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To ask about your child's gaming habits? Advice please.

148 replies

ArsenalsPlayingAtHome · 12/05/2018 09:56

Basically I've let it all slide...I know my DS 12 yrs is spending ridiculous amounts of time playing Fortnight. I acknowledge it's my fault and I'm putting things in place as from this afternoon, as he will never voluntarily come off it ever!

He's in Y8.

Please can I ask how much time you allow your DCs spend on their PS4s/XBox, and their ages. Also if you think you've got the balance right?

Is it a constant battle?

Also, what chores are you chldren of similar (or older/younger) children doing? What else are they doing with their spare time?

Are they only allowed on if all HW & revision & chores are completed?

TBH I am annoyed at myself for allowing it to get so out of hand, and am determined to change.

I won't judge, far from it. I'm expecting and hoping lots of super organised parents to post, who have super regimented boundaries in place, but if there's anyone else out there in my position that would also help.


Dragging him off for a walk with dogs soon, but will definitely catch up on all the suggestions on our return.

OP posts:

Smeaton · 12/05/2018 10:52

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

littlepill · 12/05/2018 10:58

This thread makes me feel better. Was also worried. Mine has school/sports/music until 4.30 and on Saturdays. We get home at 5 in the week. I let him go on until 7. He does homework and then reads until bedtime. Weekends are free but we’ve been doing more stuff outside lately. It does seem a step up from when he first got his PS4 - 5 hours a week then, and we used to make him log his useage in a notebook!

One of the other mums said the boys tend to use it more to socialise. I’ve noticed this, it’s more like we used to use the phone...

I feel a bit better. Still not sure if he’s rushing homework but he seems worried about dropping sets/keeping up in class, so I think he can deal with it.


TheCatWearsOrange · 12/05/2018 10:59

We don't have rules about gaming as much as rules about other things iyswim.

So the days are loosely timetabled with things like clubs, homework time, family time, outdoor time, settle down before sleep time, chores time, get ready for school time.

I get ratty and confiscaty if gaming messes up any of those.


BonsaiBear · 12/05/2018 11:04

Has a few minutes before school once he's dressed and washed and had his breakfast and ready to leave the house. After school he has an hour or so as he decompresses and I sort dinner. Then we tidy etc and it goes off while homework or after school activities are done. After that he gets free reign until 8.30pm when I make him switch off screens for reading before bed.

At the weekend he sometimes plays loads got to admit but we are tackling that now!! It's so easy to let it slip but I've also found that because he's not allowed screens in his bedroom and can only play in the living room we often have chats about what he's doing. Sometimes I sit with him and help him plan tactics for fortnite battles and sometimes he plays with friends.

I'd be really unhappy if he was locked away in his bedroom playing all the time. He's 12.


hillbilly · 12/05/2018 11:11

Nothing Monday - Thursday. An hour a day fri-sun. We don't have PS so it's games in iPod or laptop. No fortnite and no games that are multi player or with chat facility.


AuntJobiska · 12/05/2018 11:18

DS is 15. He games occasionally - rarely, really - during the week but mainly over weekends. Mostly I think it's probably a couple of hours, twice on a weekend - occasionally we've realised he's been at it for about 4 hours but normally we'll pull him off before that length of time has elapsed. We're not on his case about it too much, and he never gives us any problems if we tell him to come off because he's been on it too long, it's a school night, it's supper time, he needs to tidy his room etc. He seems to have a really good time with the kids when he games online with them (mostly school friends and friends of theirs from other local schools - we moved when DS was a teen to an area where most people have been settled from childhood).

It does concern me that he doesn't seem to want to go out at weekends or during the holidays, and I think gaming does prop that up to some extent, but I don't think he'd go out any more if I banned gaming because he really is little Jonny stay-at-home. I could go on about that aspect of it, but I don't think that's what you started this thread for, so I'll stop!


