A year ago, my son (ten at the time) received the ultimate Christmas gift - an Xbox 360. In his eyes, this was the to-die-for console - all of his friends had one (an only slightly over-exaggarated statement) and if he did not join the throngs of Xbox gamers then life was not worth living.
Of course, he was just dramatising in the hope of getting a result - and on this occasion, the much desired gift came his way, wrapped up and hidden under the tree on Christmas Day 2010. I loved seeing his excited, exhuberant face as he ripped off the paper. It really was a surprise, because he had been told that he couldn't have it. But I was glad we had bought it for him, because sometimes it's nice to indulge the children (especially at Christmas) and it made him very happy. However, the longer the Xbox resides in our house, the more my dislike for it grows.
Better in the Family Room
The problem was not quite so bad in the early days. Before he acquired the Xbox, we already had a Wii, and it was not too much of an invasion into family life. The Wii was kept in the family living room, connected to our only television, and time spent playing games was limited to around an hour or two. When the time was up, I asked him to turn it off. If he didn't turn it off, I did it for him. Then he would go off and find something else to do. Games played in the living room are easily supervised. I didn't, however, face too much resistance - those were the rules and that was how it was.
So, when we first set up his much-desired Xbox, it was also connected to the downstairs television. After the initial indulgence of a new Christmas gift, play was limited to a specified amount of time, just as before. Life with the Xbox in the house continued in a fairly blissful manner - my son loved the current Fifa football game and it all seemed like harmless entertainment. His little brother, two at the time, used to sit and watch him and everyone was happy.
Grumpy and Obsessed
Only a year later, however, my son is no longer a boy who can play a computer game and then go off and do something else. Instead, he has become a child so obsessed with the Xbox that I would hardly be surprised if it sucked him away into a parallel online universe never to return. Asking him to abandon his game now results in a very grumpy attitude and an argument over the unfairness of it all. Sometimes I really think he would make an excellent politician - after all, he never backs down and he certainly knows how to hold his corner. Apparently, every other 11 year old in the entire world is allowed to play violent Xbox games 24 hours a day. We are 'weird' parents for trying to stand in his way. Apparently, we cannot relate to his excessive passion for the Xbox because we are from another era where life was cruel and no one had anything to do. It is now perfectly normal to want to spend every waking moment 'plugged in' to a device with a screen and only parents who go along with this are 'cool'.
Why Did it Change?
So, why did it all change? I am sure, without a shadow of doubt, that my hatred of the Xbox began when we bought him a television for his bedroom last May. So it is all our own fault, then? Maybe so - after all, we are the parents. We should have stuck to the old arrangement of games consoles in the family living area. It definitely is the best way.
But my son is growing up. He doesn't want to play Fifa all the time - typically, older boys do tend to enjoy games which require a certain level of shooting and death. You can buy quite realistic shooting games designed for age 12 upwards (some of the Bond games are advertised as 12+ and don't look much diffferent to the more mature titles). I didn't think it was necessarily fair to deny him, even if I am a woman who does not like violence. The main swaying point for us was the presence of his little brother. I knew without question that I did not want him to be a spectator of these older, unsuitable games.
That was why our older son was allowed to have his own television, together with the fact that he liked having friends round and they needed their own space (as did we). We have just moved, but our old house was very small and we were all on top of one another when anybody visited.
Televisions in Rooms and Headsets - Beginnings of a Slippery Slope...
The presence of a television in my son's bedroom made policing the Xbox much more difficult. Almost immediately, he seemed to think that every single spare moment in life was an opportunity to disppear into his virtual world. He would even pretend to be reading a book when in reality he most definitely was not. However the television - although obviously a key part of the problem - was not the only offender. It has a partner in crime that works alongside it to further corrupt my son - and it is called Xbox Live (together with a headset).
Over the past few months, experience has shown me that Xbox Live is, for 11 year old boys, the new Going Out. When my son wakes up on weekend mornings, he does not think about going to the park for a kick about. In fact, he does not consider the outside world at all (or even the downstairs world). He thinks instead about checking online to see how many of his friends are already plugged in. He does like to meet up with his friends a lot, but only to play Xbox. He invites a friend round to the house and they immediately rush upstairs to turn it on. When I suggest (sometimes insist), after a couple of hours, that they do something else, they look dumbfounded and are completely unable to think of an alternative. His friends are just as bad as he is - and sometimes even worse. Granted, in the summer, they might play football for a bit - but then they will return after a while, 'hot and tired' and ready to play Xbox. Even if I deny them, they sneak upstairs and do it anyway. The Xbox really is the bane of our lives.
Loss of Passion and Creativity
I don't think there is anything really wrong in playing on a games console, as long as it can be done it moderation. However, it seems, in our house (and the houses of most of his friends) that 'moderation' is a concept to be fought and battled against from all angles. I would just like to state, at this point, that an Xbox belonging to one of his friends came to an abrupt end when a very exasperated parent threw it down the stairs and beat it with a pitchfork. This is obviously not the ideal solution, but I must admit that it has, at times, seemed wonderfully appealing, especially in the heat of the moment. For me, the most worrying part of this Xbox obsession is my son's increasing inability to use his imagination and creativity to pursue other interests. When I insist that he comes off a game, he starts talking about it instead - it is never erased entirely from his thought patterns.
I recall that, at a similar age to him, I used to enjoy sketching pictures and writing stories. I am quite creative and writing is my passion - my son is his own person and I do not expect him to be just like me. He doesn't like writing. But playing computer games does, in the end, bring little to life. It is not soul-enriching, it is not creative and it does not broaden the mind. A computer game, played on any platform, is nothing more than a product of someone elses' creativity. That is fine, up to a point (and for a bit of light entertainment), but when it begins to replace other aspects of your child's character then I believe it to be a problem.
Real self-fulfilment surely comes from following one's true passions and interests and achieving small goals in life. Sport, creative arts, exploring nature, musical pursuits - all of these can inspire a child and aid their development as they grow towards adult life into an interesting and hopefully well balanced individual. I have many memories of time spent pursuing hobbies that I really cared about; of making up games to play outside with friends and of creating my own projects when no one else was about. When I was young, children seemed to know how to come up with an idea and to bring about its reality - this is most definitely something missing from the life of my son and almost all of his friends. When the Xbox is turned off, instant boredom grips them like a painful disease. I suppose I should be thankful that he still likes reading.
Don't get me wrong - I am not the kind of parent who will allow my son to spend all day playing Xbox games. I can and do turn it off myself when my requests to stop playing are conveniently ignored. I frequently resort to turning off the Wi-Fi connection downstairs, to angry protests, which puts a stop to any socialising on Xbox Live. When I have really had enough, I hide all of the controls - in the tumble dryer amongst the washing (not when it is on!), in drawers, in the kitchen cupboards with the saucepans - I will put them anywhere. I confiscate them for a time I see fit, if I really feel tried and tested, though I have fallen short of getting rid of it altogether. He learns his lesson for a short while, promising exemplary behaviour upon its return. But then it starts again. And, of course, when there is no Xbox available in his own house, he goes off to someone else's to play there instead. It truly is a problem compounded by the society we now live in because, unless we move to somewhere in the middle of nowhere, there will always be an Xbox close by.
Peer Pressure and a Desire to 'Fit In'.
I know for a fact that my son's exasperating behaviour regarding the Xbox is not exactly unusual. In fact, the vast majority of his school friends behave in a similar fashion. There is little doubt that our society has changed considerably since the childhoods of many (if not most) of today's parents. Electronic entertainment has become the norm (girls might not be so taken with console games, but they definitely gravitate towards social mediums like Facebook). When you are not a parent it is very easy to draw conclusions - in reality, today's parents face an uphill battle against peer pressure, accessibility to technology, creating balances and to society in general. To own the 'in' game and to be able to play it online with friends initiates a child into a kind of 'online club'. For many children, a desire to 'fit in' and to be seen to be like 'everyone else' is the single most important aspect of school life, especially once they begin secondary education. Hasn't it always been like that? It certainly was in my day, even if the posts were different. Last year, my son enjoyed collecting and painting Warhammer, then learning how to play at the local Games Workshop. Now that he has begun secondary school, however, he tells me that everyone thinks only 'nerds play Warhammer'.
