Video game addiction. Talk amongst yourselves.

We are the happy owners of a Nintendo Wii. We fit the demographic to a T; the kids play a bit in the afternoon, and then Rael and I fire up Guitar Hero after hours. (I made a full confession on All in good fun, right?

The dark side of electronic entertainment, in our house at least, is that it's too fun. I find that our basement playroom (the same room that houses the TV) has become woefully underused since the Wii moved in. It's not that my kids spend hours playing — we have a 30-minutes-of-screen-time-before-dinner rule (either TiVo or Wii), slightly relaxed on weekends. We read lots of books, play lots of board games, hang out and roughhouse, all that. The TV's off after dinner. Despite all of this, the other toys have become "boring." I'm hearing more whining and surly requests for more game time. I'm watching my kids avoid getting engaged with other projects lest they "miss" their game playing window. It's alarming.

Not every kid with a video game console at home acts this way. There are plenty who will play for a pleasantly diverting amount of time then run outside happily to ride bikes. It's just one of many things to do. Other kids, however, become almost dependent on their game time. Video game "addiction" — it's an inflammatory term, but it's not so far-off — can become a real problem. As much as my husband I enjoy playing it, I'm thinking that the only way to return some balance to my kids' notion of fun is to unplug the Wii for a while.

I'd love to hear others' experiences with video game addiction. How does game time play out in your family?


  1. Thorsdaddy says

    I don’t know, because my son is 14 months old, but I’m just wondering… what if you released all limitations on WII time, as an experiment, and discussed it beforehand? I’m wondering if the 30 minute limitation makes it much more exciting then it is because it’s forbidden fruit.

    I would consider saying, ok kids, as an experiment, we’re going to try to remove all limits on the WII for a month. We’re trusting you to not spend all of your time vegging out and if we see that you can’t handle it, then the we’ll just get rid of the system. I bet that for a while they’ll play play play play and after a few weeks, they’ll get sick of it, and realize that ‘as much as you want’ is really only half an hour to an hour a day. Probably more time then you want, but I suspect it will be more reasonable when they are moderating instead of the WII standing as a shining fruit guarded by you, playing the role of the angel with drawn sword. :-)

  2. Patti says

    I gotta say, my initial reaction was similar to ThorsDaddy, though I would have hesitated to say so. There’s always the possibility that, should you go for the experiment, your patience runs out before the kids “familiarity breeds contempt” reflex kicks in… which would simply serve to justify your initial grrr feelings about the whole deal. But then, most experiments do involve risk.

    I would just hope that the years you’ve had of teaching moderation have had an effect, and allowing them flexibility to have a taste of the junk-life would be a thrilling bit of freedom that would soon pale. Or at least reach an acceptable plateau.

  3. Joie says

    We have a 6 year old who loves to play video games mostly because I love to play video games. My DH plays when we all play. We do our best to teach our son self-moderation. We do not set a specific limit on how much he can play. We do notice that he doesn’t play if we’re not playing too. It may because he’s an only child and only wants to play when there’s someone else playing. My nephew used to live with us and they would play for as long as we let them.
    I do know that my son would prefer to ride his bike or go to the park than play video games. He’s chosen that over video games all the time.

  4. T G says

    I’ve got this same dilemma at home. My kids all love to play on the Wii, Xbox 360 or the DS. I’m a very avid gamer, but I also play in moderation. Maybe 3-4 hours a week.

    As my kids have gotten older and more able to play these consoles they all seem to lose their interest in the other toys, bikes, etc. They rely on the consoles or TV to entertain themselves.

    We implemented the media ticket system that another person had suggested here on parent hacks. The kids each get 6-8 tickets depending on their age, each worth 30 minutes of play time. They know that if their work is done then they can use their tickets. We don’t moderate the ticket usage very much, but they know that if they use all their tickets at the first of the week then they will not get to play anymore for the rest of the week. It helps them be more responsible for their own time and keeps us from having to constantly tell them NO. If they have their work done and still have media tickets then the answer is usually yes.

    The idea of giving points to the kids for doing certain things that was posted yesterday was a brilliant idea. I may try to implement that instead of the media tickets as I’m trying to teach the principle that work comes before play.

  5. Mark says

    Well, my wife and I recently had to tell my four year old son that the Wii was broken due to his addiction to Super Monkey Ball 2 (for those not familiar, think of those old marble in a maze games). It got to the point where one of the first things he’d do in the morning is ask if he could fire up the Wii.

