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Computer games AAAAARRRGGGHHHH

(11 Posts)
neverputasockinatoaster Sun 04-Nov-12 15:44:59

Ok, so DS is 8 and has an ASD. He loves computer games and would psend all day every day plugged into one if I wouls let him.

On a Monday he goes to After School Club. It is held in a school and they have access to an ICT suite. One of his school friends has introduced him to a site called 'notdoppler' which is a bank of computer games. Some have an age limit listed but most do not. The chap who supervises the computer room assured me they were only allowed to play 'suitable' games. I have made it clear to DS that if he is playing a new game he must run it past me or my DH as some of them are not OK for him to play. DS seemed fine with this and he showed me the games he was playing.

Fast forward to the other day when he was on the computer. He sadi he was going on not doppler and I reminded him of the rule. I then heard sounds of gunfire so went to look and he was playing a 'shoot 'em up' alien killing kind of game. It was totally unsuitable for his age group but it transpired that he was allowed to play it at after school club.

I have banned the game at home. I accept if I go to After school club and ask for it to be banned there I will single DS out as it seems other children are allowed to play it. However, every time DS has screen time he asks to play this game. I say no and he has a do, screaming and yelling, getting very aggressive with me, in my face, trying to intimidate me. My personal rule is that I will not be yelled at and so I walk away. I say 'I am not discussing x ganme with you. The rule is that you do not play it at home.'

But DS will not give it up. Today he was allowed a little extra computer time while I got the swimming stuff ready and I found him on this game. This has resulted in a computer ban for today. (He did lots of screeching about that). I can only conclude that from now on I am going to have to stand behind him if he is on the computer rather than use those 30 mins as time to 'do' stuff.....

Just venting really.

BeeMom Sun 04-Nov-12 16:24:09

I feel your pain, and it is not only the shoot-em-up games (or even the games geared to boys).

The not so subtle sales tactics trying to get kids spend their parents' money for downloads and upgrades and lord knows what else have led to no shortage of tantrums and fits here with Bee. So much so that she has a VERY limited and password protected set of things she is allowed to access at the moment. Fortunately, she seems pretty happy to play on CBeeBies and Sesame Street at the moment, so we have a brief period of respite.

DS, on the other hand, goes through major periods of obsession. Right now, his big kicks are Doctor Who and Minecraft. I don't mind them so much - I will admit to enjoying The Doctor as well, but my guilty pleasure is actually Torchwood. DS and I watch Doctor Who together, and have a collection of the DVDs, so we can rewatch them, too. As for Minecraft, he gets involved in cooperative town-building with a group of online friends. They actively trade, barter and negotiate, and cooperatively build structures together. He saved his own money to pay for the game, too. He does use the computer on a timer - because he would be attached to it 24/7 if we gave him the chance. He does all his school work on the computer, too, so we do have to monitor what he is doing while he is on it.

auntevil Sun 04-Nov-12 17:19:31

It's a toughie - DS1 is now 10, and like yours would probably hardwire himself into a network so he could constantly game[despair emoticon]
There are, to my knowledge, different levels of shoot'em up games. I've even found a shooting type game certificate 3!
I suppose I'm saying that if you go by certification, some games that I would go whoah! are apparently suitable for their age group. It may be that you have to decide on individual games and not go by another system of ageing, the school might just be relying on age advice.
I have more of an issue with language and the reason that they are shooting at 'enemies'. Lego games often have 'shooting games' where the enemy just breaks down into pieces. Shooting some alien monster might make it disintegrate, shooting a real human a leg may fly off: cert 3, cert 8, cert 18

moosemama Sun 04-Nov-12 18:51:29

We have had similar problems with the online game site called nitrome. A lot of the boys at ds's school play on it and there is some sort of rivalry going on between the nitrome fans and the friv (another gaming site) fans.

We started off allowing ds half an hour of his computer time to play on nitrome. But every single time, he became aggressive and shouty when asked to come off, which isn't his normal reaction, as he has always been clear on and accepted the house rules/parameters on gaming in the past.

The games weren't bad shoot 'em ups, but were much more shooty and hyper than the games he is usually allowed on his DSi. We found out that apparently they had been allowed to go on nitrome at school if they finished all their ICT classwork early and ds was going on it weekly at school.

Because he was so obsessed with it, his inclusion teacher wanted us to use nitrome minutes as a reward for some target or other he had at school at the time. She wanted him to collect stickers on a card every time he did the required thing and then be rewarded with half an our on the game site when he'd completed the card.

I had to say no, as by then I had banned him from accessing the site at home.

We then had an instance on him being allowed to use my laptop to do some research for a homework project. I left him for ten minutes while I dealt with his little sister and when I came back in the room he was on nitrome. He was distraught, extremely disappointed with himself and became out of control and inconsolable, eventually leading to him trying to knock himself out and throttle himself. sad

I'm not sure what it is about these sites, but as Beemom said, there are a lot of adverts, pop-ups and add-ons, which makes for a highly over-stimulating environment and I suspect that's got something to do with why my ds got so addicted to it, although peer pressure was definitely the original motivator.

The other thing to consider is that on some of these sites the children can contact each other and chat online - which is something we have banned ds from doing as he is particularly vulnerable to bullying.

We now have a blanket ban on online gaming sites and it took a while, but ds accepts it, but we have already had him begging with regard to yet another new site that 'all the other boys are on' so far this year.

I am very concerned about secondary school next year though, as he is not allowed a lot of games that some of his peers already play, let alone the type of games that older secondary pupils are likely to have access to.

