Unplugging the Kids
Video games can consume life if you don't break it up
My children love to play video games. If the game has a Lego or anime character, whose name I cannot pronounce or understand, my kids are glued to it. As a woman, I have very little desire to play, watch or have a conversation about video games. When games became the only thing my children would talk about, I realized I had a problem on my hands.
I am by no means an electronic hater. My kids have a Wii, DSes and are allowed to watch television or play on the computer. It makes a great babysitting tool for a Mom who would like to take a shower in peace and quiet or make a phone call. When it is rainy out or too hot, plugging in can save your sanity and keep little ones busy. But when you need the kids to turn it off, a major fight could ensue.
Not understanding the whole gaming thing, I do not see why you cannot just stop the game and go on with life. I just know the next time I hear “I can’t save it, I’m in a battle," I am going to lose my mind. There seems to be some addictive draw to these games that means turn off time is going to be a real life battle. My daughter does not have this issue as much, occasionally during a TV show. The boys tiny little fingers glued to the buttons are always where an argument begins.
I realized after my children whined and cried about doing anything other than playing a device, they had a serious issue. I had allowed them too much freedom with their games, and I am paying a severe price for that mistake. I am a strong believer that children belong outside playing. When kids chose video games over friends, the pool, riding a bike, there is a problem.
I would happily allow my kids to play games if they could respect time restraints such as only after dinner or when it is raining. Unfortunately, the more they play, the more they want to play. There is only one way to break the addiction, and that is to take the games away. I promise it will cause fits, fights, rage, and it will be ugly. I can only imagine it is similar to taking crack away from a drug addict. When I told my children, we were putting up the games except for certain evenings and rainy days, they acted as if life was ending.
A few short weeks and a couple dozen fights later, they are better able to control the gaming. They will even go outside and play without me going completely crazy on them. Would they still play games 24/7 if allowed? Of course! I just put up the DS’s at bedtime and do not allow them back out until after dinner. It is a good way for them to quietly spend the evening without ruining the entire day.