But, whilst most parents want their children to be happy and to be able to join in activities with their friends, there is no doubt that the world of Xbox has become far too prominent in the lives of many young people. When we allowed our son to spend his birthday money on Xbox Live and the accompanying headset, we did not realise the extent to which he would become totally obsessed. In fact, from the very beginning we set certain ground rules about how much time would be allocated for such activities. He is absolutely not allowed to do whatever he likes, but as he gets older he pushes the boundaries more and more. Sometimes I feel disappointed, because I know that his childhood is different from mine (not so much when he was younger, but as he has gained more independence) and that we enjoyed many activities that he and his friends just don't seem interested in today. We wanted to explore the world - he just seems interested in the 'virtual world'. Loss of imagination, creativity, inspiration and motivation, as well as the ability to concentrate for long periods of time on other pursuits - these are all problems that I could easily blame on the Xbox. If you met my son, you would think he was a perfectly ordinary, polite child capable of social interaction, humour and intellectual thought. Thankfully, he is still all of these things, but that doesn't mean that I wouldn't like to erase the Xbox 360 from the face of this earth. At least he still likes reading....and swimming....
Ellen Theobald on July 20, 2020:
I totally understand. I wish they had never been invented!
Michael on April 11, 2016:
With all due respect whilst you don't seem to deem your son computer game playing as suitable as your writing or drawing I don't think you have the right to dismiss it altogether.
Why don't you see if you can get interested in to drawing and writing his own computer game?
There are games that have a story more then gratuitous violence.
Why don't you get him interested in creating his own computer games?
Instead of dismissing it all together there is site called pygame and programming language called Python and it was also give him a valuable skill the ability to code and program.
I am sick of the baby Boomers who did drugs had gratuitous sex give there own kids a hard time he also 12 so he is starting to go through teenager years.
You have the right to discipline which I think your handling that better then some of your peers who have broken there kids gaming systems.
The teenager years are going to be tough so you need to have a dialogue with your son otherwise he isn't going to come to you when the issues get serious such as sex drugs etc.
Mike on April 09, 2016:
I have based many aspects of my life around videogames. I used to be the one that stayed in my room and didn't have much of an outdoor life but you have to realize that if you piss him off and send him outside it just leads to behavior that would be unwanted anyway.
The scariness of tech in general can be overwhelming, and I understand concern but the xbox isn't to blame. It's just a change into a new generation. I remember when people blamed radio for warping the minds of children and it's pretty much the same deal.
If you want to try and find common ground, ask him to find a game you can both play. Portal 2 is awesome and family friendly. There's plenty of coop games, and you never know. Something simple and fun could help you find common ground and maybe instead of arguing and misunderstanding you can be on the same level.
I recall my parents and I arguing many times when I was younger until I invited mom to come and play a few rounds of tetris. She loved it and started to understand that I had to save before coming up to eat. Or that immersion is the most powerful thing an entertainment medium can offer. I'm getting older now and I work a lot and I find I can't do it like I used to. It would be arguable that taking it from him would be taking an experience away from him.
At least if he's at home you know he's safe and playing with his friends instead of wandering around the city smoking pot and getting into trouble out of boredom.
Nicole K on April 07, 2016:
Thank you for your post on this topic. I think the obsession many boys and men have with video games has really been detrimental. For example, I have a 25-year-old brother in law who is obsessed with video games and has been for years. He is a very sweet and loving guy, but he has very little ambition, goes from job to job without any direction for a future career, and still lives at home, with no plans or ambition to move out on his own. I think it mostly goes back to his obsession with video games, because that seems to be what he spends the majority of his time doing. He got the games taken away at home and now he has to go to friends' houses to play, so he is hardly ever at home anymore. I think video games can really stunt the growth of boys and prevent them from maturing into the men they ought to become. I'm thankful my husband doesn't play and we don't plan on letting our son play games either. Hopefully we can steer him into a better direction and help him develop better interests. I do wish you luck with your son though and hope he finds more balance with it all.
SeekerVII on September 10, 2015:
I am in total agreement with the previous commenters when it comes to works that are designed to brainwash people, it's not just in video-games, but many media. There's no way I'd allow my kids to play Cards Against Humanity, read Mein Kampf, or watch 80's "action" movies. A big problem I see is that people are unfamiliar with the the medium of video-games and instead of seeing individual titles, treat them like a giant inseparable mass. Something that's seen as a way around that is that different consoles may be aimed at different age groups, like buying only a Wii for children, but this overlooks that there are M-rated titles for the console.
EVERY work is different, no matter the medium, you have to actively participate with your family when it comes to selecting the right video-games, the same way you would with movies or books. The main thing that seems to go under parents' radar is that some games can have a multi-player community that needs review as well as the game itself. And examples of youth-appropriate online communities are few and far between. This is part and parcel with games that are completely online, for example, amidst the countless stories of World of Warcraft addictions there are helpful articles on WHY the game is so addictive that can be used as a checklist when looking at any other game before allowing kids to play it.
Additionally, my first and foremost rule when it comes to games I'll let my kids play is that they must have some sort of editing mode, in-game like Little Big Planet or as a separate program like RPG Maker. Any game without user customization is automatically vetoed, because there are countless games that stifle creativity by limiting interaction, and that includes card and board games, too. That said, material games are easier to approve, for example Chess was OK because they made their own pieces and had fun doing it.
Of course, over time nearly anyone of any age chafes under these sorts of restrictions, no matter how good the intent. The solution that has worked best with my older child has been that she can buy her own games, but I'll buy her a game if I approve of it. There are also a lot of simple tricks I use; like having our wireless router stop service to specific devices daily at 8:00 PM, never paying for anything on any online store (especially subscriptions), and making sure the game consoles are ONLY in our centralized living room and not out-of-the-way in bedrooms or the den.
Also, I would have thought I'd have more problems with mobile platforms, like smart phones and handhelds, but for whatever reason my kids will just as often use them for reading books or watching video, and for less often than when in front of a TV. Not sure why. Finally, I'd like to add that there are a lot of games out that I've enjoyed, like Child of Light, that I would never have even heard of if my kids weren't into games.
Shannon S on August 10, 2015:
I think it is hilarious to read angry teenagers combating this post. When I grew up in the 80s and 90's we had gaming and it was actually harder than the titles now, which have been mostly dumbed down so that anyone can win if they change the settings. People liked gaming then too. The difference was if you were addicted to it, you were seen as a weirdo with no social skills. It wasn't accepted among your peer sets that you did nothing but sit and drool at a screen all day long. That wasn't "cool" that meant something was wrong with your head. My kids do it too- something has changed, it has become so immersive that they don't want to deal with real people, it is easier to deal with NPCs and control their environment. Kids on Xbox are like little crackheads. We "mean" grownups aren't picking on you lol, we can see that you are addicts, the same as an alcoholic or a meth head, when all you do is wake up and stick your face in a box, disregarding showers, socializing in person, eating and etc... you have a problem not a hobby. Your "interests" are not interesting, they are lamely disguised obsessions, and you aren't being cool or interesting - you are totally the opposite. People that have to play video games to socialize are boring and unimaginative. You guys are a generation that is going to be so easy to control it isn't even funny. If you protest something, they will shut off your Wifi access and you will all fall apart because you have no idea what to do on your own. No imagination, no original thought. I threw out the TV last year, after being woke up at 5 am to the request that one of them could play the Xbox - because they didn't want to share with their brothers and sisters. Seriously they would mainline that crap if they could. Best choice of my life. My kids went through actual withdrawals for three days. Then the weirdest thing happened. They went outside and played. Then they began reading and pretending and resorted to even interacting with other kids. Bought another one for Christmas so we could have family movie nights- STUPID MISTAKE. It isn't about controlling the amount of time or the game ratings. The games themselves stimulate a part of the kids brains that create dependency - it's like feeding your kids booze then getting mad they are alcoholics. I can limit it to an hour a day and the backlash is severe when it is time to get off. Everyday. The world has changed, you can try to limit it and stave it off but you can't stop the inevitable unless you start a commune or live in a bomb shelter- the grownups of tomorrow are going to be placid, addicted and easily controlled because they will have no social skills and no imagination.
Chip on May 04, 2015:
I agree with *og gamer*
As a guy who grew up around video games (starting with my videogenie) I spent days trying to get the 'best score' or best items/hidden secrets or just glitching games for fun.
