son 8 obsessive interest in online gaming

(53 Posts)
heatwave426 Sun 08-Jul-18 17:45:27

I put this post in another section and got no response. I am now hoping I will get some feedback here. I think it is appropriate to put in education as I have no doubt that my son's extreme interest in gaming is having an impact on his progress at school.
So to begin my son has an excitable and quite reactive personality. He has some difficulty managing his emotions. He will cry and be dramatic and (seemingly totally devastated when he is punished). and can also, sometimes be sensitive and very much in tune with the feelings of others.
I have been concerned with his overly focussed attitude to gaming for sometime.Recently I watched a Victoria Derbyshire programme on which the problem of online gaming addiction in children was the focus. The programme was mostly about children using Fortnite. 3 boys from the same family where observed by a psychologists and hooked up to monitors which measured their cortisol levels whilst gaming.. The mother of the children was present and spoke about how all consuming gaming had become for one of her sons. He was unsurprisingly the one whose cortisol rocketed whilst he was being monitored gaming.
I state this because I believe that this trait seems to be something which my son possesses as part of the way he is rather than something I have inadvertently nurtured.I can imagine his cortisol would be very high given an experience such as that shown on the programme.
I am terribly concerned about it and quite unsure what to do. I do not know where to go for advice because no one seems to have knowledge and insight in this area.
I certainly do not, and never have given my child a free reign with online gaming. He is allowed an hour during the weekend and if neighbour's children come over he is allowed to play on his Wii with them for an hour or so. During the week I allow him to use the iPad and the Wii for an hour on Wednesdays and Mondays. He plays Roblox, I have set the required birth date etc so that he can only access specific games. He also plays Minecraft and Skylanders.
His life seems to revolve around using his computer time. Once it has been used he seems to be calmer. I understand that with some children being less controlling of time on technology might make it less attractive but even when I am more relaxed with computer/iPad time etc over the holidays my son is still focussed on games. He talks about them constantly. His art work is about characters, and games he plays at school seem to be reenactments of the online games.I can deal with this. What I find more disturbing is sometimes he will lie to me or make up stories so he has access to technology when he is not allowed it. For example this morning a neighbour's child came to play. He asked the child to sneak his iPad in when he knew he wasn't allowed. I recently heard about a child wetting herself because she was unwilling to take time out during a gaming session. This was no shock to me as my son has done it a couple of times,
Gaming is part of life for most youngsters now so banning it is not a realistic or productive option. Further my child is an only child so reading, Lego etc are not always enough to keep a child going when he is on his own. I do not have a backyard and am a solo parent so going to the park on a school night after work is not easy. My son however gets lots of physical activity and is involved in a number of activities and sports which he enjoys in the weekend and during the holidays. He also gets to go to the park and run around when at my childminder or at aftercare.
I wonder if anyone has had a similar problem and has found any positive ways of managing it. I would also be keen to know what opinions teachers have on this subject and if within schools this issue has created problems and if so how are the being addressed?

OP’s posts: |
typoqueen Sun 08-Jul-18 20:29:26

Im no expert in this just another mum who had similar problem, what we did was to cut her time down on all devices, she had to earn her gaming/chat time by doing other things ie, if she read 10 pages of a book that 10 mins of gaming earned, if she drew a picture that was not about her obsession that was another 5, homework completed was 15 mins so on and so forth until she had earned a hour worth of gaming and an hour is all she got, if she wanted longer she had to earn it.

BubblesBuddy Sun 08-Jul-18 20:59:04

I have a relative where it’s been an ongoing problem with tantrums when asked to stop using the computer. The hours allowed by his parents often exceeded 8 each day and also included watching u tube videos of others doing the games.

The big difference between you and the relatives is that you have restricted access but he’s lying to get more time. They never had this but he was aggressive with other family members when they wanted a go on the computer. He was allowed more or less unfettered access and became aggressive other family members over it. There are some children who definitely get addicted! Interestingly he was fine at our house with no computer access at all until he brought his new iPad with him!

He’s still pretty much addicted 6 years later and school work is suffering and it is not looking good for the future as he will underachieve.

What to do? I think the idea of computer time as a reward is good. I think you could go out at weekends. This gives less time for gaming. I do think you must hold the line on homework and the time you allow. Speak to him about being deceitful because it’s a slippery slope. I do tend to think that this is very difficult to deal with but after seeing tantrums, pushing and shoving siblings to get to the computer and failure to do homework due to gaming time, it’s like a drug. Hold firm and keep him busy doing other things.

Ohyesiam Sun 08-Jul-18 21:03:31

My friend detoxed her son, she followed a 3 week programme from a book. I have been googling it for you but no luck.
Basically she talked it all through with him and cut it back incrementally, he’s now got 90 minutes a day screen time.

deplorabelle Wed 11-Jul-18 21:29:27

Honestly he sounds fine. If you have set the limits you say and they are adhered to, that sounds well within the bounds of normal.

BubblesBuddy Wed 11-Jul-18 22:41:14

So do you think it’s ok for the OPs DS to lie to get more gaming time deplorabelle? It’s not really a question of boundaries, which have been set, it’s the problem of the deceit to get round them. I don’t think this is fine at all.

user789653241 Wed 11-Jul-18 22:49:44

My ds is obsessed with certain game. He re-writes story, do lots of artwork, always listening to the game music. I don't think anything wrong with it, I am a gamer myself. He has amazing vocab due to playing game. He even decided to learn to play piano because he wanted to play them himself. He even tries to read game strategy guide written in foreign language.
He has no limit for screen time, except not allowed to play before bed time. But funny thing is, he does choose to do something else a lot of time, and has no problem to be told that he needs to stop.