LillianGish · 12/05/2018 11:44

We’ve never had an Xbox or PS4 - DS 15 says he’s happy not to have one as friends who do do nothing else. He does play when he goes to friends’ houses - used to be FIFA now increasingly Fortnight. DS is a fairly typical teenager - spends a lot of time on messaging on his phone - but also has lots of other interests. He plays football three times a week, tennis with us, plays the piano and enjoys cooking. I work on the basis that if his grades are good (ie I can see him making an effort and doing his best so he is getting the best grade he can) he can go out with his friends and do stuff. He gets this, makes a reasonable effort, so everyone is happy. Personally I think that if teenagers have no hobbies other than gaming then it’s a bit sad. Parents who are gamers themselves will probably disagree.


WipsGlitter · 12/05/2018 12:12

I like @Lavende idea for a checklist.


Lethaldrizzle · 12/05/2018 12:26

Coding is one thing but just playing mindless computer games for hours on end - I fail to see how that kind if addiction benefits most kids


saoirse31 · 12/05/2018 12:37

None before homework in primary, up till about 13 or 14 too. After that i pretty much let him at it, but, that was because he would always do homework first etc. Other than that never had strict rules, a new game will usually mean being played for longer in first few weeks etc. Now 18, plays odd time not much


Nodancingshoes · 12/05/2018 12:37

My 12 year old plays ALOT of fortnite.. My rules include getting outside at least once a day at weekends and during holidays to do something like bike ride or football. Also it must be turned off by 8pm.


ferriswheel · 12/05/2018 12:42

Good on you. My h's gaming is a huge part of why im divorcing him. Its a very slippery slope.


stressedoutfred · 12/05/2018 12:54

As long as homework is done and to a good level ( so not rushed) and he does anything I ask of him around the house ( like walk the dog) then I don't mind how long he's on the PS4

He also plays rugby 1/2 times a week, attends explorers ( scouts) and I encourage him to arrange at least something with his friends once a week


stressedoutfred · 12/05/2018 12:54

PS he's 14


ICantCopeAnymore · 12/05/2018 12:57

An hour a day on a school day, after homework.
2 hours a day on the weekend.

Ignore the "I hate gaming" brigade. If controlled and balanced with other hobbies and learning, gaming is highly beneficial for children. I did my Master's for Education research project on it and the evidence for gaming is massive (I'm a teacher).

I do think it needs to be strictly controlled though. As a gamer myself, I know it can be tempting to play games a lot more than I should - time flies when you're having fun. Luckily, DS is more than happy with the rules and he's happy to have gamer parents who "get it".

As for chores, he does a fair bit. Dishes, hoovering, dusting, putting laundry away, stripping beds, tidying his room, making breakfast/lunch sometimes, mowing the lawn sometimes (supervised).


Brokit · 12/05/2018 13:09

This is a recurring theme on MN.
I have two adult DSs who caused me the same worries from the age of 8 when they got Nintendo DS and then progressed to xbox and pc games.
I set limits, we had battles, there was a time when I worried it would affect their schoolwork but by 15 they they eventually moderated their own gaming. One at uni now never plays in the run up to exams but will play a lot in holidays. The other just plays a little now and then.
The big thing for them was always the social side. We live in the sticks and they could join in with friends who lived in a 20 mile radius.

It does seem boys are more likely to be gamers than girls and their gaming is a problem for their parents who feel they ought to do less or do other things. Girls, in my experience, spend more time on phones/ social media which tends to worry parents less because we do it as well.

In their way they are all socialising. Gaming is fun and when played alongside friends is even more fun. We as parents would prefer them to be running around in the park. Noticeably those parents who game themselves tend to be less worried about the whole thing.

Storm4star I play the kind of game you mention. I've really enjoyed several games which involve clubs, guilds or whatever - even with some fellow MNers. I find they all eventually get too big, require me to spend far too long completing daily or weekly tasks. I gave them all up a couple of months ago. I miss them but have more free time.