I will admit that games can be addictive & should be played in moderation, also some people should avoid certain games as if they find them annoying there most likely to break something (the console/controller etc).
There are a few violent games (manhunt etc) that glorify violence.. however I believe that you would have to have some mental illness to 'copy' a game.
Also i have noticed that most games out now don't have the same 'magic' as some of the older games & get boring quick, there are some (not many) decent games though.
I still prefer my older consoles though (such as my Amiga or Original Xbox).
P.s. there are quite a lot of girl gamers out there (my sis plays games.. exp final fantasy, archeage etc).
C on April 27, 2015:
Well actually right now the number of women and gamers and men gamers are about 50/50 but in the next few years 75% of people who play video games will be women.
Oran on April 24, 2015:
This should not be the case, you should let your son play as much as he wishes, the way the world is going these dsyays people are making millions from sitting in front of a tv and playing their xbox, uploading it to the internet and people viewing it, if you ask me you should buy him a laptop and an editing software so he could edit his videos and get paid for what he is doing
Lisa on February 24, 2015:
Wow, you could have written this blog about our 11yr old son and family life!!
We too have the same issues of 'addictive playing' and moodiness. I'm sure a lot of it can also be put down to hormones and growing up, but I am also convinced its the peer pressure and the need to impress others with their knowledge of the latest game.
We currently have an xbox ban due to bad behaviour so it will be interesting to see how he is after the ban of 2 weeks has finished. Probably a completely different boy!! We currently have no room downstairs to house the Xbox without impacting on the rest of the household which isn't fair but we are planning a kids room/games room after some building work has been completed later in the year. At least that way we can control when the Xbox and other equipment is used, it will prevent late night secret attempts at gaming and allow us to control the length of time spent at the screen. We have also been known to isolate the electric to the upstairs in an attempt to remove him from the offending article which is met with complete disgust, arguments and strops!! Is it our own fault? Probably, but we certainly didn't expect such a change of personality from our previously caring and fun son to that of a moody, miserable and argumentative pre-teen intent of having his own way sitting locked away in a darkened room attempting to kill the opposition/grab the flag/building & creating towns etc.
There is an element of creativity I agree, but there is also the need to learn self control and limit the time spent on these games. I only hope this comes with age otherwise we may end up falling out big style.
Thanks for writing this blog. Its good to know that we aren't alone is this computer mad world!!
Polly C (author) from UK on February 14, 2015:
@Justin Xie - Hi Justin, thank you so much for your positive and inspiring comment. Yes, my son is 14 now - he is in year 10 at school in UK, and,as you say, the seriousness of school has stepped up. He takes GCSE exams next year. He doesn't welcome the new focus that needs to be placed on school work at all - however, as you so rightly say, self-control is something that needs to be learned. I think he will learn it over time - most people do if they are to go anywhere in the world, and he definitely wants a good job as he has dreams for the future!
I really like that you pointed out that there are so much worse things he could be doing. Thank you for that :)
Justin Xie on February 13, 2015:
I am the same age as your son wod be today, 14. I also play video games, except I use PlayStation. You wrote your hub very well. I know you may be worried about your boy playing his games all day. However, your son does not sound like a trouble maker at all. If he is achieving high performance in his schoolwork and is doing other things than playing games, then you should not have anything to worry about. There are people at my school are into drugs, alcohol, and partying. Please do not think your son is bad, useless, or anything negative. He is into video games, instead of girls and partying. Another point that I want to make is that your son can still learn self control. He will probably be entering the 9th year of school (In America it is called freshman year). He will have more schoolwork, which will require him to better manage his time. He will have to learn self control, so as not to achieve poor results in school. If you take his Xbox, he may not be able to learn self discipline and control, which he will need in college and his adult life. I learned to control myself very recently. I just kept practicing limiting myself on my games.
Anyways be proud that your son has found a hobby, friends with a common interests, and is not into drugs and sex.
biggamer on February 07, 2015:
when i think of the james bond games violence is the last thing that comes to mind especially when you compare them to all the new call of dutys and battle fields that have come out there's alot less blood and plus the experiment they did with the kids playing a football game and the others playing a war game was a pretty bland experiment since some people have more obsessive personalities than others
Polly C (author) from UK on February 06, 2015:
@AdamWestBatman - well, there was a similar amount of violence and the graphics were similar!
AdamWestBatman on February 05, 2015:
"The bond games didn't look much different than the more mature titles". So I guess because pride and prejudice doesn't look much different than gone with the wind so they must be exactly the same.
hmmm on December 26, 2014:
Polly, at first I really felt for you...your hub was well thought out and written. Then I saw your comment to person I believe it was, and you stated you do not ask your son to do chores. And he only does homework when you tell him too (not on his own free will, of course he won't....he's a kid). IMO, you have no boundaries for this kid. He needs some structure in his life. Give him a time each day where he must do homework. And for pete sakes, give him chores. It will get him off his ass. He needs to learn responsibility. And if you want to make some fun out of it, pay him for it and he can use that money towards gaming time/membership but at least then, he's working towards it. WOW!! When I was 13, I came home and had to do homework from 4:30-5:30. Then it was dinner. Then my chore was the dishes. Then I had free time usually 6:30 to 9:00 and then I had to read from 9:00-9:30. It's up to you to instill these rules and boundaries.
batman on December 04, 2014:
Tony Loving on November 17, 2014:
I do not like the xbox 360 because gold is not free for childeren if gold was created which it is for the xbox then this is the reason why we all have certain people to blame one of the people we have to blame is the xbox 360 developers.
Ezekiel Serrano from Escondido, California on November 05, 2014:
Does he Still Act like this?
I play Games Like James Bond
I rate age as
Quatom of solace 11+
Goldeneye Reloaded 13+
I even Play Cod Black ops 2 I give it 14+ if you turn off the the blood
But I come from the Sony Nintendo side I see Xbox live Very Evil I see my cousin Playing it Mature Games But his mother Only let's him play it in his room sometimes I get to play it
Polly C (author) from UK on September 22, 2014:
Hi Mo, I don't think you should feel too bad about the game, since at least your son can now see how you feel about it! I think I wrote in the article that my son's friend's dad threw the whole xbox down the stairs - it was a few years before he got another games console, so your son is very fortunate in comparison! And anyway, sometimes we do and say things we don't mean in the heat of the moment, when it seems like there is no other way. It might not be ideal, but it is human nature. He might think twice about it next time, since the games are expensive! Besides, creeping downstairs in the middle of the night is quite extreme - my son has done that at sleepovers, but not otherwise!
You could try insisting on a time limit and really sticking to it (i.e. confiscating the whole thing if he doesn't listen, for a certain amount of time). I did that on certain occasions and felt that it improved the situation for a short time at least. My son is actually 14 now, because this article is quite old, and I feel things have changed a bit. He is in Year 10 at school, and whilst he does still play on the xbox and computer for what I believe is too long, he has gradually developed other interests as well. His friends have become more important to him than simply playing games, and because they are older they now arrange to go out places. They spend at least one day at the weekend at the local soccer centre, and sometimes they meet at the park or go into town or to watch football matches at the stadium.
I'm sure your son will eventually turn a corner, but if I thought my son was going to creep about in the night I would probably hide away the controllers or something drastic! (Perhaps sleep with them under your pillow!) Or maybe you could try to fill up his weekends more so that he doesn't have as much spare time. I still resort to turning off the wi-fi connection when my son doesn't listen to me - one pet hate is when I have cooked his dinner and called him and he still doesn't come.
Mo on September 22, 2014:
I'm so pleased I stumbled across this post, today I have finally hit rock bottom and I am disgusted to say turned into a screaming banshee!... My son is 11 yr old and last year I treated my partner to an xbox one, he is really into gadgets and I didn't for one minute think it would turn my life upside down, as this xbox was situated in the living room my son was limited to playing it, but he sat he's S.A.T's exam in the summer and did incredibly well :) Me and my partner took the decided to buy him a playstation 4 and it is situated in he's room...He has become withdrawn and last night woke the whole household up at 3am creeping downstairs to play xbox.. We spent all morning trying to put him back to bed!!!...he is completely wired up and now can't focus on anything else :( after suffering sleep depravation and trying to make my child see reason I broke the game into tiny pieces...I feel totally defeated...
