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Q: Best practices to help teenager manage (not eliminate) his video game habits? ( No Answer,   3 Comments )
Subject: Best practices to help teenager manage (not eliminate) his video game habits?
Category: Family and Home > Parenting
Asked by: avs2006-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 03 Apr 2006 21:26 PDT
Expires: 03 May 2006 21:26 PDT
Question ID: 715197
Our 15-year old has always been a good student and after entering High
School, he has started playing a video games at home on the
internet-connected computer;

I appreciate his need to have an outlet and for recreation, this
particular game - Maple - is as good as they come (not adult, not
graphic, not violent). It is however very seductive and, now after 5
months into it, he cannot wait to join the on-line community everyday.

I have shifted the computer from his bedroom and brought it into the
living room. However, the setting of time limits and self-disciplne
approach has not worked; Even on nights before the test, he stays up
late and now his grades have started slipping, slightly but still

In my research, I have come to appreciate the on-line friendships and
relationships that high schoolers seem to have. Also, with the dangers
on the street, these relationships form the community of friends for

I should also add that my spouse is very irritated with this behavior
and wants him to completely discontinue playing. While I agree that he
needs more non-sedentary activities, I don't want to be too harsh
(will drive him to do this behind our backs and he has been honest)
and do want to offer alternatives (I have offered to pay for him to
walk the dog, also will get a foosball or air hockey in the garage as
I need the exercise as well. Treadmill is another possibility.

My spouse allows him to watch TV which I think is worse. Obviously,
ther are differences in perspectives between me and my spouse (his

What is the best way to show him that we are on his side without
alienating him? Is cold turkey the best or should we allow a short
period on alternate days?

So, to summarize, what are the methods to use to teach him to plan and
manage  his time better? 
And to show that we love him and want him to
have a good future thru good education which would get compromised if
he does not have good grades and keeps on playing video games nights
and weekends.

Request for Question Clarification by sublime1-ga on 03 Apr 2006 22:01 PDT

A tool which many families use is a device to limit the number
of hours during which the computer is used:

Enuff PC is a software device:

Software time is another software solution:

Time-Scout is a physical device which works with the power plug:

You can adjust the amount of time according to his grades, giving
more time when his grades reflect an increase. When such a device
limits the time automatically, it can preclude the arguments which
occur when a parent attempts to be the monitor instead.

Let me know if this satisfies your interests...


Clarification of Question by avs2006-ga on 04 Apr 2006 07:13 PDT
Thanks for your response. 

Yes, I am familiar with such tools and believe they are more about
policing and controlling the behavior, thru electronic tools.
I am looking for best practices that will allow the teenager to
self-train and regulate his on-line video game playing habits;

If it turns out, based on other parents' experince, that this has been
developed bsed on electronic tools loaded on the PC, then, that's
fine; If there are some other technique, that's fine too.

I am trying to see what has worked and what has not worked as
effectively for others in similar circumstances;

Clarification of Question by avs2006-ga on 24 Apr 2006 23:07 PDT
Thank you for the great sugestions and superior guidance. 

I will now engage in an effort to show our son that he needs to be
more aware of the time that he spends - and as guardians of his
well-being, we (as all caring parents everywhere) have to explain the
irreversible nature about the passage of time.

Bests to all,
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Best practices to help teenager manage (not eliminate) his video game habits?
From: frankcorrao-ga on 04 Apr 2006 11:31 PDT
In my non-expert opinion, this would be no different than breaking any
other kind of habit/borderline addiction.  Anything that deals with
that would be helpful.  However, you will need to convince him that
this really is a detrimental behavior worth changing (is it really?
Questionable in my mind...TV is much worse) before there is any hope. 
Of course, that's the hard part.  The last thing a 15 year old wants
is to have his parents/guardians lecture him on how best to live his
life.  Here is a clever ploy you might try: ask him to tell his
on-line friends about the situation. Ask him to ask their opinion.  I
would bet money that if they knew he was up until late online when he
should be studying for a test, they would tell him to study.  Online
friends are in fact friends and will likely have his best interests in

If you outright cut him off from the computer, he'll just hate you and
find a way to play anyway.
Subject: Re: Best practices to help teenager manage (not eliminate) his video game habits?
From: roxrox-ga on 04 Apr 2006 20:51 PDT
I went an found the website and played the game for a few minutes. It
seems like a fun game. I was rather like your son, hooked on form what
I can tell a similar Nintendo Game, Zelda. What I did was I played it
together with my son. It was fun playing it together, to figure out
the built in puzzles in the game. Could you try playing it together?
Pull up a chair next to your son and take turns playing it together?
Actually I think good games, whether board games or computer games are
good for you. They make you think, you develop good reasoning, logical
and analytical skills.

You do not feel that the game is bad for your son, just that he has
become a bit obsesive about it. If you play it together you can quit
together in the evening at an appropriate time. Is your son in any
sports at school?
Subject: Re: Best practices to help teenager manage (not eliminate) his video game habits?
From: oberholtzer-ga on 16 Apr 2006 18:49 PDT
In my opinion, as a sometimes obsessive gamer myself, I would
personally reccomend a positive reinforcement approach to your
situation.  The game you indicated that your son frequently enjoys
playing is truly an addictive game, and I shall have to agree with
roxrox-ga on that.  I frequent many online gaming forums, partly for
discussion, and largely to study gaming addictions, most notably the
Nintendo Nsider Forums.  In my independent studies I have found that
many teens feel the need for MMORPGs (that is, Massively Multiplayer
Online Roleplaying Games) because they provide a way to interact and
relax in a fun environment.

What I would recommend doing in your situation would also be to do
what roxrox-ga suggested: ask your son about the game when he's
playing, and maybe take turns playing together.  This will provide
more interaction between you and your son, strengthening your
relationship and giving him time to talk about himself and his

I myself have frequently struggled with completing work because I
spent time playing online videogames, and I have found that the most
effective way to reduce time spent on the computer, or any gaming
system for that matter, is to figure out how much time you're spending
on the said system.  Some weekday, ask your son to time himself on how
long he is playing Maple or any other game.  Talk about it with him
over the dinner table, and discuss whether the time he spent was
excessive or not.  In addition, ask him if he finished all of his
homework for the day.  If it seems to you that he spent too much time
that day, talk with him about methods you two could work together to
reduce his internet time so he can finish his work and spend more time
with the family.

I would strongly caution you with internet and computer time
management programs, as they can be costly, and make your son feel
like you and your spouse are 'out to get him', so to speak.  That is a
horrible feeling for him, and is almost guaranteed to bring unneeded
stress into the household.  Your son will most likely feel rebellious,
and it will overall be a bad experience for the both of you.

Essentially, I would recommend working together with him on this, and
as an alternative solution, try to find other fun things for him to do
during his free time.  Also, when you sit down and talk with him,
suggest him showing you that a significant ammount of his homework is
done before he plays Maple.  Moving the computer into the living room
was definitely a leap in the right direction, but more steps will be
necessary if you want to help even more.  Best of luck to the both of
you, and although this isn't an official answer, I hope it helped
solve your question.

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