Am I just totally mean? re video game limits - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 55 Old 01-10-2011, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Because my 7 yo ds thinks he is completely mistreated and I'm the meanest mommy ever.  He is absolutely obsessed with an online video game called Roblox.  He would play this game 24/7 if he were allowed to.  I tried limiting it to 1 hour per day during the week because he is in school and has homework (which only really takes him about 10 minutes to do), but when the hour is up he will beg and plead and cry for another 15 minutes, etc.  I told him if I had to argue with him at all after the hour, then we wouldn't have it at all during the week, which is where we are now.  Now he's a great student, sweet kid usually, and the game itself isn't bad - it's somewhat architectural - they build cities and stuff.  We are also a very techie family - lots of pc's around the house, video games, it's just the way DH is.  But this game is really an obsession which just doesn't seem healthy.  Just making sure I'm not being completely unreasonable. 

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#2 of 55 Old 01-10-2011, 06:51 PM
 
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I'm with you. I think as parents we need to set limits for our kids, especially with addictive stuff like video games, TV and junk food. DS is 5 and hasn't started video games yet, but I'm already worried about it!


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#3 of 55 Old 01-10-2011, 06:52 PM
 
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I don't think you are.  An hour a day to play seems like plenty to me and if he's getting so into it that it's becoming a problem then I would see taking a break from the game as a good idea.

 

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#4 of 55 Old 01-10-2011, 07:35 PM
 
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An hour a day is plenty of game time, I agree. I personally wouldn't have gone with a whole week for whining, though. I might start on a day-to-day basis: if he whines and tantrums to have more game time then he can't have games the next day. But he can try again in two days. If he whines again the next time then I'd go two days without. Then three... on up to a week. That way he'd have more chances to practice good behavior and he'd know that the privilege of video game time would get further and further out of reach unless he could stay within his limits.
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#5 of 55 Old 01-10-2011, 07:47 PM
 
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I have similar issues in my house - techie husband who loves gaming himself.  My son loves to be on the computer, but when I pull him off he will happily play with Tinker Toys and Legos and such.  I try to set reasonable limits during the week that even my husband will stick to (most of the time) but it can be hard when my husband doesn't see a difference between my son unwinding after school with computer versus something that doesn't involve sitting at a desk (like he does all day in school).

 

For me, even an hour per day is too much for my son.  He can play anything non-computer for half an hour when he comes home from school before he has to do homework.  By then it's getting close to dinner time, so he can play on the computer until then.  That sets up a nice limit because he's always hungry. :)  After dinner I may allow a bit more computer until bath time, but not every day.

 

It is a lot easier to maintain my rules when the husband isn't home.  And once in awhile they like to play an online game together which I don't have a problem with.  I am steadfast though in my rule that there is no computer after bath/shower.  He gets too wound up and won't fall asleep easily.

 

So no, I don't think you're being too strict at all.  Kids need to be more well-rounded IMO and play with lots of different stuff, especially stuff that gets them out of a chair.


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#6 of 55 Old 01-11-2011, 05:58 AM
 
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Yeah, I am totally mean, too.  wink1.gif  I allow my sons to play computer games or video games sparingly - mostly on weekends; I limit it to an hour.  If my older DS (6) complains, I will tell him that there will be no more game time if I have to hear complaints about it.  That usually works.

 

Have you tried a timer?  I use the microwave's timer, and when it rings, time's up.  For some reason, that seems to work better than me just telling him it's time.  Maybe he feels the microwave timer is more objective than me, who knows. 

 

I'll add one last thing - I find that my DS does get obsessed with games, and then the shine wears off.  I'm not saying that as a reason to extend his time on it, but as a measure of hope that this will pass. 

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#7 of 55 Old 01-11-2011, 06:33 AM
 
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Not mean at all.  We have the same rule in our house, no video games during the week and very little tv.  If it's a big battle to turn off the games, they lose the privilege of playing.

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#8 of 55 Old 01-11-2011, 08:03 AM
 
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Variety is the spice of life, there's a time for arts & crafts, time for reading, time for studying, time to be bored and time for video games.  I use a timer as it is impartial.  No video games after dinner as the kids have a hard time settling down to sleep after video games.  

 

Also, just a note, my daughter was in the hospital for a month when she was 7,  we found that when she played  her DS (fashion game) for longer than 1/2 hour, her fever would go up.  Very interesting and a bit distressing.  

