AIBU to go to the police about this? (Teen gaming addiction)

(28 Posts)
Realitea Mon 16-May-16 12:55:02

DS is 15 and is definitely addicted to his computer. Nothing else matters to him, not his family, any activities, nothing.
He has limits but I've now just taken the computer out of his room after receiving a call from the school to say he's not doing his coursework and he got F's in his mocks (although an A in I.T not surprisingly!)
I'm very concerned that he seems to think he can make a life out of gaming and the people he was speaking to online (who appear to be in their 20's) were encouraging this saying that he'll get to travel the world, make thousands and here's the really worrying bit - they'll live together in a house. He showed me the picture of the house and whenever he's not allowed on the computer he gets very depressed and says he's going to leave and live in this house.
One of the gamers he speaks to a lot has said he has a trust fund and he's going to give DS money and apparently he wants to talk to me and DH to make us realise it's genuine. How bloody delusional is he!
DH thinks it sounds like grooming. Do I talk to the doctor or the police?? Who do I talk to?

Alfieisnoisy Mon 16-May-16 12:59:43

You are right, this sounds very odd and I would be concerned too. I would be speaking to the police for advice.

Timeforabiscuit Mon 16-May-16 12:59:43

Is there anyone at the school you can contact? It does sound like grooming, but it sounds like your son has bigger issues around fixation on the screen.

Does he have other issues with self esteem, anxiety, stress, depression? - those will all need separate with the GP, does he have friends outside of technology?

Princesspeach1980 Mon 16-May-16 12:59:56

I would be worried too, sit your DS down and get him to watch Murder Games on iplayer, it's a documentary about a young boy who was groomed through online gaming and was murdered. It is a very extreme example but it might show him that people online are rarely who they say they are.

I'm not sure how much police could do, but you
Could ring 101 to log your concerns. Do you know names, age and home town of the older boys? Might be enough for police to do some basic checks whether they have form for anything concerning. Can school offer any help at all?

Realitea Mon 16-May-16 13:09:25

I wonder if it is an escape from an underlying problem or it's just behaviour that's built up over time as I stupidly used to let him play on it way too much when he was younger. It could be both. I think he needs counselling.
I will be logging my concerns to the police. I don't know what they can do as I have no other info on this other person but maybe they could talk to him. Sadly he seems so brainwashed I don't think he will listen.
The school are in contact with me regularly but their main focus is getting him to concentrate on his school work rather than any outside influences.

JCDenton Mon 16-May-16 13:42:12

It sounds like he's been seduced by the promises of this group more than anything else. What exactly are they promising? That he can play professionally? That he could develop games? Neither are impossible goals but I don't think this it usually how people get recruited to put it mildly.

Who do they say they represent, if anyone?

whois Mon 16-May-16 13:55:56

Well actually there are lots of pro game teams and they do usually live in a team house and train together and travel the world etc for competitions.

But not sure how genuine this sounds.

Realitea Mon 16-May-16 13:58:11

As far as I know, they're just older gamers. This particular game is involved in tournaments that take place in big arenas. i don't think this person DS is talking to is anything big in the gaming world though. I know money can be made playing these games in tournaments but is this really something I want him to aspire to? He's not concentrating on any school work, thinking that he doesn't need it because he's going to be a professional game player. I just imagine him hunched in his chair glassy eyed for the rest of his life and it's such a waste.

Majorlyscared1993 Mon 16-May-16 14:01:50

No to scare you but there was a to programme on bbc recently about a boy who was lured into the world of gaming with promises of riches and fame by a man a bit older than him. It's a very sad story and if it was happening in the real world you wouldn't stand for it- go to the police for advice and maybe the school would have somebody that could help you with it all.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Mon 16-May-16 14:05:49

Can you encourage him? Say that it's great that he's found a passion and that he might be able to make a living at it. Encourage him to research gaming as a career, and maybe do some research for him. Also look at other areas like game development.

And then point out that options are a very useful thing to have (in a game you'll pick up things for your inventory just in case) and that if he does his exams he has more options.

Maybe also look into computer game degrees together (I suspect they may want some exam results...)

JCDenton Mon 16-May-16 14:08:39

Is it DOTA?

I would definitely try to find out who they allegedly are, at the moment it does sound very dodgy.

There's nothing really wrong with wanting to be a pro gamer anyore than there is a footballer or rock star; the important thing is to not abandon all else as only a small proportion end up playing for a professional team or selling out stadiums, and he's doing exactly the wrong thing by abandoning school work.

