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Too much video game/TV time? - Page 2

post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by tankgirl73 View Post


So the pragmatic real fact is that he *needs* external guidance.  He needs it in order to build up (through habit and practice) his own internal framework so that later in life he *can* have independence.  Some kids just don't have internal structure to manage their own time.  

So for kids with any kind of issue with self-regulation, an externally imposed structure can be *freeing*.  It sounds contrary to unschooling principles, I know, but I believe that it's the better option for certain kinds of kids.  Within the context of this external structure, my son has a lot of freedom to choose his own activities, and I follow his lead on academic choices as well, so I still try to follow the *meaning* of unschooling, the heart of it, if not the letter of it.


ITA. Some of what I have been trying to say in my threads (not that I have a lot!) and I can't seem to get it out right. You are using your own instincts and life experience to facilitate your ds's learning in the way that best seems to fit his needs, even if those needs are not exactly what he desires.

OP, trust your instincts. Although we have generally unrestricted media, I reserve the right to intervene or limit if I feel it is becoming counter-productive. I also set expectations, as in sleeping generally has to occur at night and volume has to be kept at reasonable levels, as well as outside coursework takes priority over gaming (for those who are taking outside courses). It really has been OK since I learned to trust myself as well as my kids in this area.
Edited by Tigeresse - 1/26/12 at 11:23am
post #22 of 32

I had an awful professor college who liked to give us very very open-ended assignments we didn't have the background to succeed at and chuckle that he was "giving us enough rope to hang ourselves".  I remember that when I am trying to figure out how much freedom to give my kids-- is it a joyful happy kind of freedom, or is it a stress-inducing, overwhelming kind of freedom.

post #23 of 32


When we unschooled DD1 didn't do well with too much freedom, DD2 loved it.  All kids are different.  Just go with what you feel is right. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by onatightrope View Post

I had an awful professor college who liked to give us very very open-ended assignments we didn't have the background to succeed at and chuckle that he was "giving us enough rope to hang ourselves".  I remember that when I am trying to figure out how much freedom to give my kids-- is it a joyful happy kind of freedom, or is it a stress-inducing, overwhelming kind of freedom.



 

post #24 of 32

How do you enforce limits on screens without physical struggles or battes?

post #25 of 32

Honestly we would unplug the TV and the router to the computer during certain hours and we led by example.

post #26 of 32

No screens until 3pm, Monday through Friday unless it is directly related to school or they have mine or DH's permission.  Some of my kids do school online, but the lap top is in a public (kitchen or living room) area.  Honestly, my kids would rat each other out, plus the computer is password protected.

post #27 of 32

This is a challenging subject to me, given my boyfriend is a video game addict.  It's hard to get my kids to limit their screen time when I used to spend much of my day working at the computer (research and writing as a freelance writer) and they see my boyfriend (the youngest's dad) playing video games for most of his free time.  It was that much harder having a video game addict for a father and a mom that wasn't far behind.  It means I have a hard time regulating myself too.  I understand how hard it is, even if there is something else I really want to do.

 

Think of it this way, when I was a kid there were points when I'd say to myself, "I really want to finish that really good book...but I'm so close to figuring out the water temple in Ocarina of Time!  I'll just do that, then I'll read."  Of course, it takes me twice as long as expected to get through the temple, and then there's this plot stuff.  Next thing I know I'm on to the next story line, not because there aren't other things to do, but I'm having fun!  It's like living an adventure.

 

Sometimes it's not about the lack of something else that's fun to do, but the fact that video games are dynamic and engaging.  Get the right kind of game and it's like living a story.  Different people play for different reasons, but even now I can admit that it's sometimes hard to put it down when I've just got to figure out how to get by this one thing so I can get to the next part of the story line.  It's one of the most interactive things a person can do alone.

 

So, what got me to kick my gaming habit as a kid (and to at least work on limiting myself as an adult)?  The first was a game called Hero Quest.  It's a board game that's kind of an intro to Dungeons and Dragons style role playing games.  That got me into actual gaming with actual people.  I've got to admit, to this day I still enjoy the social interaction of tabletop role playing games and LARPs (live action role play).  It brought the interaction of gaming into a social light.  I've noticed that kids start developing the skills required to game naturally around age 8, so this would be a good time for him.

 

Robotics was another big break from gaming for me.  It was interactive, creative, and still involved some screen time of a different kind of programming it.  Lego Mindstorm, though a bit pricey, is great for this, but there are a number of different products that work well.  What I like most about Mindstorm is the number of books and resources available, so you can suggest something for your child to build, then have them show it off to the whole family when they're done.  Younger brothers and sisters are usually impressed by the cool things their older sibling can do.

 

What about just taking some screen-free social time at the end of the day where everyone talks about or shows off something cool that they did that day?  Your son might feel more inspired to explore new things or just do something different so he'll have something new to show off to everyone at the end of the day.  There's nothing wrong with talking about video games, but maybe if he hears all the interesting stuff everyone else is talking about, maybe that will inspire him.  Talking with family is actually the reason I picked up knitting for the first time (but I gave up because I just couldn't seem to get it).