It is hard, because developmentally/emotionally ds is a lot younger than his peers and when you add that to the fact that many of them are playing games that they are too young for (wrt the rating system) that leaves a big gap between him and his peers. All we can do is set our own boundaries according to what we feel is right for our dcs, trust that we are doing the right thing and be aware that we might need to tweak the parameters every now and then as the marketplace and social scene change.

It's worth looking into software for blocking websites if you can't trust him not to go on it when you're not looking. There are different ones, some that you have to opt into what websites they can use and others where you specifically block the sites you don't want them to go on.

Can't help any further with that though, sorry, it's dh that's the tech guy in this house.

In terms of reducing his negative reactions, could you offer him a bargaining chip? Is there a game that's perhaps not as bad that he would like and you could allow him to have as an alternative to going on this gaming site at home?

neverputasockinatoaster Sun 04-Nov-12 19:30:15

Thanks Guys.

I have already told him that if he goes on the game again then the site will be blocked. DH is our tech guy and he is on standby to do just that.

Thing is some of the games on the site are OK but the one I really object to isn't. The site doesn't have an age rating on many of the games but a few say 15+ or over 15 only. DS thinks that because the one we are tussling over is not labelled as such then it is OK. And I have noticed a profound difference in his behaviour when he plays the game. He is more aggressive. I suspect it is the over stimulation.

Mind you I don't like him playing the lego games either!

It didn't help today that my mum was here and she is very anti computers and any one having any mere seconds of doing something that is not an organised activity, outside and active and edifying for the soul......

alison222 Mon 05-Nov-12 09:54:35

Oh how familiar this sounds! moosemama reading your DS's reactions sounds like an echo of what happens in our house.
I found DS sneaking on the computer at 7.30 this morning as I have not passworded the guest account on the laptop - I will now.
DS has a training day today and I have banned the computer until tomorrow.
We have had a running battle about games, until I stipulated that I would not have ANY violent shooting games (other than lego ones) at all as they made his behaviour worse.
We had running battles which just resulted in me banning the computer - once for a week, and when I found him trying to sneak on again, it was extended. The difference in his behaviour though was very noticeable. He was much calmer.
neverputasockinacomputer I feel your pain. Personally I would go into school.
AT DS's primary school they gradually put a ban on pretty well all of the games sites and only allowed the "educational" games. So I don't think that it would be unreasonable to have that sort of chat with school.

moosemama Mon 05-Nov-12 10:47:39

That's where we have problems though Alison. Ds1 is actually calmer after he's had his computer time. It's the only time he can switch off the sensory overload and anxiety etc and really relax. In fact I've given him extra time during the half-term holiday, because he was so stressed after the previous few weeks at school that he simply couldn't wind down and seemed unable to do anything else.

If we end up having to reduce or ban computer time as a consequence for his behaviour I often think we get punished more than he does! hmm

I do allow Lego games, because they don't seem to have a bad effect on him. I was very wary at first and didn't want him to have them, but he sees it as a joint extension of both his Lego and Star Wars obsessions and doesn't seem to be particularly interested in the fighting, iyswim.

We're thinking about buying a Wii for the whole family this Christmas. I have resisted up until now, but ds2's physio really wants him to have one for the Wii fit and ds1 would benefit from that aspect as well. I have also found that since I have been pretty much bed/sofa-ridden recently and downloaded a couple of games onto the laptop to occupy myself ds1 and I have bonded over them, whereas before I struggled to find interests in common, so I'm hoping we can get some games to play together as a family. We recently played on my dsis's Xbox kinect and the whole family had fun, so I'm hoping it will be something we can all enjoy together, although Ds1 is a dedicated Nintendo supporter, so it would have to be a Wii, rather than a Kinect. (Of course ds1 wants a Wii U now they've been released, but that isn't going to happen.)

MyAngelChuckles Mon 05-Nov-12 11:09:55

I don't have this problem atm, DS is only 6 and his computer time consists of him watching youtube reviews on the toys of his current obbsession, but I can see it becoming a problem in the future as he does truely love playing on computers and even now would spend hours given half a chance.

We have a Wii moosemama and have the wii fit plus game, we have great fun on it, though we do have the balance board aswell and DS has a blast trying to navigate the obstacle course, he cracks up everytime, I would definetely recommend it as there are a fair few family friendly games available.

alison222 Mon 05-Nov-12 11:27:19

We too have a wii and the wii fit games using the balance board are good fun, as are some of the dance games to help with balance and co-ordination. However DS is now obsessed with the wii mario games which do not require any exercise whatsoever and are just like a computer game - I will have to try to lock that too if it gets too much.
Oh and yes DS wants the wii u. He has his birthday coming up before Christmas and has said that he would be happy if everyone clubbed together for his birthday and Christmas and that was the only present he got. I just don't know if I can face it though......

DS (8, AS) got addicted to Mario Karts on the Wii, no exercise value, but we then got Mario and Sonic at the Olympics and that is exercise and fulfills the Mario addiction too, he really likes it, might be worth a try Alison.

nothinginthefridge Mon 05-Nov-12 11:51:34

Oh, it's so nice to know we're not the only ones with this problem.

We password protect the whole computer now, it's in the kitchen/diner and DS is only allowed on if we are in and out of the room i.e. when we go in living room to watch TV, the computer goes off.

As for the xbox, we don't allow it to be 'hooked up' or whatever the word is to the internet, we only buy games such as LEGO, football and racing games.

Lot's of complaints from the kids about this, but needs must I'm afraid.

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