FlyingElbows Mon 16-May-16 14:11:01

I think you're right to be concerned. I the meantime... you are the parent. You can flick a switch and his computer can no longer access the outside world. You can stop providing the mobile phone that connects to the Internet. You can turn the electricity off altogether. You can read the riot act and tell the stroppy little git where he gets off. You are not a passive observer in your child's life. Ofcourse he thinks he's going to live in a house with no mums ruining everyone's fun, because he's a child. My friend's daughter went through exactly this phase and my friend was a total enabler. You sound a lot more pro-active though. Speak to the school, speak to the police and definitely track down that story about the boy who was sucked in to exactly the same thing. His mother was very vocal about that situation and she may have set up an advice service or support for parents facing this exact issue.

FlyingElbows Mon 16-May-16 14:12:25

BTW, I'm not suggesting you just cut him off cold turkey but that you have the tools for give and take.

Realitea Mon 16-May-16 14:23:07

Thank you, that's fantastic. I was hoping there would be more parents who've been through the same thing.
I hope I can find her!
I've emailed the police. I felt pretty bad about it, like I'm going behind DS's back but I will explain to him that I'm concerned as I said to him yesterday.
His computer is now out of his room. So is his phone and tablet.
I am in contact with the school but they're not that great apart from his school work. It's good that they know what's going on though so they have the full picture.
I do feel better now as if I've done something rather than constantly battling with DS

Realitea Mon 16-May-16 14:24:23

I'm expecting major meltdowns when he gets home from school and realises hes been cut off cold turkey!I wasn't going to but after a call from the school today I felt I just had to.

DrE678 Mon 16-May-16 14:29:51

I know it's an extreme example but that really sounds like the Breck Bednar case. It sounds very dodgy, it could be grooming.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Mon 16-May-16 14:31:26

I'm expecting major meltdowns when he gets home from school and realises hes been cut off cold turkey!I wasn't going to but after a call from the school today I felt I just had to.

I was going to come on and say that cutting him off is the only thing that will work. He has an addiction. The police or the school talking to him will make no difference because he doesn't want to believe them. He's developed an addiction to online gaming and a habit that he does it all the time and it's the only thing that means anything to him. You have to go cold turkey to stop that.

I would prepare for him to go through all the moods you'd expect if he was addicted to drugs or alcohol. He'll kick off, he'll sulk, he'll cry, he'll probably beg. It will be hard, for you and for him, but the only way to break the habit is to stop it.

When you reintroduce it, do it in a controlled way. Limit the time so he doesn't get hooked back in and build back up to this.

Unfortunately teenage lads getting involved in this type of thing isn't uncommon, especially because using a computer a lot whilst younger seems to make it a "safe space" - it's no effort and it's fun. Gangs of kids boosting each other up to become professional gamers, whether well intended or to get kicks, is also pretty common. Thankfully groomers are less common but he'd still be very vulnerable to one if he encountered one now.

Good luck.

Majorlyscared1993 Mon 16-May-16 15:44:32

Dr that's the boy I was thinking of, very sad case. Good for you op being proactive rather than just leaving him to it

judgelionelnutmeg Mon 16-May-16 16:00:06

Good luck OP - please let us know how you get on.

The Breck Bednar case was absolutely horrific but hopefully this means that the police will take something like this far more seriously than they would have done in the past.

IThinkIMadeYouUpInsideMyHead Mon 16-May-16 16:19:25

There are clips from the bbc documentary about Breck Bednar here. Lots of similarities with your story sad

IThinkIMadeYouUpInsideMyHead Mon 16-May-16 16:23:21

And if you google "Murder Games" on Dailymotion or similar, you might find the full movie ;-)

mnaab Mon 16-May-16 17:13:26

Yes it sounds like grooming (as others have mentioned, look up Murder Games about the boy called Breck). There is an organisation you can contact who will investigate EVERY report they get concerning a child. I can't remember what they are called (sorry really unhelpful) but I'm sure I heard about them because they were mentioned on the Murder Games programme so may be worth a watch.

heartknot Mon 16-May-16 17:28:11

Brecks mum has set up the Breck foundation. She gives amazing talks locally and I'm certain you could get help and support from the foundation. I don't have the link as I'm on my mobile, but I'm sure you can Google it.

SeaEagleFeather Mon 16-May-16 17:33:30

There's a series of gaming addictions clinics in the NLs and I faintly remember that their summary of gaming is that it's not physically addictive in the way that drugs & alcohol are, but that the addiction is to social behaviours.

Is it worth trying to contact one of them to find out more?

there's also some info here www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/features/video-game-addiction-no-fun

www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2016/04/10-of-young-male-teens-are-addicted-to-gaming/

Best of luck. You're doing the right thing; I have a younger friend who gamed a lot in his late teens and well over ten years later, it's still all he does. No job, no wider interests. He's a lovely chap and his parents and friends are very worried for him.

Realitea Mon 16-May-16 19:20:35

Thank you all so much. The police are coming over for a chat this week and they said it's being taken very seriously and assured me I'm doing the right thing by telling them. I read up about the case of breck and it was so upsetting I don't think I'd be able to watch the film! sad

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