TV/Video Game Addiction - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 06-06-2009, 12:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I posted about this is the Childhood section too, but I'm wondering if I can get some ideas from parents of other gifted kids too. My 7yo and 4.5yo boys are very bright, creative, interesting kids who used to be interested in everything. But, during my last pregnancy I was beyond exhausted and let them get into a bad habit of watching too much tv. Then my 7yo discovered that there are all kinds of mind-numbing games online (thanks to his computer "class" at school!. So then they've been playing those. And then we got a Wii (DH approved it - I really didn't think we needed ANOTHER way to waste time). So now, this is all they want to do. The new baby is almost 3weeks old and I'm feeling more like myself. I no longer need to snooze half the day away and would like to get back to normal, where we might watch a show or play a game on the computer here and there, but not ALL. THE. TIME. They seriously don't want to do anything else. It's finally summer here and they don't want to play outside! I used to say that my boys would live outside if I let them, but now they just want to sit inside in front of a screen. I'm so sad! DS1 actually asked to go to the library yesterday - something he used to want to do all the time - but then got mad when we got home and I said it was too late to play on the computer (it was time for me to make dinner and I can't do that and supervise the computer at the same time). And when I say got mad, I mean a full blown toddler tantrum. Ugh. I just don't know what to do. I would love to just unplug everything for a month, but I don't know if that's the best way to deal with it. I just want my intelligent, interesting boys back. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
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#2 of 13 Old 06-06-2009, 12:51 AM
 
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If you can handle it with a newborn I think unplugging it for a month may be the perfect way to deal with it. They may just need a detox to get back on track. I know many here will be glad to disagree with me, but especially with younger kids like that I think a firm limit is a good idea.
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#3 of 13 Old 06-06-2009, 09:54 AM
 
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If you can handle it with a newborn I think unplugging it for a month may be the perfect way to deal with it.
I second this. We actually had to unplug everything and remove it to the basement (looking at it drove them crazy). They just need to get used to doing other things. Once they've redeveloped those interests you could reintroduce the screen-monsters and they'll be more moderate users.
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#4 of 13 Old 06-06-2009, 06:24 PM
 
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We're going to do a version of the "unplugging" this summer. We're going on a 2 week vacation where there will be limited access to TV and no access to computer games and so the kids will be forced to find other interests. Then we're going to be much stricter about TV when we get home. Dh wants to limit it to 2 hours, I want it down to an hour.

Ds has currently spent all of today (and I do mean from 9 am to 2 pm currently) playing RollerCoaster Tycoon. I'm sort of wondering whether he'll just get tired of it, but I also think he has to develop other interests. (It'll also help that the weather should shift by the time we're back and so it'll be more fun to play outside.)

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#5 of 13 Old 06-07-2009, 10:12 PM
 
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We have a one-hour per day limit of screen time. We also add in TV-free weeks on occasion. You could try a TV free week and then introduce a limited amount of time, if you wanted to allow some screen time.
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#6 of 13 Old 06-07-2009, 10:31 PM
 
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Is there some sort of correlatoin between giftedness and screen addiction?? i ask because dh was a serious tv addict as a child.

i was never so interested -- i always had an emotionally cathected relationship with one show at a time, and that is my relationship with tv to this day (though i think i should unplug). though if dd were to hav a 1/2 to 1 hr a week habit i guess it wouldn't be the end of the world, compared to some.

i also ask because we have been tv-free with her but i am tempted to introduce a video to survive an upcoming flight. however, i don't want her watching it outside of that context.
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#7 of 13 Old 06-08-2009, 08:45 AM
 
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Dh and I were using the tv as a crutch during the winter and it came to a head in late spring (I am pg as well). Everything with both girls was focused on getting a chance to watch a video. So, one night I told dh to pack the tv away while the girls slept. He did that and rearranged the room, so there wasn't a "hole" where the tv once was. When they first came down in the morning dd#1 was asking about the tv and was quite focused on it's whereabouts. By the afternoon things had calmed down quite a bit. Now, 3 weeks later, they don't even miss it. They play nicer with each other now and dh and I are reading to them much more. We didn't have to worry about the computer because they basically don't use it. But, if it became an issue like the tv we would just do the same thing.

I really think the keys for us were packing it away and lessening the physical appearance that something was missing.

Good luck!

