video games and teenagers

Nancy - posted on 08/01/2014 ( 2 moms have responded )




As a mom, I feel very confused about the whole video game world and all of the time my son spends on Xbox and his computer. He is 15.5, about to be a sophomore. He is a nice kid. He has always been kind-hearted and mellow. He played various sports up until he was about 13 and was never a super star, but was average. The last couple of years he transitioned away from what used to be his core group of friends and gravitated towards more like minded friends. The original core of friends feel like my son has become a hermit (they are into sports). His new friends are really nice kids and I respect his decision to create new friendships (we don't necessarily stay friends with our elementary & middle school friends forever). He does well in school. I am confused because I am concerned about the amount of time he spends alone in his room with technology... I acknowledge that kids socialize differently than we did when I was a kid. How do we know if/when we are doing a disservice to our kids...? So many of my friends' kids who are more social and go to parties are drinking and smoking pot ... Ugh! Any feedback would be helpful...


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Chet - posted on 08/02/2014




If your son has decent friends and is doing well in school I would be inclined not to worry. He's not really a hermit. He cares about things in the outside world. If he had no friends and was refusing to go to school you'd have cause to worry.

I think that part of the reason you're concerned is because you don't know what your son is doing in his room. Have you asked him to show you the games he likes to play, or the websites he likes to visit? He may have online accomplishments he's really proud of. Lots of teens are holed up in their rooms becoming great writers, producing awesome videos, or being top ranked in the world on the computer games that they play. I would start by trying to show a genuine interest in what interests him.

Personally, I feel like 15 going on 16 is too old to be dictating the number of hours a kid can play video games or can be alone in their room. It's reasonable to suggest volunteer opportunities, or to offer to pay for classes if he'd like to start a hobby, but again, I wouldn't push hard. I don't think you've seen any signs of there being a problem.

If a child is grossly neglecting things that need attention the issue is the neglect - its that they aren't getting school work done or whatever. If a teen in high school is getting themselves to school, working to their potential at school, has some social connection with other teens and is doing their fair share of chores around the house it's fair to let them decide what to do with their spare time.

It would be best if the computer, xbox, tv, etc weren't in your son's room. Because of your son's age though, I wouldn't just remove them from his room in a heavy handed way.

I might talk with you son about putting things in a more common area for a variety of reasons - you don't feel like you see him much, you'd like to play xbox with him sometimes, you think everyone in the house should make bedrooms for sleeping and not for technology (there's lots of researching you can show him why this is good). But I would want to move the things out of his room with his support. I would be prepared to sweeten the deal by offering an upgraded setup in a more common.

Ev - posted on 08/02/2014




If you are worried about the amount of time he is using the video games, then you need to step in and put a halt to to that overtime. Give him other choices of things to do during the day and at night give him a cut off time from the games and other technology. If he has a phone have it turned in at bedtime to you. If he has a computer, he should be using it more in the family area rather than alone in his room. There is so many things on line he can get himself into and its hard to know what he is doing if not monitored. Get him into a volunteer group somewhere, get him into a hobby with other people, but just do something. YOU are the parent, and you need to lay the guidelines out and give consequences when needed.

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