    We’ve found that it’s hard to keep the kids away from the TV/Video Games during the winter time because they’re cooped up in the house all day. It’s challenging to find something that my four, three and one year olds all want to do together and will keep them occupied for an extended period of time. At least when it’s warmer they’re all content to run around in our yard.

  6. marjorie says

    i did a column on this subject not long ago; my husband and i are, sadly, not on the same page when it comes to gaming. it’s hard to hack when we don’t agree on whether something is healthy or not!
    the upshot: my husband really LOVES bonding with josie over a game i think she’s really not emotionally ready for. (whereas with the wii, our only issues are about teaching good sportsmanship — we both agree that we adore our family wii time, and that it’s healthy!)

  7. AmyL says

    Screen time is something I’ve worried about quite a bit. My boys would skip eating if I didn’t insist they pull away from the computer as recently as a few months ago. Because of that, I’ve been strongly anti-video game for years and we’ve not owned one.

    Then I noticed my older boys going over to other kids’ house to play, and it suddenly hit me: If I want to know what they’re playing and make sure it’s appropriate I had better change my attitude and join the current century. So, Hubby bought a Wii right before Christmas.

    One thing he did that I think has been helpful is to insist that the Wii belongs to Hubby and not to the boys. We didn’t open it up until after the holiday was over, and we just got a couple of games to start. In fact, we’re expecting a new game in the mail this week for the first time since we bought it.

    Between the computer games and the Wii, the boys spent hours facing screens yesterday (after finishing their schoolwork). Today, they haven’t looked at any machine for more than a few minutes, not even the television as far as I know. My house is trashed with blankets and chairs forming various barriers and an elaborate imaginary game has been raging for over an hour. All that to say that while a day may be heavily tilted toward one activity or another, things seem to balance out in the bigger picture.

    I think once the novelty wears off of any game (and adjustments made for weather related issues) kids tend to balance back out and play with their other toys. I do find it necessary to say “go outside and play Mr.” and probably will for years to come. But it’s not as much of a battle, and as the boys age we’re finding games to play together.

    Oh! One more point. Having the Wii has been an encouragement to get out and try some new sports, since the real life version of ping pong is so much more fun than the virtual. :) That’s been good for our family as well.

  8. dan says

    As a slightly side point, how bout not having a fixed time, but a fixed amount of time to play? That is to say 30 min a day, but not fixed “before dinner” That way they would not “avoid getting engaged with other projects lest they “miss” their game playing window”

    Maybe even let them save up time, maybe up to a max amount. That way if they have something going on they don’t necessarily loose their window

  9. Christiane says

    My take on video game addiction is the same as my take on any addiction: some people just have addictive personalities. I am one of those people. We don’t have cable for this reason. If we had it, I would watch TV ALL THE TIME.

    It doesn’t have to be a dogmatic thing. You don’t have to be “anti-video-game” in order to decide to get rid of the Wii. I have no problem with other people owning a Wii. You can simply admit that you (or your children) are unable to have a healthy relationship with the thing. And that takes a lot of strength and personal honesty.

    I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to own a Wii! We tried them out at Six Flags last year (they had a Wii room!) and had so much fun. But I also know that I would immediately become obsessive about it, and so would my kids. For our sanity, it is best to go play on special occasions like when we hit up Dave & Busters, a friend’s house, or go back to Six Flags :-)

  10. Neal says

    I think Asha was on the right track in suggesting that, when it comes to games and “videogame addiction,” the severity of the issue and the necessary solutions will vary wildly by child. But it sounds to me like what you really have there is a very fine disciplinary tool. You’ve found something that your child loves to do, and just like any other activity in the world, as a parent you need to make sure that they don’t do that one activity to the exclusion of everything else. So video games become the carrot for everything else that requires a little more coercion on your part. It is well within one’s duty as a parent – even a cool, geeky, techie parent – to unplug the Wii and tell the kids that they’ll have to entertain themselves for a while (a vital human skill if there ever was one).

    What I sense in the post and some of the comments, though, are really concerns about the quality of the activity, and a parallel judgment about games. That’s what irks many people about the “addiction” label so much. There are a lot of activities that people really enjoy doing, but we only call it “addiction” when we distrust the object of affection. It turns a hobby into a pathology. Henry Jenkins and Kurt Squire have written too competently on the issue for my own words to really add anything here:

    The most relevant point to me being that we need to understand what makes the video games so compelling and figure out how to use that to our advantage as parents. I think the commenter who mentioned the points system is on to it: fight games with games.

