Video games, a good time limit?

Pamela - posted on 11/25/2009 ( 4 moms have responded )

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My 14 year old son loves to play games such as world of war craft on line with his school friends. I am having trouble with how much time is enough time?

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User - posted on 11/28/2009

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How about homework, 1/2 hour freetime, dinner, bath then bed !! Better to get a routine in now before the dreaded exam and revision starts. least then ur son with still be in school mode to do homework / revision straight after school, then he can relax playing his games. Good luck

[deleted account]

We noticed that my son (12) showed sign of being "addicted" to video games, and TV from a very young age. We adopted the "no screen on school nights rule". This has been huge! It will be very difficult at first, but trust me, its worth it!
Good luck,
Jennifer

Rachel - posted on 11/26/2009

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My husband and I are "gamers" and have played World of Warcraft, Warhammer Online and a variety of other games, both online and offline. It is really important to train your son to balance gaming with the rest of life. Time limits are just part of the issue here. The temptation, when gaming, is to get so caught up in it that you ignore other important parts of your life and real world friendships.



Gaming is fun. And, honestly, you *can* learn things from gaming. I ran a guild in WoW for a couple years and that experience helped me prepare for running my own business! The social interaction with MMORPGs like WoW and Warhammer can be good for kids too, because they often have to learn to interact with adults and be a little more mature than with with their peers. Also, they are learning good typing skills (unless relying on teamspeak all the time).



Anyway, my recommendation for setting healthy boundaries with gaming is to require all homework and chores to be done before gaming even starts. That is a good habit to get into for when he is an adult. Don't allow him to snack much, or at all, when gaming. It is really easy to overeat when gaming (just like when watching tv). My children will be allow to game on weeknights if all homework and chores are done and as long as they still get to bed on time. However, they will be required to have other activities with other children (like a sport or other interest) at least one night per week. 1/2 hr to an hour is probably reasonable for a weeknight. However, I wouldn't mind if my child organized his/her schedule to play more/longer by being responsible with his/her time earlier (like by working ahead so that he/she didn't have anything else planned for that night). This teaches good time management and prioritizing, which will serve them well in college and their adult lives.



On the weekend, we will probably take into consideration what they have going on. I probably won't mind if they play for 2-4 hours on a Saturday (some of the raids can take that long), but again only if they have completed their responsibilities.



The important things is that your child isn't using games as an escape from real life. My husband has done this occasionally and it is really frustrating. He and I both want to train our children that gaming, like most other things, is okay but must be played in moderation! We like it better than watching tv because the brain is more involved and skills (believe it or not!) are being learned (like eye-hand coordination). Teaching your child balance and time management through gaming is a great opportunity to prepare him for the temptations and realities of adult life. Allowing him the freedom to grow in this area, but having boundaries and consequences if he goes beyond those boundaries will be a great learning experience for him!

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