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What to do if your child is addicted to video games

August 28th, 2008 / 5 Comments

Parents: Don’t be afraid to go with your gut feeling.

If you see your children spending too much time and obsessing over video games, and you feel something is wrong with that, you are probably right.

It’s time to get rid of the games.

Don’t second guess yourself: “That’s just what kids do nowadays, isn’t it?”, “It’s just another hobby, like football, isn’t it?”, “Aren’t I being too strict and overprotective if I don’t allow my kids to play video games?”

Parents: We know our children best. Trust your gut feeling.

It’s time to get rid of the games.

The Bruners in their book Playstation Nation tell their own experience in getting rid of their game system:

1. They threw it out into the trash a few hours before the trash pick up. There is no chance of fishing it back out of the trash can.

2. They did not sell it on eBay. They didn’t feel right about possibly contributing to other kids’ problems. It seemed like a “waste” but a dollar value cannot be placed on conscience.

3. They gave back to their kids the money they spent on the game system and games. The kids weren’t being punished, but rather it was a choice of values. Since some of the games were bought by the children’s own birthday and Christmas money, the Bruners gave them back the money and they used it to develop other interests: board games, summer camp, golf clubs, vacations.

4. The kids went through a season of depressive moods and agitation. Much like smokers going cold turkey, it took 6 months for their son to move through the withdrawal process.

5. The kids had to face a certain amount of ridicule. While their friends are talking about the latest games and high scores, the Bruner kids were left out of the primary point of connection for boys.

6. The parents had to face hostility. Thanks to  “those overprotective parents,” something that the kids loved doing had been yanked away.

I can only imagine how hard it must have been. It takes an incredible amount of support, encouragement, and resolve to persevere through getting over video game addiction.

Was it worth it?

The Bruners recount the story of Jonathan, a 23-year-old recovering video game addict. Starting in elementary school, he played 5-6 hours of video games everyday throughout his life.

What advice would Jonathan offer to parents with a child like himself?

“Get rid of it, completely, entirely. I wish my mom had done that.”

“I would not have been happy about it for months probably. But I don’t think it’s the chldren’s decision how the house is run. If parents honestly do believe it shouldn’t be in the house, it’s irrelevant whether or not the kids are going to be upset, because if [the parents] are doing it for the kids’ good in the long run, it’s worth a little bit of pain now. And certiany worth the joy that will come later because of that choice.”

Read other posts in this series –

Video Game Addiction

Internet Use Contract

Enforcing Computer/Video Game Limits

Is Playing Computer/Video Games That Bad?

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  1. I’m sure it doesn’t make it any easier that a lot of parents/adults enjoy playing the games too (whether they admit it or not).

    No one wants to be a hypocrite.

  2. Stationary Guy: You’re right. And throwing the thing out will improve the parents’ lives too. 🙂

  3. my daughter is just 4 but she is very interested in pc games, etc.

  4. You’re doing good work. I’m like Jonathan was.

  5. this article=picture of trash


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