 

Maybe some of the other replies are right and your son would do well to just have some one-on-one time with you or dad.  Perhaps coming up with something you can do together will get him to put down the game for a while.  I know he's an adult, but this always works with my boyfriend!  My eight-year-old daughter is much the same way with television and her DS (before she lost it).  However, if I suggest my boyfriend and I watch a movie together or play a card game, he's off the game in a flash.  With my daughter it's as simple as poking my head in and announcing, "I'm about to make dinner.  Anyone want to help?"  In a flash she's off the game and learning about cooking.  My daughter and my boyfriend both get out of the house to work on his car, whether it's cleaning it or actually doing repairs and maintenance.  The car is their "project car" and my daughter is going to inherit it some day...of course, by then it's going to be a classic!  Everyone gets off the games when I suggest we should play a board game or a card game.  Typically offers of one-on-one time or a family activity pull everyone off of their electronic devices and gets them into something else.

 

I think the best thing you can possibly do to help your son find other interests is for you or some other adult in his life to explore them with him.  From what you said, though, I wouldn't be too worried.  If he's got activities outside the home, he's got a chance to foster other interests there.  They may not be activities he's actively pursuing at home, but he is getting exposure to other activities and has a chance to develop other hobbies.  Personally, I wouldn't be to worried if he's kind of sucked in with the games at home.

post #28 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pookietooth View Post

How do you enforce limits on screens without physical struggles or battes?


Quote:

Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

Honestly we would unplug the TV and the router to the computer during certain hours and we led by example.


I started when my girls were younger and they had no habits regarding screen time.  Even my dh is an addict, so first I made a rules about no TV for us before they are in bed.  We weren't watching much TV to begin with, but dh would turn it on for the news and zone out for the evening, completely unavailable to anyone.  Not cool!  I hate having the TV on in the background and I won't let myself turn the computer on during the day.  Like Imakcerka, turned off all the way back to the router and everything.  For me, it is because I personally find the TV and computer insanely distracting, noisy and addictive.  I like quiet (radio silence), or active listening, not background music and electronic noise.  That is why even though I am an unschooler, screen time is not part of the package yet, and not because of any overriding philosophy.  The girls get their screen time first thing in the day, unless we have sick days and then it's as much as we need.  We have no video games, I think that would be harder being so open-ended.  We have no satellite or cable.  With videos there is no time wasted by commercials, and a definitive end.  Even the girls are more than ready to have it turned off so they can get to their playtime.

 

Having rules for everyone, not just the kids, is extremely important if you go this route.  And setting a good example is important for any approach.  I find it hard to believe that kids could easily self-regulate if one or both parents play for hours on end.

 

post #29 of 32

It's funny how you can go back and re-read a thread and get something out of it that you didn't before. 

 

I think what really struck me is how unavailable you are for him a lot of the time. You're caring for other children and so this limits how often you can take him out places, and he doesn't get much one-on-one time with you. I'm not saying this to make you feel bad, but to point out that it seems pretty likely to me that his issue isn't video games so much as motivation and dealing with filling empty time.

 

My kids have always been really good at playing independently and finding something to do when I'm busy. But I know not all kids are like this. And there are times when they need me to get them motivated, either by taking them out or by having some sit-down time with them (we call it "project time" and they are free to choose anything to work on and they get my undivided attention for one hour). 

 

Basically it sounds like your son is left to find his own things to do most of the time and I think that can be really hard for some kids. Maybe playing video games is just the easiest choice. If you had more time with him (or if someone else could fill in, a mentor, etc) you could take him out places, enroll him in classes, do some sit-down work with him (of his choosing) and help him learn to "fill" those hours. Some people suggest this is a skill that can be learned and that makes sense to me. 

 

I hope I'm not sounding harsh here, I'm not trying to put blame on you, just re-framing the situation. My guess is that your son could use some classes or a mentor or someone to help him find ways to fill his time with interesting stuff. Then eventually he might get better at it on his own. 

post #30 of 32

I've been discovering that with my own son (soon to be 9). He is starting to get really hooked on his screen-time (mostly watching YouTube videos about Minecraft, a video game) and it sort of dawned on me that there is not enough around here to keep his interest, and when he's bored, he defaults to the screen. (much as I might wish he defaulted to reading a book)  So I determined that I am going to get him OUT of the house more often and, now that he is getting older, keep upping the complexity of the kits & stuff I buy for him, so he's always got something new and interesting to do.

post #31 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by NellieKatz View Post

I've been discovering that with my own son (soon to be 9). He is starting to get really hooked on his screen-time (mostly watching YouTube videos about Minecraft, a video game) and it sort of dawned on me that there is not enough around here to keep his interest, and when he's bored, he defaults to the screen. (much as I might wish he defaulted to reading a book)  So I determined that I am going to get him OUT of the house more often and, now that he is getting older, keep upping the complexity of the kits & stuff I buy for him, so he's always got something new and interesting to do.



Same with my 10 yo. Screens are his default if nothing else is around. And, like the OP's ds, my guy is the dependent interactive sort who likes to do things with someone. But he's a little older and becoming better at doing things on his own. He'll even read a graphic novel to himself if I pick up something good. So strewing things and rotating toys are helpful and I try to get him out at least a couple of times a week. It takes being proactive on my part and making sure I don't get lazy with looking for activities and opportunities for him. And now, after taking him out all afternoon, he's going to spend the evening in front of the computer while I go to work for a few hours.

 

post #32 of 32

My ds is very hooked on screens, always has been, and he's definitely not the type to entertain himself. Taking him out is not an option -- he fights it tooth and nail for the most part (we worked out an agreement to go out every other day, but on the days we are supposed to go out he usually tries to get out of it). We live in a small apartment and I am not good at organizing things and everything is a mess (we moved from WA to CA back in Sept. and a lot of boxes, many of them containing his toys, are still unpacked and under a pile of other stuff). Not sure what we can do at this point.

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