 

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#9 of 55 Old 01-11-2011, 08:51 AM
 
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My 9 year old is limited to one hour of screen time per school day.  This includes TV, video games, computers, Itouch, DSi, game boy, etc.  Basically anything electronic. The only exception is computer time linked to school-checking the school website, researching homework topics, etc.

 

 

 


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#10 of 55 Old 01-11-2011, 08:57 AM
 
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I think it is up to the parents. I have not limited anything and find my kids still do a varity of things.There are times my ds wants to play with legos,and times he wants to play a pc game for quite some time.Same with my dd and her sims games.As long as it is not causing an issue I let them do what they would like to do.

 

Not that you need to but maybe there are things your son could do to earn a bit more time to play his game.

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#11 of 55 Old 01-11-2011, 09:54 AM
 
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I agree that setting limits is the right thing. We have a wii & ds likes to play it and would happily play every day for hours but that's just not acceptable. When at first it started to get out of hand I explained to him that only doing video games is not good for his body or mind, that he needs to do other stuff & that he enjoys doing other stuff. It was actually his idea to have "wii days" where he plays and he decided that Saturday, Sunday & Wednesday would be those days. He plays with dh & the time they play varies, usually 45-90 mins. If they have to miss a day they can make it up on another day. It's worked out very well. He occasionally asks to have an "extra wii day" or sighs and says "I wish i could play wii tonight" but we remind him it's not a wii night & there are other fun things to do then a quick distraction with a fun activity (usually Lego) with dad solves it.


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#12 of 55 Old 01-11-2011, 09:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for the feedback guys!!  yes, i definitely use a timer, but he's gotten in the habit of running over and adding more minutes when i walk out of the room (computer is in the kitchen) :(  i tend to be one of those "everything in moderation" moms and even try to let him get things out of his system, but this game just consumes him.  moderation doesn't seem to be working.  i think that's partly because the nature of the game is that it's never ending - there are endless rooms to build and endless games to play.  we have gone cold turkey for a week before, and as soon as the week is up he's back on.  mom22girls, that is distressing!!  i do give him other options, crafts to help with, errands to run, but mostly he just sits on the couch and sulks when i won't let him play it.  i don't know how long i would have to keep him away from it for that to go away, or if it ever would!  but i'm going to stick to my guns on this one...  thanks for chiming in:)

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#13 of 55 Old 01-13-2011, 11:02 AM
 
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How do you know he would play the game 24/7? Has he had an opportunity to, or has his time always been controlled? What if you gave him freedom for a week and then took note to make a plan of attack?

 

We do not do limits here. Some days we watch hours of Spongebob, some days we are outside or at the park for hours and hours. The other day we did almost 4 straight hours of board games. I just know the second someone says, hey you can only have an hour (or one cookie), then I rebel and I am hoping to save DS from that. He is a little mini me.

 

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#14 of 55 Old 01-13-2011, 11:54 AM
 
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We do not do limits here. Some days we watch hours of Spongebob, some days we are outside or at the park for hours and hours. The other day we did almost 4 straight hours of board games. I just know the second someone says, hey you can only have an hour (or one cookie), then I rebel and I am hoping to save DS from that. He is a little mini me.

Here too. :) No limiting or earning game time. Video and PC games have been so important to my son.


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#15 of 55 Old 01-14-2011, 06:13 AM
 
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I agree with the last couple posters...if you've never given him comlelte carte clanche to play it , you can't say how long he would play it for, for what period of time. 

If it is a game where he has not yet done everything, then of course it is going to be interesting and compelling.  It would be like you teling me, who is a total Reader, that I had to stop reading a big book i loved and was really into, after 1 hour.  And then you would ojnly let me read again for one more hour the next night..turning what should an awesome fun book reading experience into a piecemeal, teasing, agony-inducing experience.  Might he play 24/7 for..a few days?  a week?  a month even? ok.  But at somepoint, he'll have done it all, and it will get less compelling, possibly even boring.  He'll put it down by choice.  And really, does it matter if he spends the next consecutive 10 days playing it 10 hours per day, fora total of 100 hours, or 1 hour per day for the next 100 days? 

