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Parenting a preteen can be a minefield. Find support here.


Preteens and gaming

6 replies

jdd · 04/04/2014 14:47

I have two stepsons (9 and 12) who are addicted to playing the playstation, watching videos of other people on youtube playing the playstation (?) and playing minecraft. It's the first thing they want to do when they wake up and the last thing they want to do at night and become monosyllabic zombies when they are doing it. I was just wondering if other parents of preteens set limits on gaming?

We try to make them do other things. We go out for bike rides, swimming, visiting friends, they play a lot of football and we watch movies together but when we are at home all they want to do is gaming. I just worry that it might be damaging. Their attention spans aren't great and they are really lazy with other aspects of their lives as all they can think about is getting back on the playstation.

The tricky thing is that, it's not my decision to impose rules on them. I can suggest things to my husband but he often feels that if their Mum won't impose the same rules there's no point. If they were my children I'd want to say no gaming at all before school (so they just concentrate on getting ready for school) and no gaming after 7pm. I'd also want to limit or take away their gaming privileges if they are not putting enough effort into their homework. If I suggest these things though it makes me into the evil step mother.

What do other parents do regarding the amount of time gaming?


OP posts:
BorisJohnsonsHair · 04/04/2014 14:56

My DS is 11 and also would spend all day playing. He is allowed to play as much as he wants, but has to come off it within 5 minutes if asked, that's the deal. We also do lots of other things and he plays out with friends most evenings too.

I don't think limiting is a great idea personally, as I would never limit the amount of time he spent on anything else.

Minecraft, particularly, is a fantastic game for building the imagination, like a kind of 3D Lego. If he was playing shoot 'em ups or something that would be different.

All of that said, it's your house and therefore you make the rules. I wouldn't worry too much about it being damaging. I grew up watching lots and lots of television, which doesn't seem to have done me any harm, and at least gaming is active, rather than passive TV watching.

LastingLight · 05/04/2014 12:45

I went to a very interesting talk recently by a man who is doing research in this area. He said that when children spend more than 4 hours a day on screens their ability to think critically and be creative drastically reduces. It is good for kids to do other things - read, play with real blocks, make up their own games and be bored. Boredom leads to creativity. We limit screen time - definitely no screens before school unless dd is ready to go before I am, and no screens after supper as it interferes with the ability to have deep, restful sleep.

LastingLight · 05/04/2014 12:46

Oh and if I tell her to shutdown her laptop and go and do something else and I get any attitude then that's it, laptop gets confiscated for the rest of the day or longer.

jdd · 05/04/2014 16:44

Well this weekend we are limiting them to an hour at a time. Then they have to find something else to do for an hour. I think we are also going to ban gaming before school and after 7pm. They seem to be ok with it. DH is going to speak to their Mum to see if she will do the same. I think too much gaming is making them lazy and bad tempered.

OP posts:
wheresthelight · 06/04/2014 08:05

I had this issue with my dsc's!! dss is now 10 and dsd is now 8, at their mum's they do nothing but gaming in minecraft or their Nintendo things. I got really fed up of our lives revolving around the bloody computer and then completely ignoring dp (who after all they are here to spend time with). We have banned all use of computer games here unless we are in the car on a long journey. Forth first few weeks it was a nightmare with rows etc but 18 months on they don't even bother bringing the Nintendo things here! They actually read books, play board games, go swimming etc, draw pictures and write stories.

Their mum actually asked me last year how I got them to read a book, when I said "just take the Nintendo off them" you would have thought I had given her a tirade of expletives from the look she gave me! I think she has struggled being a single parent (her choice, she ended marriage as she had an affair) and finds the gaming a cheapness easy babysitter.

Kids can adapt to different rules at different houses so give it a whirl! Good luck!

moogalicious · 07/04/2014 15:33

I limit mine because that's all they would do all day! They have an hour each per day. The rest of the time they read, play board games, cook, draw etc. Also, any more than an hour would mean the others wouldn't get a go.

I personally think it's good to limit gaming time because otherwise they wouldn't do anything else apart from staring at a screen. I know minecraft is imaginative, but seriously, they are obsessed! So it's good to have a variety of stuff to do and not fall back on computer games when they're bored.

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