  11. Parent Hacks Editor says

    What excellent comments. Let me be absolutely clear — I think the Wii is a wonderful toy. Unlike some of the other consoles, it really does seem to be something we can all do and enjoy together, so this is not a “video games are evil” rant. It’s just so scary to see that “addictive personality” come out in one’s child.

  12. Brick Andrews says

    Our son (6 yrs) loves Super Mario Galaxy. Ironically, he loves talking about the game, making up stories with about the characters and reading his Prima Super Mario Galaxy Official Game book than he likes playing the actual game! So I think he is actually “addicted” to the game content than the Wii or the video game itself. Anyone else with similar experiences?

    BTW, my wife and I share concerns about too much TV and video games, but I admit: I love the Wii!

  13. Amy says

    I always hated video games until the Wii came out and with the physical and interactive side of it I can’t get enough of it!

  14. jen says

    Having a husband who is a big video game fan – we own the WII, PS2, and three DS’s for our three boys. I find that they exhibit the ‘addictive personality’ only when they have recently received a new game. Once the novelty wares off, they don’t want to play the systems as much. To combat this – I usually lift their restrictions during special occasions and a few days afterwards so they can play and master the new game and then we are back to normal and they don’t seem to be asking me to play the new game every ten minutes. We also limit all new video game purchases to birthdays and Christmas. I try to buy the more ‘active’ games for the WII that the whole family can play and also reserve the DS for things like long trips and Dr. appointments. As my kids get older and involved in sports and other activities – they don’t have allot of time to play video games anyway.

  15. Amy says

    We bought a Wii in early January for our family (kids are 8 and 5). We have a “no Wii during the week” policy. The kids can play starting Friday evening through Sunday night. They never ask to play during the week – yet.

    My son, the younger sibling, would play endlessly on Sat/Sun if I let him, but I usually set the timer for 30 minutes and he’ll play a little at a time throughout the weekend. My daughter frequently gets involved in some other activity and will forgo her turn on the Wii if she is doing something else.

    If my son’s “passion” for playing Wii becomes unmanageable at some point, we have talked about setting up a point system like the one someone mentioned here the other day.

  16. Rachel says

    We have a wii – and it’s known as “Daddy’s game.” But, we do let the children, ages 4 and 6, play. It’s been great, because it’s something we do as a whole family, standing up and playing skee ball or bowling or something else, and interacting with each other during it. It’s been a great family activity that we do once in a while. The kids don’t expect it every day, probably because we never set up the precedent of it being available every day. I feel the wii is much better than other video game systems out there for this reason: It promotes physical activity and interaction, and not simply zoning out in front of a screen. I think it is therefore probably not as addicting, either, but just fun.

  17. none says

    We don’t have a Wii…my son is 2.5. (But my 31-yr old husband would love it…I know I would too!) Anyway, in trying to put myself in your shoes, I think putting a moratorium on the Wii for a while (1 week, maybe even a month) is a good idea. Good luck!

  18. Ashley says

    We don’t have a Wii…my son is 2.5. (But my 31-yr old husband would love it…I know I would too!) Anyway, in trying to put myself in your shoes, I think putting a moratorium on the Wii for a while (1 week, maybe even a month) is a good idea. Good luck!

  19. Ginger says

    I am wondering if this is your first game player, and if you haven’t had it that long?

    We allow our children to play the Wii on Friday afternoons and Saturdays, for limited amounts of time. They must get chores and piano practice done first.

    At first, there was lots of whining, but once the boys realized I wasn’t going to give in, they began to go with the flow. They usually try to play as soon as they can, and once it is time to turn it off, they find other ways to amuse themselves…

    My advice is to be firm with whatever rules you have, and eventually the kids will realize that whining doesn’t help, and they will find other things to do.

  20. Madonna says

    I’m a teacher, and this is my take on the issue. Video games, especially the Nintendo DS and WII systems, teach exceptional hand eye coordination, problem solving, and logic skills. In my experience, children whom are allowed to play games do better in school, especially in math subjects.

    What parents should strive for is DIVERSITY in their children’s activities. Involve your children in at least one club, and READ as a family. That way, in one day, your children can read for an hour, go to their Art club for an hour, and then play their video games for an hour. This works especially well for school-age children.

    Eventually, your children learn to self-moderate the time they spend on each activity, and with an early emphasis on diverse activities, you shouldn’t have to worry about any kind of addiction.

    Proud owner of a Nintendo Wii, DS, XBox, XBox360, and Playstation 2 who spends less than 5 hours a week in front of them.

