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To stop my kid from playing computer games?

(35 Posts)
Glass45 Sun 14-Jun-20 09:26:12

My DS (7) has two best friends who have their own tablet and play games on it. I know that’s super normal and it’s weird that my DS doesn’t have one.

Anyway it got to a point where I heard him pretending to another friend he also had a tablet and plays mine craft. Then he spent the day with a third child who went on about it all day (mine craft) and I felt like I was holding DS back so I paid for it and downloaded it on my phone (after much convincing from DH also) and let him play for a bit. I did so very reluctantly (that was Thursday.)

Anyway since then, all he’s done is beg me to play it. All day. He wakes up and starts the begging.

I didn’t want to give him access to games as I think they’re bad for kids and addictive so I’m really annoyed with myself for letting him in the first place.

I sort of want to stop him from playing the game... is it too late? I don’t want to hold him back or be unfair. Some of my friends think I’m being unreasonable if I don’t let him. And so does DH.

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Glass45 Sun 14-Jun-20 09:27:29

(These are school friends, btw, he’s in the key worker group. A lot of these kids are his age or older. Some of this I heard, some of it he told me!)

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heartsonacake Sun 14-Jun-20 09:31:39

YABU. Of course he’s going to whine because he wants to play all the time; he enjoys it.

But that’s where you come in to parent him. Parenting isn’t easy, so you shouldn’t try for an easy life and just take it away from him altogether.

You ness to teach him to enjoy things in moderation, and that if he behaves inappropriately (repeated whining for said game for example) he doesn’t get to play it. If you actually stick to firm rules he will listen and learn.

You shouldn’t stop him playing video games - they’re exceptionally good for learning and picking up skills like problem solving, spatial awareness, hand/eye coordination, vision and speed skills etc.

Video gaming isn’t the evil here; a lack of parenting is.

vanillandhoney Sun 14-Jun-20 09:34:24

YABU.

Moderation is key. You don't have to let him play 24/7, but allowing him some access is only fair. He must be missing out on a lot - especially at the moment with lockdown.

I think it's only fair that he's allowed to play with his friends.

MistyMinge2 Sun 14-Jun-20 09:36:15

We bought our two DC a tablet each just before lockdown. I needed to be able to work from home and thought it would be good to keep them occupied. We also downloaded and paid for an educational app. The deal was that they had to complete 2 tasks before they were allowed any game time. Well fast forward to now and I'm kind of wishing we never got them. They're utterly addicted and it's all they talk about and think about. We obviously limit their time, but when they're not on them I get a lot of begging and it drives me nuts. It's literally the first thing they think about when they wake up. It makes me sad.

Neighneigh Sun 14-Jun-20 09:38:21

Speaking from experience, set clear boundaries - eg 'you must be up, have had breakfast, be dressed and you can play for half an hour/an hour. Then we'll go out'.

At the moment computer games are the only way my son can speak to his friends. Minecraft is one of those and they've been building all sorts together - it's a very collaborative game when you connect it to friends (which you don't have to, we didn't until lock down) and really not the end of the world. It's a bit crap playing on a phone though.

Blackbear19 Sun 14-Jun-20 09:38:24

Being a keyworker child he has a slight advantage that he is able to see other children but for many kids at the moment online is their only real social life.

Jengnr Sun 14-Jun-20 09:39:15

Give him times he’s allowed to play it. Tell him any mithering outside those times will lead to you reducing it that day. Then you all know where you stand and if you stick to it and show him mithering gets him the opposite of what he’s after he’ll soon stop. Ditto stropping about it when it’s time to come off.

And if you occasionally reward him with an extra half an hour when he does something you want him to you can make it work for you too. smile

Jengnr Sun 14-Jun-20 09:40:20

Mind you all that I just said has totally gone to pot during lockdown and my kids are glued to their screens so....shrug

Athrawes Sun 14-Jun-20 09:40:21

Minecraft is very "educational" - problem solving, resourcing, coding, relationship building. The worst part is when they get addicted to watching blitheringly annoying young men on YouTube taking about Minecraft.

ValiaH Sun 14-Jun-20 09:40:39

Minecraft is a pc-only, weekend only activity here (pc only as it teacjes them mouse and typing skills, in addition to the other aspects of minecraft). DH and I also play, we are quite a 'gaming' family. Most of the other apps I have on my phone for the kids are educational games, so I might let them have an hour each here or there during the week but make it clear that they are borrowing my phone and if its not convenient, or they've played too much, its a no. My kids are 3, 5 and 7. If their mood drops or they start to act up as a result of too much screen time, we take a screen free break for a week or so.

