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Gaming. Where to draw the line.

3 replies

FeelingFiiiine · 25/01/2024 16:43

I have 3 boys aged 19, 14 and almost 12 and a DH who are all hugely in to gaming.  The 19 year old is irrelevant to this post because he’s an adult and can do what he wants. 

The 14 and almost 12 year olds both have SN and attend SN schools (this is relevant because they don’t have the usual homework and study expectations you’d have in a MS school).

Before Christmas break we had a system in place for screen time where the younger boys could choose a few days mid week to game (weekends were allowed). The other days, they weren’t allowed to game at all.
Due to a series of unpredictable events, this system has slowly morphed in to gaming every night and I’m not happy about it. DH however, does not see the issue. I feel like we should go back to setting limits but I’m not sure if I’m being unreasonable for the following reasons:

The almost 12 year old works very hard during the week at an afterschool football club; he’s there 3-4 times each week, so he’s getting regular exercise.

He struggles hugely with friendships but more recently, has finally begun to socialise with his school friends via a shared love of a particular game. It’s changed from him having nobody to play with, to a few different children to play with each night, and this has also solidified his friendships in school. It’s been very positive for him. 

However, he does tend to become rather obsessive and sometimes his behaviour is impacted. He’s unable to self regulate . 

The 14 year old has no after school clubs due to significant social anxiety. DH does try to encourage some bits of exercise at home but it’s not often and he’s often reluctant to partake in things. He very much finds it difficult to participate in activities and tends to want to be left alone to relax.  He does have a friend who he also socialises with online but he is more of a “hermit” which worries me more with the constant gaming. 

Part of me feels I should give up trying to implement times and let them do what they love every day. However, maybe I should implement some light chores before they game to ensure they have functional skills? Should I let them on each day but set a maximum time? 

The other part of me feels that gaming is not healthy so often and do we risk it making us lazy parents? I’m torn so would love to hear what others do?

YABU: They’re old enough now to not have restrictions.

YANBU: Too much gaming is bad for them. 

OP posts:
sprigatito · 25/01/2024 16:48

I would let them crack on, tbh. Older kids can get a lot more out of gaming than many non-gaming parents realise; problem-solving, compromising, co-operating, and for ND kids in particular it can offer a kind of structured and manageable social life that is much friendlier to their nature than more traditional forms of socialising. If their Dad is involved as well that's even better. There's a kneejerk screens=bad reaction in parenting (especially mothering) circles which can be quite unhelpful when dealing with ND gaming-obsessed teenagers; as with all issues, there is nuance.

The only caveat for me would be that your DH and the older boys are pulling their weight around the house, fulfilling their other obligations, and that your own relationships with them aren't being left to wither because of gaming. That's not acceptable, particularly with respect to your husband, so I would be having some discussions about boundaries there.

FeelingFiiiine · 25/01/2024 16:56

@sprigatito thanks for your quick response and you’ve made a good point. DH does pull his weight around the house. The boys however, should probably be doing more and I think this will be part of the discussion we will be having with them. Chores done before gaming. Just like homework for their NT peers usually has to be done before gaming.

OP posts:
Universalsnail · 25/01/2024 17:00

With their SEN needs in particular I would just let them game. I think giving some time to chores or functional home skills is a good idea and so perhaps a chore after a bit of down time after school before gaming would be a good call but it sounds like they are getting alot out of gaming so I would set gaming limits personally.

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