HeavyMetalBard from Grundy, Virginia on September 02, 2014:
I am a father and I have to say, I understand how you feel about this. That being said, you are going about the issue in an entirely irrelevant manner. First of all, a point needs to be made. You are angry with the xbox because your son is addicted to it. Now lets think about all of the addictions that he could have instead. Would you rather he be addicted to drugs? Alcohol? Pornography? If you said yes to any of this then you seriously need to rethink yourself as a parent. I am sorry if that sounded rude but it had to be said. Now here is how you can adjust to this problem you think your son is having. Step 1: Talk to him. Find out what he likes about the games. If you can do this then you know the reason he is playing them. If the answer is something along the lines of, "I play them because everyone else does." Then instead of preaching games are bad, go about it this way. Try explaining the classic "If your friends jumped off of a cliff..." lesson, BUT, and this is important, do it in a calm, non-arrogant manner. You exist as a parent to teach and raise your children, NOT so you can have someone to prove you are big and bad to. If the previous answer to why your child plays games then is not what I stated then, listen and listen good because your child is about to tell you something important about himself. Many kids play games as a source of inspiration, or to make their possibly unrealistic life goals seem more realistic. There are a ton of good reasons for children to play games. As I said you will be astonished.
2. Learn about the games your child likes to play. Compare them to real things. If your child likes call of duty then talk to him about the real military.
3. If you still haven't figured it out then these last few tips are for you. You are just going to have to adjust. This is 2014, we have been in the age of technology for quite a while. And just think we who as kids didn't have many games and most of our time has been spend outside. We weren't born with all of this technology. Our kids were and when they grow up and become adults odds are there is going to be at least ten times the technology there is today. We cant expect our children who are born and raised in the age of technology, to succeed in a world built around technology if we do not let them experience the same technology. And yes you may be allowing him to play and such so yes you are allowing him to experience it, but if he knows you are distressed by it, he will feel bad for it. We are entering into a world were technology is a necessity to make it in the job world. It being a necessity means just this, Have you ever eaten something and just finished it when (for example) your child who you love more than anything in the world comes in and says "OH NO MOM I HAVE BEEN THINKING ABOUT IT ALL DAY I WANTED IT SO BAD" How do you feel? You feel that like you would give anything to go back in time and never have eaten it but you were hungry and knew eating something was a necessity. Now you feel upset, and confused. To finish with this comment, The technology is the food, and your son needs it, but you just walked in upset because you didnt want him to eat it even though he needs it.
Polly C (author) from UK on August 16, 2014:
@Voiceofreason - Hi there, thank you for commenting on this article and for sharing your views. I appreciate it. I am willing to admit that there IS creativity involved in game playing (especially as everyone keeps telling me so!) I know that the online world can be inspiring, because I find my own inspiration from it in other ways. However, I guess it is just the fact that if gamers don't want to do anything else at all, then it just seems so unbalanced. Having said that, this summer my son has started to make his own social life by meeting his friends at the local soccer centre so I think that there is light at the end of the tunnel! He would probably love to be a games designer, so we will see what the future holds. Right now, he is setting up a Youtube channel with a friend but I think it only has games clips on it!
Voiceofreason on August 13, 2014:
Ok, so clearly some gamer kids got a like defensive so I'm here to set things straight. I agree with you on a lot of points but also dissagree. Firstly gender stereotypes get my motor going. Most of my friends are girls, and all of them game. Gender has nothing. To do with interests. Secondly games can be very inspiring. I'm currently at college to be a games designer because of my upbringing with games. It's certainly a different world now and just as much inspiration can be found in the virtual world as in the real one. It's following up that's the problem. We see these characters do crazy things but since we can't do that we just play and pretend. Try getting your son into hobbies similar to the games he plays. On another point that I agree with is that kids don't really do anything anymore. As all of my friends are gamers I'm one of the few thats aware of the outside world but none of my friends want to do anything because they would simply rather stay in their bedrooms. It's very sad indeed, I often find myself going for solo walks around because my buds would rather kill some zombies online :(
N0F3AR on August 08, 2014:
As the reason my 3 nephews were introduced to the xBox (and later it evolved into the xBox 360) and being now a middle-aged male, I may offer a unique perspective regarding video games.
I grew up in the arcade era, when the games first came out and games like "Pac Man", "Berserk", "Centipede" & "Defender" ruled the minds of young boys. I can't even remember how many quarters I dropped in those machines and for that reason getting good on them was a matter of justifying the expense; if I could play longer on a quarter it seemed less like a waste of money. I grew up in an area where when I was younger I played basketball and swam in a lake, as well as spending days exploring the forest that went for miles behind our house. Yes, "idyllic" describes my childhood. In order to play in arcades, I had to ride my bike some 3 miles into town and then to the arcade the next town over--not horrendous but certainly more effort than my nephews make today for sure.
Fast forward to the early 90's and my first computer; I was hooked when I found out I could play some video games FOR FREE on it. Even if they were simpler graphics, for me they were great because I could control them and the games were FREE. That said, the games were the "killer app" that drew me in to learn computers and which led me to a career in IT.
When I got the xBox, I enjoyed it but rarely had time to play it. It was connected to a 51" HD tv, and I loved playing the games but found the controller less than intuitive having cut my teeth most recently on a computer keyboard and preferring that. However when I had my 3 nephews stay overnight I decided to let them "get it out of their system", saying they could stay up as late as they wanted playing. How long could they play in a 24 hour period anyway, I asked myself?
The answer is about 22 out of 24 hours. It is said that if a monkey is taught to smoke eventually he will eschew everything including food and sex for cigarettes; boys and video games seem to be cut from the same cloth. The oldest has (since he secured a well-paying job) bought himself a flat screen TV and an xBox 360, and now locks himself in the room way too much with it. However he HAS graduated to other interests--firearms for example, which so far at least gets him out of the house and his room. The 2nd nephew is away at college and prefers NOT to play the games, and the youngest (18 yrs old) still would play them all day if he could.
The bottom line is that most boys seem to grow out of it--I did, finding computers and computer networks eminently more interesting, as well as girls, and my oldest nephew is beginning to as well. The trick is to introduce your sons to other things in the world that can compete--they may not be going out and "making their own fun" like we had to, but the world is changing, like it or not. There ARE benefits to video games as well---the world is moving towards a technology-based existence, and it familiarizes them with electronics and concepts that extend beyond gaming. It also develops eye-hand coordination, which is always helpful. But realize that while they play to excess now, all it takes is a girl they like, or the realization that to get the car they want they have to leave the room and it all changes. Maybe you can drag them out to a gaming-free environment, but until they are ready or interested in something else, it will always draw them.
Mr.Man on July 29, 2014:
Stop! This is Madness !!!!!!!!!
guygonegamer on July 14, 2014:
Well what I don't understand is why you got him an Xbox most of Xbox exclusives (games only on Xbox) are m rated titles such as halo,gears of war and fable I would recommend the ps3 being as there are more kid friendly titles such as uncharted, little big planet, ratchet and clank and last but not least sly cooper these are games I grew up playing sly cooper and ratchet and clank were the first games I ever played and I'm not obsessed or anything I still like to read and I enjoy a really good movie every now and then I'd try out PlayStation if I were you
Celine on June 04, 2014:
I don't understand why most parents tend to seize their kids toys nowadays, for the fact that they're trying to grow up and live their own life. So far as I've thought, seizing anyone's toys is never a good idea. Xbox might seem to be bad from the outside, but maybe deep down your son is somehow inspired to create a game for Xbox when he's older. So basically you can't blatantly state that Xbox is a bad thing for your son. To look on the other side, studies shown that reading books are worse than playing games. When games give your son the freedom to choose their own choices (e.g The Walking Dead), books on the other side, don't give him that kind of freedom. Let's imagine if books are invented after the video games. Kids are starting to read those books, while parents and teachers are concerned about it. Then they'd say "Perhaps the most dangerous property of these books is the fact that they follow a fixed linear path-- you can't control their narratives in any fashion, you simply sit back and have the story dictated to you.". The second thing i have to say, a United Nations report said that disconnecting people from the internet is a human rights violation. So really, don't stress about it. His Xbox is just like his hobby. Imagine if you took away his Xbox and locked him in his room without anything, how would your son communicate with the society? How would he crave his future? What if your books are seized and you're grounded in your own room? Feeling grumpy? Everybody will. Give him the freedom to live and i'm sure he'll love you too.