Dissimilitude Sun 14-Jun-20 09:43:36

You’re in danger of setting up games as a “forbidden fruit”.

Let him play, set clear boundaries. Give him a window he can play them in. Let him relate to his friends!

DocusDiplo Sun 14-Jun-20 09:46:11

I'm stuck with a young addict and don't feel able to set boundaries, especially during lockdown. I wish I'd never let him start. It's so stressful.

Bbq1 Sun 14-Jun-20 09:46:55

I guess because your ds had been desperate to play minecraft for so long, (to the point of pretending he played it to friends) he now wants to play all the time as it's such a novelty. Minecraft itself is a good game. My ds started on it when he was 7 and even now as a teenager still plays it occasionally. It's a cooperative game about building, creating new worlds and problem solving. You're right to limit it though. He will probably calm down about it when the novelty wears off.

pinktaxi Sun 14-Jun-20 09:48:46

DS2 also 7 and I introduced him to Xbox Lego games. Now he wants to play all the time and is very annoying as I have to play too. Home schooling (?) so it's a fight to get him to do something, but it is a bit of an after pretend school activity. He nags too from the morning onwards

bloodyhellsbellsx Sun 14-Jun-20 09:49:15

YABU, downloading and letting him play once is like teasing him! You need to come to some agreement with him eg allowed one hour per day, and gaming time can be removed for poor behaviour etc. I would be worried he would be left out if all his friends play and he doesn’t.

user8558 Sun 14-Jun-20 09:49:36

I'm so sick of the number of parents who let their kids play games all the time. Really sick of it. They do nothing else.

I don't allow DS to play more than 4 hours a week, he's 12 and for the past 5 years has been banned outright from playing games because gaming in moderation when he was younger was simply not at option. He was either playing or WW3 was going on.

He has no behavioural problems, unless games are involved. He cannot regulate his own use. But worst of all its the way it pushes every other interest he has out and it's all he can think of it it's all consuming for him.

He knows I will remove that Xbox the first excuse I get and he's a bit older now and has more self control.

But I despise them.

And I despise that it's all his friends talk about.

I despise how sad that makes him.

I hate hate hate hate games.

I can see and understand why so many parents can't fight it. My lovely boy turned into a writhing frothing mess when he played a few hours of mine craft a day. You have to be pretty resilient to contend with the hours and hours and days of disruption.

I hope when he starts high school he's able to find a peer group who he can fit into where games are not the sole topic of conversation.

I hate the social exclusion he suffers because I'd rather he built dens or read or played his guitar or made bread or worked on his garden.

He's so much happier without games or when they're very restricted with very clear boundaries.

Bbq1 Sun 14-Jun-20 09:51:53

Don't stop him now when the poor child has just got access to it Continue to limit the access and just tell dc the more the asks the less likely you'll let him play. Give him an hour at the time of the day, you think best. I don't really like the pull of consoles and gaming myself but unfortunately the use of technology and gaming etc is our children's world, their reality, not necessarily ours.

Glass45 Sun 14-Jun-20 09:52:26

Thanks all. I do worry that I made it a bit to a “forbidden fruit” for him, which is why he’s so obsessed.

He hasn’t had a chance to play since Thursday, hence the begging. But you’re right - clear set times!

I do wish I’d not done it. But then maybe he’d be miserable as he would be missing out on the thing all the kids in his bubble are talking about? sad (We walk home with the other kids in his bubble, and sometimes play in the woods together after school (I figure they’re together all day long anyway so what’s the harm?!) and they play games that are all about mine craft. It’s obviously the new thing!)

