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To take DS phone away

(26 Posts)
Piratesue Sat 23-May-20 10:21:10

Having a nightmare with me DS, he's 11 and I understand this is a nightmare time for him. Just before lock down he was due to have some play therepy to help him deal with his temper tantrums at home (no behavioural issues at school). But over the past fews days he has been getting progressively worse. We are trying to home school as best I can, and making sure he has downtime as well, but limiting his xbox time to afternoons only once work is done.

Apart from this he also has his phone first thing in the morning and at break times, he mainly watches YouTube fortnite stuff. However I have noticed his attitude towards us and his tantrums getting worse, so took xbox and phone away, I am sure it is too much YouTube stuff that is setting him off.

Yesterday I had a big chat about too much you tube, want to limit him happy for him too watch TV etc.. his reaction when he can't have it is awful. Full on raging, throwing stuff, screaming and trying to hit his little brother. I have to physically restrain him. It can go on for ages.

This morning he has got up and watched 2 hours of you tube, despite me asking him not too, when we took the controls away he had another meltdown. On the other hand though, I feel terrible that he can't communicate with his friends and when he is sobbing his heart out he sounds like his heart is breaking and he is begging for his phone. I am going to try and disable Youtube but then I feel that he should also be punished for the way his is acting, he is so angry and I am so worried.

Aibu to keep the phone off him, he spent most of yesterday in his room on his own, I felt so sorry for him. He seems to have low self esteem and I am just so conflicted.

ProseccoBubbleFantasies Sat 23-May-20 10:33:33

I think lockdown is tough, and taking away someone's means of communication is harsh. Sorry.

But, yes. Disable YouTube

Piratesue Sat 23-May-20 19:37:45

Bump, anyone?

Perch Sat 23-May-20 19:42:29

I have stopped fortnite completely for my 10 year old after he properly attacked his brother and had a marked improvement in behaviour since, he winged about is for a few days but has re-discovered minecraft and no man sky. I am not a pearl clutcher either. I really really think fortnite is not good for them sad

YgritteSnow Sat 23-May-20 20:26:15

My nephew turned into an absolute monster over Fortnite. My children have never been allowed it and they're past the age where they'd really want it now thankfully.

Waveysnail Sat 23-May-20 20:30:45

I dont think under 11 should be playing fortnite. Iv just let our 11 year old (12 at start of sept) on it and that's only because of lockdown and.he is playing with friends
Me and dh played it. Its way too violent. Shooting people in head for maximum kills, weapons with most kill effect. Our 9 and 7 year old are not allowed in his room when he is playing it.

Piratesue Sat 23-May-20 22:46:15

I have let him on fortnite tonight and hes been ok, however I have taken YouTube ofd everything so I think it might be a bit of both.

Problem is, all his friends are on fortnite and that's how they communicate so I feel terrible if I take that away, as he genuinely it's the end of the world.

BumpBundle Sat 23-May-20 23:13:24

I'd limit his phone to being only for communicating with other human beings that he actually knows. Outside of lockdown I'd say to take it away but I think that it's his only form of social interaction with his peers and it's very important for his wellbeing.

OnlyLittleMissOrganised Sat 23-May-20 23:21:41

Put a parental block on you tube so you can say what he can watch. Then either

uninstall it and password protect the app store so if he wants to download anything he has to ask for you to approve it.


Put a password on his phone and only provide it to him based on good behaviour. And make sure you stick to the limit of how long you give him

Goldenbear Sat 23-May-20 23:30:42

I don't think it's fair either- sorry.

My son plays Fortnite with his cousin who lives a long way away. They are both 13 though so i know that the don't do this and don't do that is a strategy that ceases to work. I downloaded the 'how to talk to teenagers....' book on to my kindle and I'm finding it to be effective. Personally, I think Fortnite does not really change my child as he has other interests. It depends if the rest of his life is balanced.

TrickorTreacle Sat 23-May-20 23:45:06

In my days, computers were still around, and if I was naughty, then you'd hear from the parents: "you're grounded!".

Frozenfan2019 Sun 24-May-20 00:52:41

I would worry that he sounds like he might be addicted. Crying and screaming like that because he is being denied it is extreme. I think I would remove screens of all kind for a period of a few days and then return them with certain things blocked and clear guidelines on what's expected and how much time he is allowed a day. He can communicate with his friends after that and is 11 not 16 so he should be spending a decent chunk of his time with you and his siblings. I would insist on some family time and outdoor time every day and I would also insist on gaming free days (a bit like people who drink alcohol are advised to have at least 2 alcohol free days) as I imagine this will help if he is addicted.