Alex on May 16, 2014:
There is a "Family Timer" on the Xbox. You go to family settings then enter your 4 digit code and go to family timer. There you can make there be as much time as you want, it can be reset daily weekly or even monthly. I being an Xbox gamer myself, came from the same mentality. I have learned to accept my family timer, when the time runs out a pop up comes up giving you the options to "Add more time, Suspend timer ( pause it until the console is tuned off) or turn of console. If you have more questions fell free to E-Mail me at Karkidsimmons@gmail.com thank you!
Gabriel on May 15, 2014:
I'm 13 and I'm a gamer.I get straight A's and I'm in advanced math and reading.I spend at least 8hrs on the Xbox and I still do my homework.If my mom did it u can too because she made a plan she told me to first do all my chores then my homework 2hours of sunlight and then I can play Xbox.If my grades are at anything below an A or B then no Xbox.This works perfectly and I have to pay for what I want on the Xbox try this and he is your son u can also just unplug it for a month or two and then tell him u won't plug it in if he doesn't listen next time but be reasonable and five him a schedule for him to do like giving reasonable hours like 4-6 hours of Xbox and the rest of hours outside reading or socialize
Spartan Swagger 1206 on May 14, 2014:
@ Josh Culp That was disrespectful to say to someone that their childhood was boring without even knowing them, that is utterly horrible. I respect that you get your own money at 14, i do too but because she doesn't like her sons xbox and she doesn't like him spending 24/7 on it does not mean that you have to be disrespectful, just because you like like it (I do too trust me) doesn't mean that you say that to someone who doesn't like it, everyone is entitled to their own opinions I think. I mean, i have to admit i really like videogames alot, but Polly doesn't and i respect that, i think everyone else should too.
Max on May 08, 2014:
You must get rid of all video games. they are a disease beyond all diseases for our children and major companies are exploiting our gullibiliity and laziness as parents.
13yo on April 13, 2014:
I find this posy extremely funny, and pretty inaccurate. First video games make kids very creative. Have you heard of minecraft? Extremely popular but its what you do in it thats important. You build things, not weapons, but structures. It TEACHES architecture. And if you dont want you're child playing violent games then heres a tip. DONT BUY THEM! And before turning the wifi off tell youre child to say bye so hes not interupted. I think you hate being interupted, well so does he.
Jon on March 23, 2014:
I don't see how video gaming is different from anything else besides being electronic? Too much of anything is bad, including reading, going out with friends, sports, and other accepted hobbies. Too much time spent reading will cut back on time with friends or time to do your own thing, instead of experiencing others' stories. Too much time with friends may prevent you from being an active learner, or become too dependent on them. Too much time with sports will bring on an obsession with all the players and colleges. No different from these are video games, too much time on them will do what? Rot your brain? An extreme exaggeration. The downsides of video games are the same as any other hobby.
One of your problems may be the fact that you bought an 12 year old boy a violent fps. Or xbl at 11. The types o people he meets online can have a devastating effect, more so than the game itself. Im making an assumption here by saying your son goes to a public school, but the words, phrases, and actions he learns there are about the same as xbl.
Maybe instead of limiting him see what happens when he can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. He will soon realize that the game isn't as fun or isn't fun when his friends get off eventually.
Raul Cabral on March 21, 2014:
Hello polly, i would just like to say your article was well written and please excuse me for any grammatically incorrect mistakes. I am 17 now, and began gaming when i was 5, but i never had parents telling when to get off. I would spend 4-8 hours a day gaming and it got worse and worse, i was socially inept at school and had 1-2 friends most of my life, all i thought about was coming home and gaming. I would never pay attention in school and always got bad grades, because all i would think about was coming home and playing games. I would constantly get suspended and in trouble (adhd didn't help either) but a lot of my social problems did come from constantly gaming all day and locking myself from society. Then xbox live came out and my addiction became more of a problem, it still is today but at least i know now, I have always had problems and while i'm a good reader i have a 4th grade math level at 17, i am not very responsible and i'm not trying to sound like i'm blaming this on all video games, i am just saying it contributed to a lot of things in my life since gaming was and is my life, it is like drugs, it is an addiction that is hard to overcome, but you can help your son by limiting his playing severely, and i do not want to come off by telling you how to raise your child because i am still merely a child, i would just try and give advice based on my experience, prepare your son for the future, give him more responsibility, make him earn time playing by doing things around the house. Maybe even try to give him a job, anything to take his time from playing useless video games as a hobby, and getting him to become a responsible adult, honestly i wish today that i had parents who did that for me, because video games raised me, and now i do my best to stop gaming and currently trying to find a job to help prepare me, even though i wished i started sooner its a start. Its only going to become worse if you do not step in and severely limit his playing, take my advice with a grain of salt if you want but heed my warning Video games can take over your sons life if you let it, thank you for reading this and good day.
Soccer mom on March 13, 2014:
Oh my god I love desperate house wife's! Xbox is bad.
Jhirsch3 on March 11, 2014:
I think one of the main issues here is that your son is limited in his playing. People want what they can't have so he will never be bored as long as he is limited and cut off from playing. Having said that I agree that you cannot let him play all day every day so there has to be a balance between cutting him off every time and trying to let it play itself out. I know it seems like it may never end without you doing so but I promise you if you keep cutting him off it could never end and think about how bad it could get when he moves out of the house.
jiM on March 10, 2014:
YOU ARE RETARDED
bobsagetfan34 on March 04, 2014:
Have you considered that your son is merely enjoy the escapism that is literature. Video games are new and as always, will be somewhat scary when faced by one from a time that they were not so prevalent. It is hard for every person to let go of their fear of ambiguity, also known as conservatism, but remember that not every thing that is new is necessarily bad. Would you be OK with your son spending all his time reading, even if it takes away spending time with the family. Most likely yes because the act of reading is "much different than playing video games." Do remember the only reason you feel this way is because you were raised to think so, just as the current generation is raised to our "social norm". Video games can be an excellent way to tell stories, with plot, character development, and life lessons. Many games lack these however and badmouth the industry as a whole. Change is not a bad thing, as it opens up new possibilities for learning and comprehending things. I for one have not "lost creativity" by playing games, but on the contrary have been greatly inspired by these "bad news bears" video games. They have helped me comprehend how the human mind works, the reasons many people fight (although all conflict is pointless as it solves nothing), and reasons why people cling to their beliefs, even though the beliefs are merely forced upon them. I may be wrong, but your dislike for violence leads me to believe you are a religious person, as am I. Do not forget that the Bible has many instances of violence. Israel was formed from violence and violence keeps it as it is today, many weapons of death are made there. Violence is an unfortunate and tragic happening of petty human struggle, inevitable, but that does not mean we should turn our backs on it. Violent stories happen to be the most effective when it comes to explaining and understanding humanity's animalistic nature. I agree to much of anything is bad, but video games are simply a way to tell engaging stories, and if multiplayer, building friendships and teamwork skills. I am not a parent and am only fifth-teen but I feel that my debate is valid enough to stand up for.
Darkdisasterz98 on March 04, 2014:
I saw what you said about he just wants more and more what my parents did is just let me play as much as I wanted and after a month or so I got bored and got back into BMXing (previous addiction) also find out what other Bobby's he enjoys or enjoyed and support him in those too. And if he is really into shooting games every once and awhile ask him if him and his friends want to go paint balling (excellent sport and hobby for the right person) if that is too painful for them then look into airsofting (similar to paintball but with low velocity plastic beads also less painful) I hope these help ;)
Anonymous on March 03, 2014:
As I agree because I'm a little addicted myself I think that for you to actually understand what your talking about is to play the the games. You say that they are not creative but this is a stereotype that most parents have and that's okay because some games aren't creative but the games I find are most fun are the games the you have to think about how to pass a level or finish a mission for example Mario games don't tell you how to kill bosses so you have to figure it out and honestly the rating system is messed up now there is too much protection. And I don't mean to criticize your parenting because I'm just a kid myself but some parents are so concerned with what their kids are playing or watching that the kid never gets to explore their options and this isn't only for technology like games and tv but for the outside world aswell. I remember my mom would give me a walkie talkie and tell me to go to a friends house or go biking at around 9 or 10 o'clock in the morning and I didn't have to be home until 6:30 for supper and then 8:00 if I went out again. Now my friends younger siblings can't play in a fenced yard without supervision. And I know the world is a worse place then before but still it's fenced next to the house and in yelling range I'm not saying let them play outside while you you sleep but don't always be where they are. Does anyone agree? I mean now if a kid gets hurt its always someone else's fault not the kids but their friends or the neighbour. Do with this as you will this is just a teenage perspective on the situation.