PiggeryPorcombe · 12/05/2018 13:11

To the posters who have dc gaming a lot, have they got consoles in their bedrooms? We’ve only got one tv, in the living room, so it impacts all of us when someone’s on the console. Therefore the amount of time they’re allowed on it is limited. I can see how dc up in their bedrooms would be allowed much more time if this is the case. I certainly don’t want that thing blaring away constantly in our only communal room.


Mrscog · 12/05/2018 13:16

Not really relevant as DS is only 6. He’s allowed to play up to 4 hours a week (whenever he likes - he’s an early riser so I have no problem with before school if it means he’s not waking me up quite so early) on a handful of pre-approved by us non online games (mainly the Lego games, but also viva piñata). Any moaning about switch off equals 48 hour ban. It’s going well so far but I know that it will get harder over time!!!


Ted27 · 12/05/2018 13:29

my son is 14. At weekends if we are at home, pretty much as long as he wants on phone/xbox, as long as home work is done. He does play tennis on Saturday mornings, and we go to some kind of sports event, rugby or athletics, maybe once a month.

Weekdays varies, he goes to youth groups/scouts on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, so usually not at all on those days. This weekend he is at a scout camp from Friday to Sunday evening so he hasnt had the phone at all and hasnt been on the xbox since Tuesday.

Mondays and Tuesdays 1 - 2 hours after school. General rule is no electronics before school and it all gets switched off at tea time. Phone charges in my room overnight.

The weekends can seem a bit excessive sometimes, but he plays a lot of sport at school and he has his youth groups. We are quite busy with activities and weekends away so its not every weekend.

His weekly jobs are to put the bins out and strip his bed, daily he sets and clears the table and makes me cups of tea on demand. He'll go to the shop for bits and pieces and if I whinge long enough he will make me breakfast on Sundays. I'm a single mum and he's generally very good at helping out with things that might need two people when I need him to be.


ICantCopeAnymore · 12/05/2018 13:43

Piggery - DS has a Wii U in his bedroom but rarely plays it. He plays the Ps4 or Xbox One downstairs. I have my own Xbox One in my bedroom too so I join in with him sometimes.


mum11970 · 12/05/2018 14:06

My ds is 13 and we don’t set time limits for his gaming, never have for his older siblings either. Homework has never not been done due to gaming and he’s quite happy to help me out if I ask but has no set chores. In the last half hour we’ve just bought 15 months PlayStation plus, which he happily paid half for. He goes out and gets fresh air, does his homework, is polite and helpful and will switch off his ps4 ifI ask, so I have no problem with him gaming.


littlepill · 12/05/2018 14:16

To the posters who have dc gaming a lot, have they got consoles in their bedrooms?

No, I have one TV, also in the sitting room, but it's only me here as other DCs are at boarding school and I am divorced. It impacts on me sometimes, but I don't really watch TV and have my laptop. Most of the time I am on MN, so it's a good rule of thumb as to how much time both of us are on screens!


SluttyButty · 12/05/2018 14:24

Piggery yes mine's got a console and tv in his room. He has no volume control on his mouth and the more exited he gets, the louder the squealing and shrieking gets. We couldn't cope with it so we bought a tv and shoved him upstairs there's only so much shrill squawking my sanity could take


pinkhorse · 12/05/2018 14:27

My ds is 8 and isn't allowed on it at all Monday to Thursday. He goes on it Friday to Sunday if we've got no other plans and his homework, chores, teeth etc are all done. He plays fortnite and Minecraft and watches the gamers play them on YouTube as well


CalF123 · 12/05/2018 14:34

I believe in encouraging self-regulation when it comes to gaming and technology. My DC can spend as long as they want on phones, Xbox etc as long as all homework and revision is completed.

I really do fear for what happens when DC who've been micromanaged go off to uni, as they just won't have the independence or self-discipline skills needed to organise their own lives.

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