 

I also think it's sad, because you are denying him something he LOVES , because YOU do not find it "appropriate".  From the tone of your post, I get the feeeling that if the "thing" that he loved to do was...read....or play legos..or play outside maybe?....you would be completely fine with letting him do THOSE things for hours upon hours on end.  


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#16 of 55 Old 01-14-2011, 07:15 AM
 
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Just a quick reply in favor of setting limits... I'm in the process of setting screen time limits for DS1. Up until now, he hasn't really had any, and it's gotten to the point where, if I let him, he would watch TV/DVDs/YouTube cartoon videos literally all.day.long.

 

So I've decided to do a 1hr/day limit on school days, and a 2 hr limit on non-school days.

 

And if DS wanted to play outside for hours on end, or play legos for hours on end, those activities would also have limits, for practicality's sake: we are in an apt, so if he's outside, DS2 and I are also outside. That's fine up to a certain point. Legos, same: he can play legos, but still needs to come eat meals / go to bed on time, etc. Besides, my kid seems to prefer the screentime to other activities that are far less brain-zapping. So limits it is, over here.

 

Limits are fine. I think it's an integral part of our job as parents to set appropriate limits on all sorts of things. Clearly YMMV.

 

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#17 of 55 Old 01-14-2011, 07:18 AM
 
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I completely disagree with the last few posts. I know many full grown adults that are outright addicted to video games. They play whenever the can, every day, for hours and hours to the detriment of their families, jobs, and health. Go to the Parents as Partners forum and search for the term "WOW Widow," for instance (World of Warcraft). If so may adults have a problem self regulating than how can we expect every child to pop out of the womb with the self control to regulate in a healthy way? Video gaming can be addictive for certain people, no question. Not for all, but for some. I think it is absolutely right to teach your son healthy limits if you sense that he is having a problem setting limits for himself.

I think that certain activities can be used to escape from reality in an unhealthy way, and it is my job as a parent to help guide my children through that. Example: when I was a kid I had a huge love of books. I read All. The. Time. It was great: books held my interest, taught me all sorts of things, and reading was a socially acceptable "good" thing to do. And I LOVED to read. I still do.
But when I look back I used my books as a HUGE crutch, and I let reading get in the way of my life in many ways. I spent so many hours a day reading as a way of avoiding real life. I was shy at school... I read a book instead of making friends. Felt nervous at a gathering of people... I didn't learn to socialize, I just read a book. Family reunions... I was off in a corner with a book instead of playing with my cousins whom I really love to be with. I needed 10 hours of sleep a night.... I was perpetually tired because I would sneak a flashlight in bed and read for three hours (probably disturbing my sister's sleep, too).

I was quite literally unable to self regulate my reading in a healthy way. My parents were glad I loved to read and didn't want to set limits on something I obviously enjoyed so much and that was so healthy (though they did ask me to quit reading at night. I just got better at smuggling in flashlights). I really, really, really wish they or another adult had helped me learn to set limits at a young age. greensad.gif (Though of course I do not blame them at all, they thought they were helping me the best way they could). I am in my 30's, and lord help me whenever I get in a crowd situation I STILL want to grab a book and run for a bedroom. I still put my reading before homework, housework, necessary projects. i've actually had to ask my husband to help me self regulate because I can't trust myself not to dive into a book and spend the entire day reading away my responsibilities! Pretty sad. But thanks to my husbands support (and a lot of wok on my part) I'm in a more balanced place.

I really wish I'd had help with limits when I was young. It probably would have made a lot of difference in my life.
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#18 of 55 Old 01-14-2011, 07:48 AM
 
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I don't think it is mean to set limits on screen time.  I limit screen time and I also limit pouting in the common areas of the house.  Pouting, moaning, and screaming are bedroom activities.  I empathize with dd, invite her to do another activity with me, then remind her the rule about the common areas.  I have found that when she lacks an audience she usually accepts life and finds a way to engage in another fun activity.  When I give her the audience she becomes stuck in a cycle of negativity. 

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#19 of 55 Old 01-14-2011, 07:56 AM
 
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I think it is reasonable to set limits sometimes on things like this, although I think it's also good to allow them to play for longer periods at times- like maybe limited during the week, then all day on Saturday. 

 

I think most kids do learn to self-regulate eventually, but I also think that most kids need some guidance to learn this. I have been a video game widow at times, and it's not pretty when someone is completely unable to regulate their playing, and lives on three hours sleep a night for days on end. Falling asleep at the wheel , screwing up at work, ignoring spouse and kids, letting house fall into disrepair...