I would remove the idea that he can have screens whenever he finishes his work as I don't find this is effective, he will just do the bare minimum as quickly as he can. That's just my opinion but it's worked for me to only allow them on iPads/ gaming consoles after 3pm and only for a fixed amount of time. (In our case 5hrs a week) mine are not old enough for phones yet and I can clearly see this adds another dimension! I'm.another one who thinks Fortnite is evil there's a lot of evidence that playing these violent games does makes kids more aggressive. Worth reading up on it.

Goldenbear Sun 24-May-20 02:12:26

Research shows that Fortnite is not a game for young children- I don't notice these emotional outbursts with my teenager son and actually there is an element of kinship and laughter he gets from playing it with his cousin. I could see that it is not a great game for young children.

DeeCeeCherry Sun 24-May-20 02:14:53

Agree with Frozenfan advice. He is addicted which I think you already know, OP.

& It's good that you're concerned, so many parents are in denial and won't even acknowledge addiction as a reason for meltdowns. At a function a few months back some DCs were jittery due to not enough sockets available for their DCs to charge up some machine or other, you could see their parents were stressed out by it.

A friend's 7 year old DC screams kicks walls hits his sister when he can't have his IPad - last time it was taken away was due to him being caught sneaking out of bed to get IPad at night then spending hours on it.

You've had some good suggestions on here, hope all resolves soon.

Malysh Sun 24-May-20 02:35:43


My kids are younger so I have no advice re:fortnite, but I have a zero screen policy at home.

I relaxed that policy a couple of weeks ago to let my son watch nursery songs on the tv screen (plugged on my laptop). Within days I noticed a change in behaviour that frankly scared me. It came to a head when friends came over (helping me out as I was heavily pregnant) and he didn't even acknowledge them, even though he's usually so excited to see them. Kept staring at the screen and threw a terrible tantrum when I switched it off.

I went back to zero screens. I know this may not be realistic with older kids/several kids but in short, I don't think it's unreasonable to take his phone and seriously limit screen time. He has siblings so he does get interaction.

If you don't want to cut him off from his friends can you give the xbox back for 2h per day (or however much time you're comfortable with), at set times ? For instance he can play 6-8pm, but only if his behaviour has been decent ? Tantrums/refusal to stop means no xbox following day ?

Goldenbear Sun 24-May-20 03:04:33

Well at 7 my son wasn't even playing any games on a screen, his favourite thing to do was perform songs from the Julia Donaldson song book with his little sister and play with his Lego!

It is significant that this game has a teenage rating as adolescents are capable of moral reasoning and abstract thoughts that mean they are not desensitised to killing and that they can appreciate that it is a game and has non basis in reality. I honestly just hear laughter when my son and his friends are playing together online. He doesn't have huge tantrums about going outside, he enjoys reading film reviews, reading and cricket.

I think this is typical of his peers as they are of similar thinking to me and would never allow their 7 year olds anywhere near Fortnite.

Goldenbear Sun 24-May-20 03:13:04

Teenagers need a certain amount of independence and you need to encourage them to find their own moral compass and develop self discipline, you can't continue to micro manage teenagers. I think it's very important to start to think about that at the preteen level and how you are going to adapt to those changes

Piratesue Sun 24-May-20 08:43:32

Thanks for your ideas. In a normal world, he has a very balanced life in fact he is only really allowed on the xbox during the weekends however he was still having these meltdowns and rages during the week, and he is on you tube.

I deactivated youtube as best I could yesterday and he watched netflix with his brother let him have his phone for games and whatsapp only and he was better.

It's hard to ban screens completely at the moment, but I have going to see how no youtube works for a while.

It's the tantrums though, they are exhausting the whole house, he gets so angry and it takes him so long to calm down. Any ideas?

Perch Sun 24-May-20 12:08:40

I totally get the fortnite with friends thing, but I talked to some of the mums I was friendly with and gave them a heads up of the change, they were actually sympathetic and very understanding. I think this problem is more common than you think. They soon played something else (minecraft!!) together.

Re the tantrums, this may sound awful but my boys are like my dog 😬 They need daily exercise! Does he get out of the house for a good run around every day? We have a swingball that they use a lot, easy to just dip in and out, a football net and a basketball hoop. They also LOVE pokemon go which get them out but is also a game in a way. Installed it on their phones. Can also recommend geocaching, we’ve done it a bit but that would be the next thing to get them into when they’re bored of pokemon go.

