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Anyone have to keep young kids gaming enthusiasm in check?

Posted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:58 pm
by racketboy
So even though its fun to see my son get enthusiastic about video games -- even super-retro stuff ( http://www.racketboy.com/journal/unexpe ... 2600-games ), my son has a habit of getting overly enthusiastic about playing games.

He's 5 now, but at times its a bit embarrassing when his teachers repeatedly mention that "Mario" a frequent topic out of his mouth.

At home we typically keep his screen time somewhat limited. But some months he can sometimes get a couple hours or more while his sister takes her nap. Some days he handles turning it off well, but other times he throws a fit or begs us for more game time later. It got a little extreme a couple weeks back, so we ended up taking the small-ish LCD from upstairs living room downstairs and taking away iPads for a while. We're trying to detox him for a while and coming up with a better rationing system for when he gets it back.

I hope to document some of this and share in a future article, but I'm curious if anyone else struggles with this.

I know there are good benefits of gaming and you could make the argument that many parents wouldn't feel so badly if their kid was obsessed with chess, but I really do want him to find other things to entertain and intrigue himself other than something that's on a screen.

Re: Anyone have to keep young kids gaming enthusiasm in chec

Posted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 4:56 pm
by MrPopo
So I was your son as a kid. What my parents ended up doing was instituting a rule that I could only play video games on weekends and holidays after my homework was done. So Friday was a race to do my homework as fast as possible, then marathon Friday evening through Sunday. During the week I could watch TV or read or do any other non-video game activity.

Re: Anyone have to keep young kids gaming enthusiasm in chec

Posted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:33 pm
by prfsnl_gmr
As the meanest parents on earth, we don’t allow ours any television during the week. (We did for a while, but it created a bad dynamic during our limited family time in the evening.) They still get some screen time with special permission, however, and we are pretty relaxed about it during the weekends and on holidays. (My daughter probably has as many hours logged in Just Dance 3 as I have in BOTW, and my son has beaten most classic beat ‘em ups and a few classic shmups. RayForce is his favorite game.)

We have to pry them away from their iPads every now and again, but they are by no means obsessed with video games. They do get obsessed with other things, though, which is pretty normal for young children. (They oscillate between Pokémon and Star Wars.) In my experience, when we express approval or knowledge related to their obsession, they tend to obsess more. I suspect that’s what your son’s doing, which is a way of expressing that he loves you and likes your approval.

(Also, children at that age sometimes throw tantrums when they don’t get what they want if when something gets taken away from them. Behavior like you describe above is what led us to banning TV during the week.)

Re: Anyone have to keep young kids gaming enthusiasm in chec

Posted: Wed Oct 31, 2018 8:24 pm
by racketboy
Thanks for the feedback, guys! That really does help a bit.

He's not quite old enough for homework yet, but we do try to make sure he's eaten his meals, cleaned up his messes, etc before playing. It's good incentive.
The new system we are thinking about is issuing "tickets" that can be redeemed for 10 or 20 minute (I can't remember exactly) increments of screen time. We haven't implemented it yet as he was to wait another week or so. The date has gotten pushed off if he has a troublesome day at school or at home.

Now, Mr. Popo. While in theory, that rule from your parents sounded like a good idea. But did you think you rushed through your homework more than you would have otherwise because of that?

Re: Anyone have to keep young kids gaming enthusiasm in chec

Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:05 am
by Key-Glyph
We're close friends with a couple who has two young children (I think they're around five and eight years old now), and they've mentioned an interesting technique they have for specifically limiting iPad and YouTube use which has worked brilliantly for them thus far.

They have a timer (I forget what it's called, but I could find out) that gets set for however long. When it gets within five minutes of ringing it turns a different color as a warning, and then of course it goes off when the play period is through.

