems for car companies). By my teen years, it just became a way of life. My primary interactions were through the computer and by the time I reached adulthood it became very difficult to change the pattern (this is why it's important for you to change things at least for your kids). What was a coping mechanism as a child/teen to handle a world I had no say in became a very unhealthy lifestyle as an adult that made me grumpy and unresponsive to those around me.

I control on the computer, something I once needed as a kid, but as adult it just made things worse. I had this constant compulsion almost - I just need to find one more bit of information, read one more story, talk to one more person and then I'll be done. But there is always one more thing to do online, so it can become never ending. I noticed I was happier on days I spent little time on the computer, when I was engaged in something else, but unless I had something active to engage me, I originally just fell back into old habits very easily. It's a standard. The standard has to be changed with something else. It's hard as the world seems to run on tech, especially as he works on the computer so you can't really cut him off, but I would really recommend at least a short non-tech holiday. It can be really eye opening. Even if he slips back from there, you can remind him of better things that he can't seem to think of right now.

And the hermitty stuff is an excuse. Even people at the extreme of introversion gain a lot from social interaction, especially within the family (and most self professed hermits/introverts will test at 58% introvert so can deal and gain a lot even if they find it mildly draining). Those on the highest end like myself (tested repeatedly at 95%+) are practically always that way due to abuse and trauma or medical condition, and gain a lot from controlled interaction within the family to build up to better, healthier levels. And if he's gaming online with others than it is a really a bad excuse and a bad habit -- he's being social not a hermit and he needs to learn to get that social need from somewhere else, as do the kids before it becomes really ingrained in them.

Eeep Fri 08-Jul-11 18:18:22

Thank you so much for that NotJustKang. He did have a really bad childhood but he is early 40's already sad

I am so worried that it might be to late for the kids as they seem to not be able to function without going online. I can honestly say I dont even remember what "normal" people do. What do they do instead of everyone hiding behind a screen? I just wouldnt even know anymore.

I think I am going to have to tackle the kids first on this and then try and pull DH in.

DH is fine with work people but really kicks up quite a stink when he hears I have invited someone round. He always has a raid, clan match, dungeon or something else to do. If I do invite people round, he literally just sits and doesnt say a word and going out.......well that just doesnt happen.

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Fri 08-Jul-11 18:23:20

Turn the broadband off at the machine. I mean it. It's easy. Say "from now on there is to be no pc's from 4 o clock till 8 o clock then at 8 o clock let them go on the pc or watch tv or whatever they like to do for an hour and turn the broadband back off again.

You have to be determined to follow it through though. What you could do inititially is to ask them to voluntarily not go on the pc till 8 o clock. Then if they don't comply, turn off the broadband.

catgirl1976 Fri 08-Jul-11 18:28:22

YANBU and you are scaring me. My DH has a strong computer addiction and always has. You could be describing him. He lost his job in September and it has got worse and worse. He is now playing from whenever he gets up (about 11am) to around 5am stopping only to wee, pick me up form work and eat dinner. Not sure what to do and was hoping the arrival of our first DC in a few months might make the difference but given what you have written doesnt sound like it.

If you find anything that works let me know.

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Fri 08-Jul-11 18:29:59

turning the broadband machine off worked for me. I also used to take it with me if I went out grin - that went down a treat grin

catgirl1976 Fri 08-Jul-11 18:31:10

He would be furious. And probably just play non-online games

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Fri 08-Jul-11 18:32:03

my ex dh actually accused me of being a domestic abuser the first time I went out and took the broadband machine with me! And got my then 14 year old dd to ring me and sob down the phone that she couldn't get on facebook - I still chuckle every time I think about it.

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Fri 08-Jul-11 18:32:46

Of course he'll be furious - he's hardly gonna like it is he?

catgirl1976 Fri 08-Jul-11 18:34:16

Well no........but christ it was would cause some furious rows. Then there would be "well I can't look for a job without the internet". Then the non-online games. And I can see him using "domestic abuser" as well thb smile

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Fri 08-Jul-11 18:34:53

My ex dh tried to get round the problem by buying a dongle but a) they're crap and b) i used to chuck em in the bin every time I discovered them.

Put your foot down now and regain some control over the way you want to live family life.

ramade Fri 08-Jul-11 18:35:21

Call a family meeting, have everyone air their fears and frustrations etc, then draw up a 6 month plan gradually getting to a point where there is only 1 computer ( I know! radical!).

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Fri 08-Jul-11 18:37:08

Tell him he can use the internet to look for a job within a specified time frame decided by you and that after that, the internet will be stopped.

And he'll get bored of the online games quite quickly anyway.

As for the rows, just don't engage, state your case quitely and calmly and stick to it.

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