Nellia Sun 15-Jul-18 07:43:21

I think each childs approach is going to be different depending on things they have an interest in.
Id really reccomend screensaver app which controls time and requires children to complete tasks you set to get the time they want. This reduced tantrums for me as it wasnt mum controling fun it was dds choice to complete tasks. Sometimes she didnt want to do tasks so usage dropped.
I didnt like the fact that you could talk to strangers on roboblocks irrespective of age and blocked it using screensaver as it was also becomming somewhat addictive.
Dd can take computer games are leave them now drawing playing outside with others are preffered now and I think thats a healthier balance

ProfessorMoody Sun 15-Jul-18 07:46:32

So he only plays an hour on the weekend? confused

deplorabelle Sun 15-Jul-18 14:19:27

Obviously lying and trickery is wrong BubblesBuddy but almost all children will try that to get what they want from time to time. We have to discipline them when they do it but I don't think by itself it's an indicator of a problem relationship with technology.

pollu85x Sun 15-Jul-18 18:26:39

Have you read Maggie Dents gaming contract? You would probably want to alter it for your son, given his age, but I do think thr emphasis on building up other interests and relationships is important.

user789653241 Sun 15-Jul-18 19:14:14

I don't allow my ds to do any online games that you can talk to strangers.

ProfessorMoody Mon 16-Jul-18 07:39:50

Irvine - if you've parented correctly, they can't.

missyB1 Mon 16-Jul-18 07:49:24

I believe this is becoming more and more of an issue for many parents. We have managed to hold off buying ds (age 9) any game consoles/ gadgets of his own. He has to earn time on our I pad (only allowed at the weekend), by completing all homework every night, and doing a few chores around the house.
It helps that he has a couple of sport hobbies and we tend to be out and about a lot at the weekend anyway.
Keep your ds as busy as possible with other stuff and make him earn any game time. Also look into courses for kids about online safety.

Nellia Mon 16-Jul-18 08:04:29

Proffesormoody I dont think its a question of parenting correctly.
Many children use roboblox and there is a thread on this with some parents believing it is safe and educational for a variery of reasons.
I would not say they are not good parents.

As mentioned in my post I choose to block it but Im not about to drag others over hot coals for making a different choice.

ProfessorMoody Mon 16-Jul-18 08:08:36

Roblox is safe, if you've applied the correct parental controls, as is Fortnite.

user789653241 Mon 16-Jul-18 08:46:40

Professor, I am one of not so strict parent, I believe. But I just don't believe he needs to engage in something that he needs parental control
He has access to many age appropriate online stuff, and maybe not so age appropriate off line stuff.

sallythesheep73 Mon 16-Jul-18 09:26:42

I think age 8 is too young for these things. What will he be like at 12, 16, 18 if you cannot keep him off it at 8? I would wean him off ASAP. People kid themselves that their children are learning stuff on these games but I dont believe they are. Get him engaged in the real world.
A friend of DH told us at the weekend his 9 year old does 2 hours a day of online gaming playing and chatting to people on the internet. I cant think of anything worse I'm afraid.

ProfessorMoody Mon 16-Jul-18 11:36:06

Sally, I've done extensive research into the effects of gaming and learning and it proves quite the opposite to what you suggest. They DO learn and it has massive benefits.

Why do children have to be in the "real world" all the time? Personally, as a teacher and a parent, I'd encourage them to be away from the real world sometimes. The real world can be shit, and imagination and creativity are massively underrated.

I've been gaming for over 30 years and DS since he was 3. We're both intelligent, well rounded individuals who have a balance between our hobbies and every day life. He's high achieving in school and is able to stick to the limits I give him.

The problem we are having with children being obsessed with games is not down to the child, it is down to the parenting, but the parents who have problems refuse to admit it.

Nellia Mon 16-Jul-18 11:51:47

Can you share the links to the research you're referencing?
I've not come across anything in favour of children spending more time doing online gaming and would like to read it to get a more balanced view.

sallythesheep73 Mon 16-Jul-18 11:57:58

OP has said her 8 year old is 'obsessed' with gaming. This doesnt sound healthy.

What are the 'massive benefits' you have found? I'm all for creativity and getting away from the real world but gaming can't be the only option?

sallythesheep73 Mon 16-Jul-18 12:01:55

My thinking is that by the time our kids are adults lots of activities and jobs will be automated (like banking etc) so people facing skills will be more critical than ever. Also some of the developing nations with large populations like China and India will swamp the engineering etc job markets. But that's just my guesstimate...

ProfessorMoody Mon 16-Jul-18 12:08:18

@Nellia - Google Scholar is your friend. I've done years of my own research, I don't need to be doing anyone else's wink

Sally - Again, a quick Google will bring up the benefits, of which there are lots. I will point out however, that I didn't say children should be gaming "more". A balance of gaming with other activities and education is the way forward. My DS has an hour a day. If a child is obsessed, then there must be an issue with discipline, or time limits.

I must also point out that both of you have spelled "Professor" wrong, meaning that I wouldn't have had the @ tags.

sallythesheep73 Mon 16-Jul-18 12:10:45

@ProfessorMoody apologies - a copy and paste error!

Nellia Mon 16-Jul-18 12:44:57

Apologies lazy typing.
Well aware of google scholar and would say my own research suggests the opposite in terms of the way in which young minds develop. Hence the ask, but if you dont have the evidence to back up the statement fair enough 😊.

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