  21. tripleblessings says

    At our house there is a similar concern with Webkinz time on the computer. We vary the amount of time the 3 kids can play, depending on what else is happening that day. Might be only 15 minutes per child on a busy day, up to 45 minutes on a quiet weekend. The computer time comes only when other responsibilities have been taken care of, like reading for school or practising piano. We have 3 children who take turns on the computer, sometimes before supper or sometimes after supper, or on a Saturday morning, whenever the parents give permission to play. We use a kitchen timer to mark their playing time.
    Happily, the kids also enjoy many other types of play, reading and physical activity. But the recently increased computer time does take away from some free play and reading time. I hope the novelty will wear off in a few months and we’ll see more balance.

  22. Carrie says

    I personally believe that restrictions tend to only encourage obsessions with the limitation, be it games, food, clothing, whatever. In my experience releasing a restriction at first results in complete obsession with an activity, but it tapers off and eventually the child will self-moderate. At least that’s how it’s been working in our family!

  23. radmama says

    This is an emotional topic for me at the moment. Our 12 year old son does exhibit obsessive and addictive behaviour around video games.

    He talks about feeling that he doesn’t want to do anything else- ride his bike, play with friends, read his books- when he’s playing. All he can think about is the computer time. All he can talk about is computer time and what his friends are allowed to play (Halo is a particularly coveted title.)

    He has limits on the games he plays (no major violence) and has 30-60 minutes of screen time a day. If he does get more than 60 minutes of computer time, he’s a cranky emotional wreck.

    He doesn’t seem to be able to self-limit computer time. (Heck, I Can’t self-limit computer time, especially if there are games involved.)

    At his father’s home, he can play as many hours as he wants and has fewer limits on the kind of game. He comes home a complete wreck.

    What’s a mother to do? The video game demons are making early adolescence hellish.

  24. Jenny says

    If I let my 5 year old play without any limits, he’s the type that would certainly never see the light of day.
    So in our particular case, our son is limited to playing the Wii only on Fridays and weekends. Even then, his time on it is limited because he can become so absorbed. He’s got his daddy’s “gamer” genes in him!

  25. Parent Hacks Editor says

    radmama: I firmly believe there’s a temperament/genetic/brain component to this. There’s obviously no one-size-fits-all solution (there never is!), but I just wanted to let you know that we see the same sort of obsession here. I’m with ya.

    This is why I’m thinking complete removal may be the only way, extreme as it sounds.

  26. Stacey says

    We got a Wii a month ago. My boys are 5 and 4. The Wii saw a lot of use the first couple of weeks by the older one. The younger wasn’t that into it. I limited the older one’s time to 45 minutes, the length of a video the younger one could choose (we only have 1 tv, they have to share) I was concerned the Wii might be too involving but by the end of the third week the older one was limiting himself and the younger one was taking an interest in some of the Sports games. But they only play in small bursts of maybe 10-15 minutes & then go do other things for a couple hours.
    We don’t have any games but Sports & Play. We rent a game a week & the day we rent it usually sees some extended game time, naturally, but slacks off after that & no one complains when it is time to return it. We’ve made the decision not to own any other games for awhile. The next birthday or other gift giving occasion isn’t until October & we are not going to buy any until then, just rent. We want them to get used to the idea of having the games, but not be overwhelmed with options to play.

  27. radmama says

    Parenthack editor- Thank you. Nice to know that we’re not the only addicts.
    Addictive personalities and tendencies towards self-medication
    in my extended family probably make me hyper sensitive to the issue.

    Any thoughts on what you will do once your kids are able to buy or rent games with their own money?

    There’s a whole other dilemma.

  28. hedra says

    Well, I’m the one with the game addiction issue in our house, so we have no game consoles. I love quality games, but I am one who would ignore all health, hygeine, social function, etc., for the sake of a game. I love my sleep (LOVE my sleep), but I’d give up sleep to play (insert whatever).

    So, no game system for now.

    Which isn’t to say the kids haven’t asked. My answer, when the eldest asked, was to ask him what he’d give up (not counting homework or sleep or meal time) in order to have game time. If (when) he can come up with a good answer for that, we will discuss again. But even he, when posed the question, could not find anything he’d prefer to not do, so that he could play video games. There was no sibling-free-play, no lego time, no family time, no solitary time that he’d rather do without. So, with tears in his eyes and regret and desire all over his face, he agreed that no, a game system just didn’t make sense.