Beth

Beth wife to Tom and mommy to Therese 11/4/04 Anna Mary 6/15/07 and Veronica 10/20/09
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#8 of 13 Old 06-20-2009, 10:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry I haven't responded... I'm not quite as energetic as I thought, since I haven't been able to stay up late enough to go online lately!

Anyway, I appreciate all your responses. I think we may just unplug for a while. I'll be miserable at first, but I think it'll be worth it. I just have to plan some distractions for the first few days.
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#9 of 13 Old 06-20-2009, 04:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by VanessaS View Post
I second this. We actually had to unplug everything and remove it to the basement (looking at it drove them crazy). They just need to get used to doing other things. Once they've redeveloped those interests you could reintroduce the screen-monsters and they'll be more moderate users.
Bolding mine. Great point, as another poster mentioned actually moving furniture around to remove the gaping hole. OP, if you are going to go cold turkey, I'd definitely remove and rearrange.

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Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
We're going to do a version of the "unplugging" this summer. We're going on a 2 week vacation where there will be limited access to TV and no access to computer games and so the kids will be forced to find other interests.
We just did this in May. 1 week in Italy, no computer, no tv (OK, there was one, but all in italian, so same as none). We all had a blast at the pool, hikes in the woods, play grounds, visiting various small towns and larger cities.... Neither DS nor DD mentioned the computer at all. I thought when we came back they would be on it like glue. Actually, DS didn't do more than look at a game or two for two days, but DD was all over it. Similar thing happened today. We spent 5 hours at an outdoor sculpture exhibit by the ocean, lots of walking. When we got back DS then spent another 3 hours outdoors, while DD came right to the computer. What I am saying is, this is a good start, but cause and effect may be different than you expect.

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Originally Posted by boysmom2 View Post
Sorry I haven't responded... I'm not quite as energetic as I thought, since I haven't been able to stay up late enough to go online lately!

Anyway, I appreciate all your responses. I think we may just unplug for a while. I'll be miserable at first, but I think it'll be worth it. I just have to plan some distractions for the first few days.
Sound like you made up your mind. FWIW, I find activities work, even if you don't completely unplug. For example, if I tell DS or DD they need to get off the computer and do something else, then they whine and complain. If instead, I say we are going to the big play ground, we are going shopping, we are going to paint... something concrete, then the whining is cut in half. Or I offer options, like, "we are getting off the computer now. Do you want to go see the fish or go to the play ground?" They often say No, I want to play XYZ on the computer. But if I give a firm no, and still offer them the two choices, they get out of whining quick.
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#10 of 13 Old 06-23-2009, 11:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by AllisonR View Post

Sound like you made up your mind. FWIW, I find activities work, even if you don't completely unplug. For example, if I tell DS or DD they need to get off the computer and do something else, then they whine and complain. If instead, I say we are going to the big play ground, we are going shopping, we are going to paint... something concrete, then the whining is cut in half. Or I offer options, like, "we are getting off the computer now. Do you want to go see the fish or go to the play ground?" They often say No, I want to play XYZ on the computer. But if I give a firm no, and still offer them the two choices, they get out of whining quick.
This is a good point. I had been announcing that their time was up, but not offering alternatives. This week I'm changing that. Yesterday they were painting and we went to the library. Today we had the pool out and tomorrow will be the beach. I'm hoping that after a while of no screen time and lots of activities they'll regain the ability to entertain themselves.

Thanks everybody!
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#11 of 13 Old 06-24-2009, 12:27 AM
 
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My boys are VERY keen on the computer, not so much TV as we are basically TV free. I have a chart on the wall and they are allowed 3 hours a week of computer time each. They slot in their time on the chart and that's it.

I was sick with a head cold a few weeks ago and had the worse headache I just had to lie down and I let them have the computer for a few hours straight. They were disappointed when I recovered.

Katherine, SAHM to 2 little princes
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#12 of 13 Old 06-24-2009, 05:24 PM
 
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We found a 1-hour limit of screen time was very helpful. Though with younger children you can just "break" the TV. As in "sorry it is broken and we can't fix it. "
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#13 of 13 Old 06-25-2009, 09:19 AM
 
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Hmph. Just wanted to "fess up" and inform you guys that the TV has moved to a permanent, undisclosed basement location. I'm so sick of the whining and fighting and crying over the TV.
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