 

My DH grew up in a household where he was not limited at all on the amount of time he played video games, and so would do these all-night marathons as a young teen. The theory goes that having no limits should have allowed him the freedom he needed to learn to self regulate, but that didn't happen for him until age 33, a couple years ago. It took him twenty years to learn to self regulate, with no limits at all during that time, other than the hours he was at school or work. It took having a second child before he was motivated to limit himself.

 

I'm not saying that all kids are at risk of becoming video game addicts (my own DD is already pretty good about switching to another activity without prompting, after she's played wii for a couple hours) but I do think that some kids are more at risk for this than others.


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#20 of 55 Old 01-14-2011, 07:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by tinuviel_k View Post

I completely disagree with the last few posts. I know many full grown adults that are outright addicted to video games. They play whenever the can, every day, for hours and hours to the detriment of their families, jobs, and health. Go to the Parents as Partners forum and search for the term "WOW Widow," for instance (World of Warcraft). If so may adults have a problem self regulating than how can we expect every child to pop out of the womb with the self control to regulate in a healthy way? Video gaming can be addictive for certain people, no question. Not for all, but for some. I think it is absolutely right to teach your son healthy limits if you sense that he is having a problem setting limits for himself.

I really wish I'd had help with limits when I was young. It probably would have made a lot of difference in my life.


Yep, I was coming in here to say much the same thing. Set some limits, mama OP. Your kids will be healthier for it. 

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#21 of 55 Old 01-14-2011, 08:28 AM
 
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I agree with the last couple posters...if you've never given him comlelte carte clanche to play it , you can't say how long he would play it for, for what period of time. 

If it is a game where he has not yet done everything, then of course it is going to be interesting and compelling.  It would be like you teling me, who is a total Reader, that I had to stop reading a big book i loved and was really into, after 1 hour.  And then you would ojnly let me read again for one more hour the next night..turning what should an awesome fun book reading experience into a piecemeal, teasing, agony-inducing experience.  Might he play 24/7 for..a few days?  a week?  a month even? ok.  But at somepoint, he'll have done it all, and it will get less compelling, possibly even boring.  He'll put it down by choice.  And really, does it matter if he spends the next consecutive 10 days playing it 10 hours per day, fora total of 100 hours, or 1 hour per day for the next 100 days? 

 

I also think it's sad, because you are denying him something he LOVES , because YOU do not find it "appropriate".  From the tone of your post, I get the feeeling that if the "thing" that he loved to do was...read....or play legos..or play outside maybe?....you would be completely fine with letting him do THOSE things for hours upon hours on end.  


I'm not the op, but as a mom who has set limits, it does matter if he plays it for 10 hours a day for 10 days.  First, we have 2 tvs, one person can't control the main tv for that amount of time.  Second, I won't let him stay home from school and I can't stay home from work so he can get it out of his system.  Kids need to learn that life goes on even if there is something they want to play.  And yes, I do limit other things besides video games.  Your post is so condescending.  Every mom knows her child best.  If you're fine with your kid playing video games nonstop until he wants to quit, that's great.  It doesn't necessarily work in other families.

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#22 of 55 Old 01-14-2011, 11:02 AM
 
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I also think it's sad, because you are denying him something he LOVES , because YOU do not find it "appropriate". From the tone of your post, I get the feeeling that if the "thing" that he loved to do was...read....or play legos..or play outside maybe?....you would be completely fine with letting him do THOSE things for hours upon hours on end.
I limit all screen time. It's not really the point, that they love it, for me. The point is that 1. the research on the potential harm that too much screen time can do is pretty compelling, and 2. it takes time away from other healthier and more developmentally appropriate activities. My kids "love" Swedish Fish, too, with a passion I find hard to understand. And yeah, I find them "inappropriate" because they are unhealthy, and because they spoil their appetites for more nourishing foods. So we set sensible limits on Swedish Fish. I don't feel guilty at all that I'm robbing them of something they love. The other activities you cite-- playing outside, reading, or playing with open-ended toys, are developmentally appropriate and healthy activities that I would encourage. I am not convinced that video games belong in that category. The research is mixed and inconclusive, but enough is known to be deeply troubling to most reputable experts in child development.