Babo on March 03, 2014:
Hey im a teen of 13 . I think u should let him play.
Self, im addicted to. I play for like 6 hours in the week and 9 hours in weekend, but i dont get bored because its my hobby and im not good at something Else . Its Nothing wrong with gaming if he enjoy it
Harrison Pye on March 02, 2014:
I'm a person who is very much in love (Not sexually! but emotionally with Football (Soccer). FIFA 14 was my favourite game because I could do things with the players I idolised. Unfortunately this is exactly what happened to me. But I used my mother's credit card for my use and stole $500 to my account. It was a very bad thing to do and I regret it a lot. I'm glad my mother has punished me by taking it away, because I can engage in more things and do things with other people (i.e. My Friends) It should be for hobbies and hobbies only. Of course that is my opinion.
Connor on March 01, 2014:
I've noticed that it's the older generations that complain the most about new technology ( no offence to whoever started the thread) ,
I'm 16 years old, almost constantly on my xbox ... My parents are not really bothered about me playing on my xbox for 3-4 hours at a time...
I go to my grandmas quite a lot and normally it's for a week or 2 , so I take my Xbox with me as most of the time there they r watching corrie emmer dale and all the other soaps ... Not to mention all the house programs which are sooooo boring.
Whenever I'm on the xbox there they complain.. Even I I've only just turned it on! ( literally!)
What I'm saying is that the older generations are not used to all this new technology! That is probably why u started this thread... I mean if ur son I on it constantly 6 hours plus a day then that's a little too much and I can see your concern! But if it's just for a few hours at a time then that's nothing to worry about, that's teenagers for you!
Technic on February 27, 2014:
I am... a kid. While I can understand the point of view you're coming from, I can see you don't really understand the appeal of video games and how to use them wisely. I see that there is two types of parents: Those who understand the appeal of gaming, and those who don't. Mothers usually understand less, and fathers slightly more. Now, Xbox is definitely the worst console for addiction. Get him a decent laptop, 4GB and any Intel processor should do. Introduce him to Minecraft, and if he says "It's geeky!" or something like that, tell him that if his friends dislike him for playing Minecraft, then they are not a good friend. Peer pressure is not that big for me, because I hang out with kids who are like me, they play stuff like Minecraft and Animal Crossing. I'm not big on shooters and stuff like that, I'm a PC/Nintendo gamer, and I have absolutely no interest in an Xbox (not that I would get one). Anyways, just trying to get you to take a new look at things. In fact, a great thing for you to do is to make it fair to your son. Instead of forcing him to stop without much justifiable reason, try sitting down and playing with him for once, even if you don't like it. If he pushes you away, get defensive, seriously, maybe even cry a bit. And if he doesn't, which is more likely, then try to understand how the game works, and get some perspective. Just trying to add some perspective to the conversation.
kenny on February 24, 2014:
polly in a earlier comment you posted your son plays minecraft. in minecraft you can basically build a world unique from anyone elses. yet you still believe xbox is taking away creativity? what sense are you making? sure ill agree playing xbox shouldnt be played for hours but saying games take away creativity is an opinion i cant agree with.
Callum on February 24, 2014:
Your Son sounds exactly like my brother and I when we were passing through high school. It started when we used to play world of Warcraft an online PC game which required a subscription fee much like Xbox live.
We would play for hours and hours until we got bored of it, this went on for a year or so then we moved on to other PC games, and I bought an Xbox and my brother a ps3. My parents always let us play if we had free time, and did suggest having friends over and going out which we still enjoyed, we were about 18 then and more independent.
When we started university we barely had time for gaming, and pretty much were all bored of most games and couldn't get addicted to anything anymore.
Because of PC gaming, however, my brother and I becomes really tech savvy and he went on to do information technology and web design, I went into environmental geology completely different i know. But from time to time I still play with my old high school friends online or I invite them over to play the occasional halo or battlefield on PlayStation 4 and my friends and I enjoy it still to this day, but I look at it like this, my dad and his friends come over to watch football or cricket and that is a less interactive experiences than playing games with friends.
But maybe if you join in with your son and be supportive he won't be so aggressive or sneaky with the Xbox.
By the way my brother and I are in our mid 20s now and hope to be playing games with our children
Amy from Darlington, England on February 23, 2014:
It can be a healthy distraction to play Video games but it can also become an unhealthy obsession. I remember sitting up all night playing games after my mom and dad had gone to bed. I was caught once or twice but could not help it, once I got into a game that was it and it's still like that over 15 years later. You should not blame yourself he is at an age where he wants to rebel and become independent. Have you tried getting some family games and getting him to play with you? I used to do this with my dad and my console was in my room not the family room. It was a Spectrum not a Sega like everyone else had in my family at the time but it was mine. I also do this with my daughter who has claimed my PS2 and DS. She is only 5 so I've got it all to come.
Does it have a Kinect?
This is a great piece of kit and there are games that would appeal to your son. It may be a good investment if you don't already have it.
Polly C (author) from UK on February 21, 2014:
@seal1790 - you are right, I believe that without the ability to communicate with other people on Xbox Live, then it would not be such fun for him. He is a sociable boy who likes to chat with his friends - seemingly without ever going anywhere. Yes, he certainly pushes the limits and wants to play later and later at night. The truth is, I don't know if he would ever go to bed if I didn't tell him to. I have fallen asleep in the evening before - accidently, on the sofa - and when I wake up at past midnight, he is still there playing on his games because no one has told him not to. I don't think he is very good at monitoring himself, and this can be on a school night as well.
Thank you for adding your thoughts on this article, I did not believe for a moment when I wrote it that it would turn into such a long debate!
Polly C (author) from UK on February 21, 2014:
@Stephen Lopez - I understand what you are saying, but that doesn't seem to work with my son. He is older now because this is quite an old post - rather than improve, the situation has become even worse, with him playing for longer and longer hours. And I must admit that I have given up somewhat, since it seems like such a struggle. He seems to never want to come away from it whilst he is in the house, and considers everything else boring. Rather than come off it on his own accord if I don't say anything, he just stays on in and takes as much rope as he can. Perhaps one day, when he matures a bit, your theory might prove itself - I hope so, because I think it is quite depressing the way things are at the moment.
Polly C (author) from UK on February 21, 2014:
@Spartan swagger 1206 -Thank you so much for your nice comments, communication between different generations is always the key to a better world, I think.
Polly C (author) from UK on February 21, 2014:
@ds - well, I do allow my son freedom to play Xbox - the problem is not the Xbox as such, but rather the very excessive amounts of time he spends on it. Surely it cannot possibly be healthy to sit in front of a game for hours on end, every day, and not pursue other activities?
I don't agree with you about sports and violence - I read a study once which claimed children who participated regularly in sports activities were actually less aggressive. Also, it has been proven that children who play violent computer games show less empathy in the period following the game.
My son might well like to have a career developing games (although he says he doesn't because the process isn't very interesting - his words) but even if he did, I would like him to have a balanced life pursuing other activities away from a screen as well. Excessive behaviour like this cannot really be healthy. And as for creativity - yes, perhaps there is an element of creativity in gaming, but only within the boundaries of the game designed by other people.
Anyway, thank you for your comments on this article.
Polly C (author) from UK on February 21, 2014:
@SikeGamer - yes, it is definitely better to be a gamer than a drug addict. But I am not against gaming as such, rather the loss of a balanced life when my son doesn't want to do anything else. I will admit that creativity can be expressed on a computer, or on a game even, but to me that still isn't a good thing unless it is enjoyed in moderation.
It's good that your grades are good and your mum is happy with them - my son leaves his homework constantly because he is sucked into a game, and I don't think that is good at all - it pulls his grades down.