    I also told him he’d have to fight me for the system if we got one, but that was a separate issue…

    He plays at his aftercare program (I stare over his shoulder when I pick him up, and then try to extract myself again – the itch to just sit down and have him show me how to play… argh). He plays at the houses of friends/family who have standards I trust. Eventually, we might get a Wii, if anything. But… still challenging for me. It maybe makes it easier to not have the system because his MOM might get addicted. He doesn’t show the same quality of addiction – deep focus, yes, but not quite the same degree. Not sure yet about the other kids.

    Anyway, for us, the answer was BEFORE we get the game system, figure out where it fits in our lives.

    Granted, eldest son is also the child who said to me, ‘I’d like to stop doing X activity (that I enjoy) because the practice time means I have to rush on my homework, which I’d rather not do, and I also have less free play time, and I like my free play time.’ At, oh, 8 years old. So, he’s kind of on his own planet for self-awareness and maturity.

  29. Judie says

    I believe this motto; “Everything in moderation.” Of course, that’s everything that is good. I think video games are part of our lives just like computers. It’s ok to play it just like it’s ok to go outside and play. I limit the video time to 30 minutes because let’s face it, how much time do the kids have left after school, homework, and dinner until bedtime?
    If you’ve just started the Wii with the kids, chances are the honeymoon will be over soon and the novelty will lose its appeal. If not, then explain that non-video game playing is just as important and fun, then engage yourself with them in that other type of play. Mentoring helps enormously.

  30. Jean says

    Not having videogames, computers, video, or tv accessible to our six year old means that this afternoon when we arrived home from school, the very first thing she did was to ask for permission to go outside to collect seed pods from the wisteria vine, now that a bunch are on the ground. Sure, I said. Just zip up your coat. (We live in New England.) So, happy as a clam in the wet winter mud, outside she went – to make observations about the very large, colorful seeds, and to speculate on what they would need in order to sprout. She brought some inside to show me. There was much talk about bringing them to school to share with her friends or perhaps planting one at school to see what happens.

    In our family, we believe that “What you are doing is what you are becoming.”

    It’s a joy to see her becoming a person who has no fear of the outdoors – whether frozen, wet, windy, or dirty – and who has a deep curiosity about the natural world.

  31. Katherine says

    As a stepmom of two lovely kids (11 and 14), I can say that from my experience the “experiment” of letting them play as much as they want does NOT work! It may with some children, of course, but not these two.

    The youngest has a great imagination, is physically coordinated, like sports, loves to doodle… but would very happily come home from school and play computer games until bedtime, only possibly stopping for dinner. If he doesn’t get to play any video games, he acts like it’s an infringement of his rights and has come very close to tears on several occasions if he’s been busy all day and isn’t allowed to play video games at some point.

    We’ve explained why he shouldn’t go overboard on videogames, we encourage him to read books, and he even gets warnings from the news in the UK (where child obesity has had a big public awareness campaign), and if we ask him how much computer time is a good idea he says “I know I should be sensible”… but he still complains and gets downrigh surly when we tell him he’s had enough screen time for the day.

    If he’s not allowed the video games, he wants to watch videos on youtube or watch a movie.

    His big sister, who is a good reader and even more aware of The Dangers Of Too Much Screen Time, is also perfectly happy to spend an entire Saturday glued to Sims and Lara Croft, or watching youtube videos.

    You can’t blame them for liking it, but I’ve got to almost physically unplug this stuff from the wall to get them to go outside and play.

    Once they get going on something else, they love it, of course. But it’s like the difference between an orange and a chocolate bar. Given the choice between making their own fun and sitting in a room with the computer, the computer always gets picked first.

    We’ve tried limiting screen time, but this only works if both parents are seriously committed to it — e.g. if I tell the kids to get off, but dad doesn’t because he doesn’t want a fight, then they keep playing.

  32. Lisa says

    We have 5 children ranging in age from 18 to 2. My 15yo son most definitely can be a game addict. His younger brothers — ages 9 and 6– like to play the games also, but without the addictive behaviors.

    We gave in about a year ago and let him buy a PS2 system. The boys mostly play sports games and the most violent game we have is Star Wars Battlefront. In that year, I have noticed a change in attitudes–more hostility and disrespect towards each other, unkindness, etc. Perhaps this is just the result of children growing up (especially the teenager) and getting on one another’s nerves, but I do question it.

    In our 18 years of parenting, though, what we have consistently noticed is that the more “screen time” the kids have, whether TV, computer or video games, the more surly and agitated they become, and our family life and their sibling relationships suffer.