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GetOutOfThereHoggle Sun 14-Jun-20 09:53:33

Both my DS play minecraft, I'm amazed at what they both build, it really gets them thinking and engineering structures.. definitely one of the more educational popular games (I play it with them too and quite enjoy it lol). Mine would be glued to it too if I let them (younger one loves YouTube.. Ryan's Toys.. drives me bonkers lol) so I limit screen time where I can (definitely more lax in lockdown cos I need to get jobs done). Bad behaviour, or arguments when I tell them it's time to switch off (I always give ten min warning so they can save their games) and they lose time on it or lose it altogether if they kick off. It works quite while some days as he has things he has to do to get screen time (school work he's set, have plenty of outside time, family walks etc) so it's a good bargaining chip. Does he argue? YES. Just don't give in and he will get it eventually. I'm glad they've had their tablets (Amazon Fire, £19.99 in sale!), it's been a bit of a social tool for mine through lockdown. Mine has just started playing fortnite on the switch with some friends from school. They what's app each other at same time to chat. He not into class zoom calls (too chaotic) and gets loads of chat time with his mates whilst he's online gaming. He gets an hour a day with his mates on FN. It's lovely to hear him laughing and chatting. Then if he's been outside enough and been good he gets minecraft time later on too. We play that all three of us together. It's a really cute time and we all look forward to it lol (I'm just a big kid, any excuse for a bit of gaming).

Glass45 Sun 14-Jun-20 09:54:34

This is my fear, user8558! I’m sorry you’re going through that sad

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heartsonacake Sun 14-Jun-20 09:56:53

He hasn’t had a chance to play since Thursday, hence the begging. But you’re right - clear set times!

Why hasn’t he had a chance to play since Thursday? That’s a long time for a child especially when you’ve just introduced something new and they have no idea when they’ll get to play it again.

You need to be clear: set boundaries and times for when he can go on so he knows the score.

Shinyletsbebadguys Sun 14-Jun-20 09:59:38

Honestly I think people can be quite histrionic about these games. It is like anything else, children get focused on them and it's the great white whale for a while then they find something else. Parenting is about managing that. By making it a control factor from you in such an extreme way (I mean to be fair you are overreacting after the matter of limited play and a few days ).

Ds1 plays minecraft and we just didnt make a massive deal about it. Rather than set specific times and make it a control thing , after a short period we would tell him we were doing something else (go for a walk, school work , make a game etc) it didnt last long before he naturally began to self regulate.

It was never a battle with us , he knew he could play later for a while so will happily get off of it. Don't get me wrong , if he is in the middle of something specific he will now say so and dependant on the particular task he is either allowed to finish it or its pointed out he can do it another way.

I ascribe to the memory of my DM who made massive arbitrary rules that were often because " well I just know" or " I don't want you to do x y z ". All it made me do was doubt her judgement from a really young age because she couldn't justify or give good reasons , she put the rule in because she panicked and didn't like anything outside if her likes and dislikes. Frankly it meant I was never taught self regulation or sensible risk assessment until I taught myself as an older teen.

Step back , don't make it about whether you like it or don't. Can you evidence or justify your reasoning (in a child centric way of course ) ? Ds1 is far from easy he is ASD and very fixed but it worked with him and it works with neuro typical ds2 on screen time. They will choose not to use them now even when they can.

And seriously I'm like the furthest thing on earth away from fluffy mum , I spend a lot of time using batman voice (usually over sock and coat issues) but this doesn't need to be a battle.

GetOutOfThereHoggle Sun 14-Jun-20 10:05:46

I think a lot depends on your kid. I have one who disappears into games like a rabbit hole and you have to pull him out, the other one isn't that bothered and self regulated better. Just have your time allowance in mind, do what works for you as a family, and what you're comfortable with. Everyone will be a bit different. Then stick to that. Rainy days here inevitably means more screen time, if it's 70 degrees they are in the garden and not shut up inside. You just have to do what feels right for your kid and your family dynamic. I do think a three day wait to go back on is a long time though. It might be better little and often? But like I said, it depends on your family dynamic/work? schedule/ kid's personality etc etc

Glass45 Sun 14-Jun-20 10:20:07

I’m not sure about his ability to self regulate. He’s pretty good when we watch a movie together, I can turn it off when it’s finished and he doesn’t mind. (His sibling goes utterly bananas - is younger.)

I was working Friday and yesterday, hence the no play.

My big fear is that he’ll turn into my DB, to be honest. He’s 18 years younger than me so he had a completely different childhood. My mum bought him an Xbox when he was 5 and he was (maybe still is) seriously addicted to games. He quit school because of it (seriously! Although he did find his way back eventually and did finish school.) He’s still a bit too into them now. When you drag him away from games, he’s sociable and sporty. At the moment, because of lockdown, he’s gained a lot of weight and is playing all day long.

So I swore I’d never let my kids because of that... which is why I’m a bit too militant. I’m quite militant about tv as well. Am worried I’m over reacting about it all and going too far the other way (DH thinks so).

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