Good luck!

MerlinMoo Sun 24-May-20 22:21:30

If you don't want him on the phone, take the phone away it is not rocket science. I took my 13 year olds phone away and ended up having it for over a week as I'd forgot I had taken it. He hadn't done what you said your sons done though. If he had he would never get the phone returned.

FarquarKumquatsmama Sun 24-May-20 22:30:56


I feel you!

I also have an 11 year old and we have had similar issues around fortnite and behaviour.

At the moment, the games console has been removed since a massive rage last week.
I let my son keep his phone however.

A fortnite free house has been a relief for all of us and my son’s behaviour has improved and we’ve had no tantrums at all.

I’m loathed to let him have fortnite back but I think I’m going to have to give him one last chance. One more outburst and it will go for good.

We have had a games console for a while and never had a problem at all until a friend of the kids downloaded fortnite for them just before the lockdown.

Minecraft, Spider-Man, the crew etc are not an issue for an 11 year old imho.

Good luck! Let us know how you proceed.

MerlinMoo Sun 24-May-20 22:31:53

**Full on raging, throwing stuff, screaming and trying to hit his little brother. I have to physically restrain him.

Why do you allow him back on when he acts like this. Then get confused when you tell him to come off and he acts like this again? If he can't be respectful the device is gone, end of story. MN makes me feel so strict when I'm really not.

FarquarKumquatsmama Sun 24-May-20 22:38:11

And regarding the tantrums: I have reached the point now that I will give the kids one or 2 chances to sort out the reason for the tantrum, eg encourage them to share, find a way of meeting half way etc.

If that doesn’t work, I will remove what is triggering the tantrum. I have so far removed the games console, a nerf gun and some sweets.

By the third thing, the kids realized I was serious and started trying harder to control their moods.

I am not sure whether I am being a bit crazy - we are locked down in a tiny flat/single parent/issues with school work/ working full time etc - but it has saved my sanity.

Of course we talk things through a lot and i explained that I was taking extreme measures to stop unnecessary confrontation as nothing else was working...

RainbowFlowers Sun 24-May-20 22:39:56

I think its helpful to understand whether he is having a tantrum or a meltdown.

I hope this helps, its by Bill Nason. Its from a book about autism, I am not at all saying your son is autistic but this part seems relevant to what you're asking.

My son is not autistic (as far as I can tell) but this really helped me understand how I should deal with him.

Differences between Tantrums and Meltdowns

It is very important for parents and teachers to understand the differences between tantrums and meltdowns. Although they can consist of similar behavior (yelling, screaming, crying, dropping to the floor, flailing, hitting or biting self, etc.), it is important to distinguish between the two. Why? Because it has major implications for how we interpret the behavior and how we intervene to help the child.


With tantrums, the child usually has:

1. Some control over the behavior.
2. Chooses to engage in the behavior.
3. Usually occurs specific to wanting something or escaping something he doesn’t want.
4. Can end quickly once he gets what he wants.
5. Child can focus on others around him; often looking at them, yelling at them, and drawing their attention to him.
6. Looks for reactions from others when being disruptive.
7. May have the ability to talk and negotiate, although yelling and demanding.
8. If aggression is displayed, he will often seek out others to hit or kick or get up and seek out property to disrupt.

Usually, the behavior is a means to an end (wants something or to avoid something), and the child acts out to get a specific reaction from others. Although tantrums can lead to being overwhelmed, they usually start under the control of the child. Tantrums often occur in nonverbal children when they lack other ways of communicating and getting needs met. The child will often calm down once he gets want he wants or feels that he needs.


Meltdowns usually occur when the child’s brain is overwhelmed with stress chemicals and has reached the panic, flight, or fight stress reaction. The stress builds up to the point that the brain overwhelms and loses the ability to cope. With meltdowns the child usually:

1. Appears to be in panic mode.
2. Does not appear to have control over their behavior.
3. Often cannot talk or problem solve; loses ability to negotiate or reason.
4. Often cannot follow directions or argue; too overwhelmed to engage.
5. Feels “unsafe” and appear to be reacting out of deep fear.
6. May be difficult to identify the cause of emotion, or obvious “want or demand.”
7. Often occurs from sensory overload, too much cognitive stress, or ongoing social demands that tax and drain the brain.
8. Usually is trying to flee or escape the situation around him, rather than seeking out attention. Child is seeking to escape what is overwhelming him, not seeking to gain something.
9. Usually do not hit, kick, or bite others unless others approach and attempt to calm or redirect. Aggression often subsides when you back away, give them space, remove demands, and withdrawal all interactions.
10. Can take a while to calm down (rather than calming immediately when they get what they want); need time to escape and rebound.
11. Often expresses remorse for actions afterward.