Anyway, thank you for your comments and for reading :)
Polly C (author) from UK on February 21, 2014:
@James Collins - I agree with you, it's not a good situation when it isn't in moderation. I find that my son just wants to take more and more, no matter what I give him - if I say one hour he wants two, if I say two hours he wants four. This hub is quite old now and so my son is now 13 - I can only say that it has become worse, not better. It is half term right now, and he has wanted to spend all of his time on the Xbox - all his friends are on there talking to each other, but it is still not the same as actually going out and doing things. Because I have a younger son who is only 5, I end up leaving him (my 13 year old) at home while I go places like the park with his brother. He won't come to the park with me because it's 'not cool to be at the park with your parents'. But then he is just left to his own devices and guess what he does?
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and opinions, much appreciated :)
James Collins on February 18, 2014:
Polly, Thankyou for this incredibly well written article. This really hit a nerve with me as I am constantly trying to teach my son that whilst the 'virtual' world can be entertaining, everything needs to be done in moderation.
Anything in excess is harmful.
I do believe we are creating a world of zombie children who seem unable to really communicate
SikeGamer on February 15, 2014:
I didnt read all of the comments but I saw some of your comments and I was finding this lie in all of your comments it was that games take away creativity. I have to disagree because I am 16 years old started playing games when I was about 12 I used to go out all the time and hang out with friends and my grades were really bad , when I started playing video games because of my friend Boris I slowly started realizing that its more fun than going outside so I spent more time in the house and my mom was able to make a deal with me if I have good grades she wont bother me about video games she even said that we can play together sometimes. Now if you think that I have a small amount of friends your wrong actually when I started high school I met a lot of gamers people that were just like me so we hanged out online and in school all the time. If you think about it its better to be a gamer then a drug addict or alcohol addict and also since we are gamers and we get insulted all the time we learn to be better persons to not insult others to help others. Ask your kid what would he do in some situations since from games we learn how to be heroes.
Oh and sorry for my bad grammar I am not a native speaker of english. I learned english thanks to games.
DS on February 06, 2014:
You obviously know nothing about creativity and immersion. Hobbes such as sports promote violence and (surprise) have a much higher rate of injury and even mortality then gaming. The thing that parents like this obviously fail to see is the fact that because they grew up one way does not mean there child will be the same. It's a new generation and there are many positive games out there that promote creativity and letting yourself sink into the game as if you are in that universe and that is a great thing. So just because he plays the main stream shooters dosent mean he won't branch out to other better games. He might make a career of making them one day. Give him some freedom to explore his interests.
Spartan swagger 1206 on February 04, 2014:
you are very welcome Polly! I am happy to help you because as years go by, we kids change a lot, if you compare us to the 1950`s to now we show an absolute no respect toward our parents, and yes I am being very hypocritical here but I want parents to understand what we feel, what we go through, and our point of view of different things in life, thank you very much for reading this, and nice hub polly I can see a lot of work has been put into it! Great job! :)
Steven Lopez on February 01, 2014:
You should probably look into neurology before coming to conclusions as what is the best way. The reason he became so attached is because of the limits he had. For me, it was always play as long as you'd like. You get bored of playing video games for so long a time and then find something else . But if all these limits are set, it suddenly becomes a huge treasure that they try to get any second they can.
Polly C (author) from UK on January 29, 2014:
@Qixil - Thank you so much for reading and leaving your comments. When I first wrote this article my son was 11, but he is now 13. I can only say that things have become worse, really, in terms of how much time he wants to spend attached to a screen. He does have other interests - he does karate three times a week, which he really loves. However, even though he does this, he is still at home for far more time and he really doesn't seem to want to do anything except for play on Xbox, on the computer or on a tablet. If he doesn't have those things at his disposal, then he is on his phone instead!
I think you may be right in that modern games aim to reel the gamer in so that they don't want to go back to reality. Hopefully, our children will tire in the end and seek out other forms of entertainment or leisure pursuits. But I do know that there are many adults who are utterly obsessed with new games and queue up in the middle of the night to buy new releases - I find that quite hard to understand, but it just proves that it isn't only youngsters who are hooked.
Once again, thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences - and I am really sorry to hear about your father. Take care.
seal1790 on January 23, 2014:
I know this isn't what you want to hear, but you neex to look at the situation. It isn't addiction, he's playing to be with his friends, as they talk over the microphone. Addiction would br to the point where the games outright anger him, but he can't stop playing. The television in his room wasn't the best idea, as it is the one place where he can stay and not expect to be disturbed. His behavior isn't indicative that he likes violence, simply that he doesn't want to be stuck at home all the time. It can indicate he simply wants independence. The looser restrictions on his xbox 360 play timd sounds like how i.pushed slowly for later bed times as a kid until i was allowed to stay up as long as i saw fit at 14. He just wants rights, and that is the area of his life he is pushing for them.
Qixil on January 18, 2014:
Thanks for this hub Polly - You've attracted a great mix of informative views here.
My household just graduated from the Wii to play Minecraft on the xbox and my son (8yrs) is getting pretty hooked on doing this with his friends on live.
It's sometimes hard to restrict the time, and I have similar concerns to those you describe.
Now I grew up without a computer, but after Uni (30yrs ago) spent a fruitless year coding an unsuccessful text-only game. Pretty much 24/7 coding.
Nowadays, I only play occasionally with my son - but (rarely) when life gets stressful I'll spend all night taking it out in a first player shoot-em-up (I'm pretty rubbish).
Sometimes I think the best remedy is to allow them to fill their boots with whatever floats their boat at the time, and hopefully we come back to moderation. But I fear that modern games attempt to avoid this return to the norm to make a quick buck.
There's also the thought out there that excessive porn screws with your long-term sexual behaviour and attitudes - so I wonder what some of these modern intense games do to people.
Similarly, there are different types of games - some of them just keep hitting the adrenaline button - and others require a long-term attention-span. It's tricky separating one from the other. I thought all racing games are the same - but find WorldRallyC too intense to allow on our xbox beyond a demo. The only way I can keep on top of this is to spend time watching him play and being well informed.
Rest assured, we indulge every interest he has to find the things that really interest him (BMX racing + swimming so far). Fortunately we're in a position to be able to do that - many aren't.
I was brought up with little to do except go out exploring the countryside with my friends - unfortunately I'm living in a place/culture where it no longer seems possible. But yes, life has changed and perhaps it's not such a bad thing.
At the moment, my father is spending 24/7 on a couch doing very little - but that's because he's dying of cancer. I will put my foot down if my son starts doing the same when he's young and perfectly healthy.
Thanks again Polly for starting/nurturing this hub.
Junk it ! on January 17, 2014:
I can,t believe how irrational some are about not kicking this game to the curb! talk about your weight problems the society is looking at food for the adults,and making sure school food is ok! for kids pile of metal plastic recycled piece of # is and will be ruins for the children weight problem I have seen just think about that sitting around on your # all day for 6 hours what is it that you people don,t get ! your making Americans losers all day every day .Hey maybe they can make them edible when we all go into a depression ,or protect ourselves sitting down!
William on January 17, 2014:
It's the way it is now.....life has changed. Why would he go outside when all of his friends are on Xbox?
Mumofoneboy on January 15, 2014:
In reply to one time only I never said I have bought my son violent games.
His friends have the violent games I don't want him playing. Also because I don't want him playing them I try to keep him at home on the xbox so I can monitor what he is playing.
One of the problems with headsets is he has made so many friends online and he wants to talk to them all the time. This is the reason I have kept buying replacements, but he is not getting anymore.
One Time Only on January 13, 2014:
@Mumofoneboy, thennnn, why did you buy him the headsets again? And most importantly, why would you buy him violent games you don't want him playing? You're contradicting yourself.
One Time Only on January 13, 2014:
@Mumofoneboy, thennnn, why did you buy him the headsets again? And most importantly, why would you buy him violent games you don't want him playing? You're contradicting yourself.
Mumofoneboy on January 12, 2014:
I loved reading your post it is exactly how our house is with our 10 year old son. He gets so angry on the game. I have lost count how many times he has broken headsets and we have said he is not getting a replacement or we are going to get rid of the xbox.
But when he has tried to go and play with friends they are all on there xboxs so can't win and some of these children are on games I do not want my son playing. It is a hard issue to find peace and compromise with.
Vacouz on January 11, 2014:
@One Time Only Wow, we don't really have that much difference then :P
One Time Only on January 09, 2014:
Um, STEVE! That angers me that you would even think of the idea to "Save the youth" by cutting their Xbox time in half. MAYBE that's just YOUR kid! I wouldn't like my dad to cut my Xbox time in half. Matter a fact, I became best friends with the friends I have now because of fun times on Xbox playing GTA, having police stand offs and working together. It's not as bad as you think and make it. You don't understand because you aren't into technology. You have to start out with shortened hours and reward them with longer hours. You can't just cut it down when he's played for so long.