Our friends have said this timer works brilliantly because it's an absolute that "cannot be argued with," and also because it prevents kids vs. parents battles by obfuscating the adults' direct role in the rule enforcement. In other words, if the kids protest about play being over, the parents can say, hey, we can't argue with the timer! We can't make minutes longer than they are! And if the kids are frustrated with the duration of play, they're frustrated at the clock, not at mom and dad for actually setting it.

When they get older they'll understand that yes, mom and dad are actually the root cause of their restriction by deciding the time limit, but so far so good on that point.

Re: Anyone have to keep young kids gaming enthusiasm in chec

Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:17 am
by MrPopo
racketboy wrote:Now, Mr. Popo. While in theory, that rule from your parents sounded like a good idea. But did you think you rushed through your homework more than you would have otherwise because of that?

For me, at least, it didn't make a difference; spending more time on my homework didn't make it any more correct. It was that kid who would fly through a test and be finished before half the allotted time was up, and a similar level of speed applied to my homework. And since I was getting homework every day, but I only was incentivized to finish it quickly on Fridays, my parents could compare and see whether or not there was a difference between the two categories.

Re: Anyone have to keep young kids gaming enthusiasm in chec

Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 8:24 am
by racketboy
Key-Glyph wrote:They have a timer (I forget what it's called, but I could find out) that gets set for however long. When it gets within five minutes of ringing it turns a different color as a warning, and then of course it goes off when the play period is through.

Our friends have said this timer works brilliantly because it's an absolute that "cannot be argued with," and also because it prevents kids vs. parents battles by obfuscating the adults' direct role in the rule enforcement. In other words, if the kids protest about play being over, the parents can say, hey, we can't argue with the timer! We can't make minutes longer than they are! And if the kids are frustrated with the duration of play, they're frustrated at the clock, not at mom and dad for actually setting it.



That's an awesome complementary idea! We have an alarm clock for the kids that changes color when their allowed to get up (we have early risers), but this sounds like another great idea. I tried looking on Amazon but not finding a great one that sounds just like what you're talking about.
I found this, but I don't see mention of a "warning color"
https://www.amazon.com/WoneNice-Silicon ... 2661618011

Could you ask what brand etc theirs is? Thanks!

Re: Anyone have to keep young kids gaming enthusiasm in chec

Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 8:26 am
by racketboy
MrPopo wrote:
racketboy wrote:Now, Mr. Popo. While in theory, that rule from your parents sounded like a good idea. But did you think you rushed through your homework more than you would have otherwise because of that?

For me, at least, it didn't make a difference; spending more time on my homework didn't make it any more correct. It was that kid who would fly through a test and be finished before half the allotted time was up, and a similar level of speed applied to my homework. And since I was getting homework every day, but I only was incentivized to finish it quickly on Fridays, my parents could compare and see whether or not there was a difference between the two categories.


Fair enough :) I wish I remember more of how I handled homework. I wasn't the greatest, but got mostly Bs with a few As and an occasional C. My parents took away TV privileges if I got a C.

For gaming though, I'm not a fair comparison. I mostly did arcade setups until I was like 10 so that was a natural control.

Re: Anyone have to keep young kids gaming enthusiasm in chec

Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:30 am
by isiolia
racketboy wrote:He's not quite old enough for homework yet, but we do try to make sure he's eaten his meals, cleaned up his messes, etc before playing. It's good incentive.
The new system we are thinking about is issuing "tickets" that can be redeemed for 10 or 20 minute (I can't remember exactly) increments of screen time. We haven't implemented it yet as he was to wait another week or so. The date has gotten pushed off if he has a troublesome day at school or at home.


My parents tried a system sort of like that at one point (it was more one of daily time allotments that could be saved up) before moving to the weekends/holidays sort of setup that others mentioned. We ended up sticking to that for years. It's easy to define, easy to stick to, and leaves little room for bargaining.

Re: Anyone have to keep young kids gaming enthusiasm in chec

Posted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 4:33 pm
by Erik_Twice
This is a really interesting conversation. I'm not a father but I've often thought about what would happen if I were and what my hildren would think of my games and such.