I don't limit screen time to help them form good habits for later in life. Just like I don't limit junk food because it helps them form good habits for later. Forming good habits later on isn't the point, for me-- it's about protecting their health, and their developing brains and bodies, during their most vulnerable years.
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#23 of 55 Old 01-14-2011, 11:08 AM
 
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Not mean.  I agree with the person who said that a whole week 'punishment' is a bit much though.  A day.. then 2.. etc sounds like a good compromise to me.

 

I can't believe there are some people who don't limit it!  Gaming addiction is a real issue.  It's totally irresponsible not to limit it, IMO.

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#24 of 55 Old 01-14-2011, 12:19 PM
 
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So true. You're being a very responsible parent by teaching limits now. Hell, I sometimes wish I still had someone looking over my shoulder reminding me how long I've been on the computer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tinuviel_k View Post

I completely disagree with the last few posts. I know many full grown adults that are outright addicted to video games. They play whenever the can, every day, for hours and hours to the detriment of their families, jobs, and health. Go to the Parents as Partners forum and search for the term "WOW Widow," for instance (World of Warcraft). If so may adults have a problem self regulating than how can we expect every child to pop out of the womb with the self control to regulate in a healthy way? Video gaming can be addictive for certain people, no question. Not for all, but for some. I think it is absolutely right to teach your son healthy limits if you sense that he is having a problem setting limits for himself.

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#25 of 55 Old 01-14-2011, 09:27 PM
 
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I 'd let him play all he wants. We are shifting into a digital paradigm; it's the future and it's cool!

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#26 of 55 Old 01-15-2011, 09:18 AM
 
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I 'd let him play all he wants. We are shifting into a digital paradigm; it's the future and it's cool!


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I'm wondering whether you're serious, or poking fun. I can't tell.

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#27 of 55 Old 01-15-2011, 10:58 AM
 
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We did not limit at all. We modeled the behavior we valued, discussed our concerns, invited their input, helped them navigate media. We were not rulers of their media/digital world but rather trusted co inhabitants of it that had been around longer. geek.gif


"The true measure of a man is how he treats a man who can do him absolutely no good."
peace.gif  Embrace the learning that is happening within the things that are actually happening!    
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#28 of 55 Old 01-15-2011, 04:44 PM
 
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I 'd let him play all he wants. We are shifting into a digital paradigm; it's the future and it's cool!




confused.gif

I'm wondering whether you're serious, or poking fun. I can't tell.


I was wondering the same thing.  Kidding. I hope??


DS (6.06), DD (10.08), DD (05.11).

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#29 of 55 Old 01-15-2011, 06:10 PM
 
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Yeah, I tend to think of video games as being like the junk food of activities.  Fine in limited quantities.  When the American Academy of Pediatrics starts recommending limiting a child's time spent on reading or physical activities, I'll revisit those. 

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#30 of 55 Old 01-16-2011, 07:20 AM
 
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I agree with everyone in that I do agree as a parent you need to set limits.  But on the other hand I also think it is good to allow a child to get it out of their system so to speak and learn about making their own limits.  My 8 yr old loves video games as well.  For Christmas he got a new game and we did not set any limits for him over the holidays but did encourage other activities and did still expect him to do his chores and so forth.  The first day he played all day.  By day 2 he decided he had had enough and moved onto other things.  Since school has started again he goes through spurts where he wants to play a lot and when he does not.  He really has very little time after school so we let him play more on the weekends but even that is in spurts.  What concerns me is that you now have a child sneaking to change the clock to get more time.  How do you address that?  Taking away all video games?  Doesn't that make the video games even more desirable?  My in laws NEVER allowed sugar in the house for the kids.  Though SIL kept her goodies hidden.  They had one daughter who began sneaking candy into the house and stealing money to buy candy and it got pretty bad.  It always seemed to me that you need to teach moderation and not take away something totally.  I think that I would have a conversation with my 7 yr old about the situation and what is going on.  Then I would try and set limits with him that both of you are comfortable with.  One thing to keep in mind with video games is that often you cannot just stop and save.  You have to finish a level or get to a certain point.  I give my DS a 15-20 minute warning.  "You have about 15 minutes until such and such so please start working to save now".  Maybe having more time on the weekend and less during the school week would make more sense to both of you.

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