Video/Computer Game Addict

[deleted account] ( 12 moms have responded )

I have a 5 year old boy who thinks he is bored anytime he does not have a video game in front of him. It started out as a way for us to practice some of the skills he will need for kindergarten and reinforce the things we work on together such as ABC's, letters, shapes, etc. We used to sit at the kitchen table and do crafts, writing and drawing to practice the skills. He took little interest in it. So I decided to try some educational computer games with his favorite characters. He responded immediately, but now all he wants to do is play on the computer. His fascination has extended to his dad's Xbox and he is playing not so educational games such as Samurai Warrior and other fighting games.

It has gotten to the point he will do nothing but sit and whine about being bored if I don't let him on the computer. I don't think it is healthy to sit and stare at a monitor all day or battle monsters and ninjas at his age. He is learning a lot from the educational games and I spend time with him on the computer. But that is not all I want him to do. How do I get his face out of the games and get his imagination back? I feel horrible I introduced him to such a lazy habit.

I have tried unplugging the games and tv. Spending more time outside now that the weather is nice and other hands on activities. My main problem is that I work full time now and I also attend school . His little sister takes a lot of time also. I feel like I am pulled in so many directions that it is just easier to occupy him with the games so I can get something done! HELP!

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Angie - posted on 04/15/2009

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I'd say if you are okay with video games have him earn the right to play. For every x number of minutes he is physically active or learning something new, he gets 1/4 that many minutes on the video games up to 30 minutes per day. My son bought himself and Xbox after Christmas and the rule for him (he's a sophomore) is that he can play for up to one hour a day on the weekends - and only after all of his homework is done.

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Je - posted on 04/16/2012

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I have a son who is only allowed to play 30 mins a day on school days, and an hour a day on the weekend. This is only if he asks me. He is 13 years old almost 14 and they xbox remains in the living room. I do not buy him games only for special occasions like his birth day and such. He has A's and B's and is passing.I feel like he is addicted he is envolved in sports and stuff but I feel like he is ADDICTED.....

Jennifer - posted on 12/11/2011

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Finally a parent with sense! You used it as a learning tool and recognized when it became a problem and took reasonable steps to stop it. I commend you on being a parent and not a helpless adult like so many people on here!

Jody - posted on 05/19/2011

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That last comment is what got you to this situation in the first place. You need to remove the computer from the household for awhile until he makes friendships and takes time outside to hang and play with kids. Get him into another sport of somekind that he is good at or interested in like karate or something too. It's time to step outside the box and take a deep look at the impact you have on your childs' future. If he is in this state now at 5? Time to look in the mirror and reflect on the impact of how you are dividing your time with your family. Perhaps considering a BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB to keep him occupied in a more engaged and positive way so that he can see fun in other ways. Good luck

[deleted account]

Thanks for all the advice. I am a computer addict from way back and my parents never put restrictions on my used of it. So I really had no idea how real moms di it. I am developing a plan in my head and about to present it to him. Boy, its gonna be hard. But with the cabin fever of winter gone, I am hoping it will go smoothly. So far he has taken a break from the xbox for an entire week and has played on his computer a couple days. So thanks again.

Lori - posted on 04/18/2009

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Definitely I would limit the time to 1/2 hour - 1 hour per day, unless you also have him watching TV. American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 1 hr per day total screen time for this age. Keep it to educational games, also. Have it at a consistent time, maybe when you need to put dinner on/ take care of your daughter, so it's predictable and it is also predictable when that hour's up (timer, 10 min and 5 min warning, etc.)

Julie - posted on 04/17/2009

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My son is 6 and addicted to video games, it doesn't help that my husband is too lol! Our rule is that absolutely no video games on school days. He gets to play on the weekend for a few hours, usually with my husband. We don't have cable or satellite so that is really the only TV time he has unless we all watch a movie together as a family. If he doesn't do his chores or is having a bad attitude about something then he doesn't get to play at all. It works for us!

[deleted account]

I don't think video games don't cause ADD, but they do reinforce the pathways in the brain that promote ADD behaviours if a child has it. ADD children are right brained whereas others are left brained and video games/TV reinforce those pathways which is why 1) ADD children usually like video games and 2) it is not so good for them to play them often. Anyways that is a side issue. 

Dianna - posted on 04/14/2009

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OK, vidoe games are a priviledge, and the chil is old enough now to earn them. Any simple task he does (homework, chores, even time playing outside) can be spent as time earned towards video games. Say he spends 1/2hr cleaning his room, give him a 1/2 hour on the box. Buy a kitchen timer and set it. When time is up, it beeps and he gets off the machine or the consequence ca be losing his priviledges for the next day.



This is working really well with my 6 year old.



And tell him only boring people get bored!

Becky - posted on 04/14/2009

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I had the same problem with my 9 year old son last year. He didn't want to do anything but play his Playstation 2. He was struggling with school, then I found some research showing that video games can cause ADD. I toke the game system away from him instantly. Now we play video games on Saturdays only! I explained to my son that the games seemed to be affecting his school work, and he just excepted it. It makes Saturdays very special for him.... but I do limit his time. His school work is improving and I feel much better when he is playing outside or with his friends, rather than sitting in the floor playing video game.

[deleted account]

It is true it's easier to put him in front of a game, but it is not more loving. If I were you I would lock them in your bedroom or a closet where he cannot get to them and not let him have them. Then maybe once a month bring them out for half an hour for fun and play with him. Make it special with the two of you. He will find other things to do. 



I have a 6 y/o who loves video games, however we don't have any and we just cancelled our cable as he was bored if we wouldn't let him watch tv. Now there is no TV to watch. With Spring here it's easier to get kids outside climbing trees, riding bikes, and playing. 



If you give in to his whining he knows he has found a way to get what he wants. Be firm and eventually the whining will stop and his creativity will begin to flow again.

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