The child in a meltdown is reacting out of fright and fear. The “fight or flight” panic reaction is set off, and the child is (1) trying to escape the source of stress, and (2) seeking proprioception (hitting, kicking, biting self, head banging, etc.) to release stress chemicals. He often does not want to interact with others, is not seeking their attention, and often wants to withdraw and isolate. However, if the child does not feel like he is safe he may act out on property or others to get people to back off or to release stress chemicals.


How we interpret the behavior (tantrum or meltdown) may affect the way we intervene. If the behavior appears to be a tantrum, we would want to:

1. Identify what function(s) the behavior serves (getting something he wants or trying to escape something he doesn’t want). What is he trying to gain from the tantrum?

2. Try to focus on teaching the child more appropriate ways of getting his needs met (requesting, saying “stop,” break cards, etc.). Provide an appropriate way of communicating the same thing that the tantrum does. Practice and role-play to teach the desired response.

3. During early stages of getting upset, intervene quickly and coach the child to use his replacement behavior (desired response that was practiced).

4. Avoid “giving in” to the tantrum (to gain something or avoid something); prompting the desired response instead. If the child is throwing a tantrum to end a task he doesn’t like, then “If you want us to stop then say ‘stop’”. As soon as desired response is given immediately back off. You want to make sure that the tantrum behavior does not work, and the desired response works immediately.

5. Minimize both verbal and emotional reactions to the negative behavior (stay matter of fact, no scolding, bribing, counseling, minimal emotion), directing all attention to what you want him to do.

6. Reinforce the child for using the desired replacement behavior.

7. If the child refuses to respond, pull all attention away and walk away if possible (if not destructive or injurious). Ignore behavior but supervise to ensure safety. Once child calms down redirect back to the task or to use the replacement behavior.

8. If needed (only if the above fail), implement mild consequence (time out, loss of privilege, etc.) for not responding.

These are just basic starter procedures. If the above does not work, seek out professional advice. For more destructive aggression or property destruction, seek professional assistance to complete a detailed “functional behavior assessment” for designing safe and effective treatment strategies. Only implement the above for less aggressive tantrums (screaming, flailing, falling to the floor, etc.) where safety can be assured.


1. When the child is melting down, typical behavioral techniques are not effective. The child is too overwhelmed to think, respond to directions, or reason with. He will not understand or respond to directions or consequences at this time. Punishing and threatening will only make things worse.

2. Reducing meltdowns is most effective by designing preventative strategies for avoiding meltdowns in the first place. Identify the sensory, cognitive, and social challenges that overwhelm the child and build in proactive strategies for reducing the stressors. This usually consists of modifying the environmental demands to match the child’s abilities, providing accommodations to lessen the stress, and teaching coping skills for dealing with stressful situations.

3. Redirection and intervention work best if we intervene very early in the behavior chain (first signs of getting overwhelmed), assist and support the child as possible and practice coping skills.

4. Once in the heat of the moment, pull the child away from the situation, remove all demands, reduce all stimulation, and minimize questions or demands. We need to lessen the demands on the brain; let it regroup and reorganize.

5. The focus is on helping the child feel safe. Remove stimulation and demands, reassure the child that he is safe, and allow the child to space to calm down.

6. Some children will let you help soothe them, but often they want no interaction. Respect their comfort zones.

7. Program strategies usually consist of (1) lessening the stressors with modifications and accommodations, (2) teaching coping skills to deal with the stress and cope when first getting overwhelmed (say stop, present break card, leave setting, etc.) and (3) teaching a safe routine once overwhelmed (withdraw, pull away, immediately exit, rock and calm, etc.). Practice this routine until it becomes predictable and familiar. Then in the heat of the moment the child will feel safe implementing it.

Piratesue Mon 25-May-20 05:31:35

@RainbowFlowers that's really helpful, thanks. I think it's more meltdowns that he has from reading that.
I know that I could just take everything away from him, however this is where I am conflicted and it is his means of communication with his friends at the moment.
I just wish he could have had a bit of time with the therapist before leaving school as I am not sure what will be available to him in high school if this carries on.

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