    While the addictive behavior is disturbing to see, this “agita”, or unrest in their souls is even more disturbing to me. I dont’ know what causes this agitation…maybe being disassociated from “real” life…I don’t know, but the agitation is real and has been quite consistent over the years. If a child is lashing out, seems generally unhappy or restless, we can normally trace it back to the amount of electronic stimulation they have recently had.

    Consequently, my DH and I were just talking at noontime today about putting the PS2 on ebay. I know the boys will be disappointed (to say the least), but they truly seem more content and more at peace when video games are not available to them. They are happiest when interacting face to face with friends and family.

    This is a difficult issue, since video games are a huge part of our culture now. Obviously, from these comments, not all families have problems with video games and can enjoy them together. That is great. Unfortunately, our time-tested experience with video games has not been positive.

    Thank you for all the comments. They were interesting.

  33. Timmy Mac says

    We started with letting the kids moderate themselves, and then realized what a colossal blunder that was. They went from 0 to junkie very quickly.

    So we, too, had our PlayStation “break” until we figured out a better plan. Now our 6 year old gets 30 minutes a day IF he earns ‘em by doing a few specific things (depending on what we need done or what he needs to work on – chores, exercise, reading, whatever). So far, it’s really working like a charm.

  34. 1stopmom says

    I have to admit my family plays a lot of games. We have Wii, gamecube, psp, xbox, ds and nintendo. We play more in the winter than we do during the summer. I am not too harsh as far as how much time my kids play video games. A majority of the time we all play together. It has taught my kids about being good losers. Plus I was pleasantly surprised that my kids loved golf(because of wii) and I am able to play bowling without hurting my shoulder.Cooking mama is lots of fun too. We sometimes leave it up to the kids to choose what they want to do and it changes every day. One day it is art and crafts or riding bikes. The next day it is playing video games or playing board games. I guess it boils down to what works for your family.

  35. 1stopmom says

    I have to admit my family plays a lot of games. We have Wii, gamecube, psp, xbox, ds and nintendo. We play more in the winter than we do during the summer. I am not too harsh as far as how much time my kids play video games. A majority of the time we all play together. It has taught my kids about being good losers. Plus I was pleasantly surprised that my kids loved golf(because of wii) and I am able to play bowling without hurting my shoulder.Cooking mama is lots of fun too. We sometimes leave it up to the kids to choose what they want to do and it changes every day. One day it is art and crafts or riding bikes. The next day it is playing video games or playing board games. I guess it boils down to what works for your family.

  36. steve says

    Interesting article on my blog about how Game Consoles can be a gateway to porn sites. Parents should be aware of this.

  37. Mr. Gonz says

    i too ama teacher. i believe that video gaming is a healthy thing. it often time shsarpens the mind, improves hand eye coordination and help with things such as problem solving. i am, however, not a fan of violent shooting games. especially not of games such as grand theft auto. its too realistic to be considered fun. why is my character stealing cars, shooting and killing people for a mob boss fun? i totally support the wii however. they have games which are less violent and their shooting games are geared against aliens and things of that nature, not people. you know, remember what games used to be like, where imagination also played alarge role in teh excitemement of gaming. the wii is fun and it doesn’t make my child turn into a zombie just staring at teh screen. but i try to limit his time because if he is anything like me, he will want to play it all the time.

  38. cbearmommy says

    I have a similar problem with my 13 year old son. We actually went to a psychologist to discuss the issue. He said that video games are especially addictive if kids are feeling a sense of “little or no control” over their life, school, friends etc. When you play a video game, you are the master in control, you can beat levels and feel that sense of accomplishment by getting immediate gratification.
    There are so many rewards built in to video games that kids with lower self esteem are easy targets. I’m reading through all the posts and it’s great to get different view points.

  39. Anne Zieger says

    Anyone have a hack on how to protect GameCube disks? My kids tend to pile them on top of one another, drop them on the floor and step on them, plus more. They get scratched and die very quickly!

    Is there a way to protect them without trying to force unruly boys to keep them in perfect order? (We aren’t librarians in my family :-) )

  40. says

    > Anyone have a hack on how to protect GameCube disks?

    yes: let them know YOU will NOT be buying anymore discs if the current discs are not cared for. Make them buy the next disc to reinforce the concept.


    Use the gaming console as a social platform as 20s/30s set do now. This fosters the ‘sharing’ idea parents want to install in young children, while forcing them into a not-playing time while others play. This will help them develop social skills — as you will be monitoring this activity.

    POOR social skills develop if the associate game players are purely virtual. Youth lose out on the real time facial-, spatial-, and emotional feedback they need to develop boundary control.