One Time Only on January 09, 2014:
@Polly C (However you alert someone on this), I am a gamer myself. Just like how you described your son, that happened to me. Just, not with Fifa games. I played Splinter-Cell, Halo, Call of Duty. I usually seem to hear the same thing from all parents. "It absorbs their creativity and passion.". I play Xbox because it's fun. It allows you to do things in a game that you can't do in real life. I mostly play Grand Theft Auto Five and Battlefield 4. They both have amazing graphics and texture that allows the player to experience the full effect of what the game maker has created. It's a realism which can really help the brain grow in certain ways. Having an interaction with technology is a vital part of the future for kids. I am 16, and I can already see that all this technology is altering at a crazy fast rate. And that't not bad. CHANGE, is not bad. Going from the 40's to the 60's, and so on is a perfectly normal part in time. I have put a good amount of my life into Xbox, and I am perfectly normal. I still see the world the same. I don't have hallucinations of gory stuff or anything. I have A's and B's, and all I can say that Xbox has changed dramatically, is my career. I want to serve in the military for my country. I want to fly jets, or become a sniper with a .50 caliber. I find that cool in my head. Our military is made up of people that have the brain to do that. Xbox has made me used to that stuff. But I'm not some kid stone cold by the images I've seen. I get grossed out by blood and broken bones. But when it comes to serving my country I can get that feeling of what I've played since I was young. So when I go into the military, I will have that dream before me. Flying a jet at hundreds of miles per hour. Or picking off the enemies with a .50 caliber(It sounds gruesome, and it is, but snipers are there to protect the ones up close. They are the ones with the strong stomachs to watch their bullet kill somebody). So if I die out there, you can think to yourself many things. Maybe you'll be grateful I went out there and helped my country. Maybe you won't care because I'm a gamer that can't do anything for the world. Or maybe you'll be happy that I died, glad I didn't come back with PTSD and "back to the Xbox" with all this violence.
Allan from Boston, MA on January 07, 2014:
Honestly video game craze for young boys is pretty normal and is really nothing new. Even before there were consoles like the xbox360 all the way back to to Atari 2600 young kids would be flocking to video arcades and spending every free moment they could there. In this day in age it's all about xbox live or playstation 3 with playstation network allowing kids to gather and play multiplayer games with each other. I can imagine it can be frustrating but honestly at least the kids are safe at home playing a game instead of out getting into trouble. It's a phase just like anything else and eventually something else new will come out for kids to be obsessed with. Keep up the good job with setting the boundaries and doing your best to manage his game time.
Anon on January 06, 2014:
Wow People Seriously Geting Ticked Off At This Post But Yet Again I Shouldn't when i was 6 i got the Xbox Orginal. I Had A Preety Normal ChildHood Helped My Dad When He Needed. Helped My Mum Chosing New Games for her Pc. Couple Years Ahead My Parents Get me a 360 My Parents Where Fine Whith It. But Until i was 10 i got alot into coding and computers did alot of tinkering and still do. Now at 14 I Don't Bother With My Xbox Slim It Gathers Dust. Iam Just making Games on pc or tinkering. But My Point Is Untill When Hits High Shcool He is Going to relise that Hey I Can Do More Stuff With Gaming i can Make money and Knowing How to Code is A Good Way To get in to senior IT
Polly C (author) from UK on January 06, 2014:
@Jacob - That is a fantastic idea Jacob, we did play some board games and card games over Christmas and it was good fun, it would definitely be great to continue it. Thank you for commenting!
Jacob on January 05, 2014:
Wow :') this is like my own mother wrote this, she always told me I was obsessed with my xbox, we found the solution through me getting bored of the same routine, we always watched tv until it was time for bed so instead we played board games such as ludo and monopoly or card games although this may sound 'lame' and 'uncool' once I started I couldn't stop. Hope this helps
Polly C (author) from UK on January 05, 2014:
@YourGellyofMyPC - I appreciate you reading this hub and sharing your thoughts - it's great that you have found some work doing what you love. I don't actually mind my son playing Xbox but rather don't like the fact that he doesn't ever do anything else. He wears glasses already, and the optician told him that it isn't good for the eyes to stare at a screen for too long without breaks because the eyes need to look further into the distance. But anyway, that's another topic entirely.
My son does like Minecraft a lot. He also has an interest in setting up a Youtube channel - I think he has already done this but has only made a handful of videos. He is very inspired by some people who have made lot of money by making videos and is always telling me about how rich they are. As for DeviantArt, I have looked this up before because one of the other commenters mentioned it. So yes, I understand that you can be creative on a PC - I can see also that this can lead on to other opportunities and career options. However, that must be different from simply playing games - to design something of your own can't be the same as just playing a game already designed by someone else.
Everyone deserves some leisure time in which to do what they want, of course. I just don't like to see my son's entire life taken over by his Xbox, and to see him sitting in his room all the time instead of going out and actually meeting up with his friends. I think he needs fresh air and a bit more exercise!
Polly C (author) from UK on January 05, 2014:
@Ewan - hi there. The game developer programme sounds interesting and my son has talked about something like that. However, he talks about it but doesn't actually do it, and just carries on with the Xbox games instead! Since I first wrote this article he has actually got worse with the amount of time he wants to spend playing games. I would be much happier if he was spending his time designing games instead of only playing them - that is a creative pursuit and he would actually be learning something. Although I would still like him to go out and do other things as well.
Thank you for reading!
Polly C (author) from UK on January 05, 2014:
@Tim - You have given me hope, thank you for that!
Tim on January 03, 2014:
I'm sure as your son gets older he will lose interest in playing xbox 24/7. I was like that when I was younger and my friends were too but you grow up!
Ewan on January 01, 2014:
Hi, I play the Xbox every now and then, because it doesn't interest me that much. Your son reminds me of a lot if my friends. Personally, I would rather watch paint dry than play violent games or the Xbox 24/7.
However, on the pc in my house, I look at (sometimes) a game developer programme. That drives me nuts with creativity. Great hub!
YourGellyOfMyPC on January 01, 2014:
Edit: I would also like to add that this generation is very creative with a quick google search or trip to http://www.deviantart.com/ you can realize our generation has extremely talented and creative minds! There are people on youtube that make millions a year just playing games!
YourGellyOfMyPC on January 01, 2014:
With all do respect I disagree with this article. I played Xbox ,PC,PS3 everyday for at least 8 hours A day. Video games don't reduce creativity they simply inspire it, take games like Minecraft for example the entire game is based around creativity along with countless other simulation and building games. I gladly work as a beta tester and a youtuber on the side and stare at a screen from 8am to 6pm. I have my dream job because I played video games constantly and was recognized.
Also if your to restrictive he could be overwhelmed when he is released into the world. Lastly be carful not to restrict him to much, my parents grounded me because they said I played to much shortly after I lived with my uncle and played more than ever. Im not saying your wrong but gaming can be a great thing!
Milos Golubovic from Los Angeles, California on January 01, 2014:
Ma'am, I will speak to you from my own experience. Now, all the non-gamer kids, apart from my friends who aren't really gamers, they are vandals. Now these days you have 2 choices: Let him be a drug and alco addict, party junkey nymphomaniac vandal, or let him be a gamer. You don't need to let him play violent games, even other gamers don't make children play violent games. You can let him play titles like Super Mario, Sonic or Legend of Zelda. You could let him play some games desired for children, or some fighting plane simulators, I think they're rated 12+. Now, the thing is this is a sanctuary, and let's face it that everyone who works out wants to impress the opposite gender. And I see you want to interest him into the "joys of life". I'm sorry ma'am, but since the creation of books there we're some children, and well adults which didn't want to go to the end of the world, but wanted to read about in books. Now it's proven that children, and well people in general have their reactions sharpened out due to gaming about 2 hours every day. Oh, and you shouldn't be one of those mothers who want to make their children doctors, or lawyers, or presidents. Let him be whatever he wants to be, even if it's a video game programmer. And if you're thinking it's about fitting in, then I can tell you it's the right kind of group. As I told you, there are now alcocholics, drug addicts, and sex addicts (at a very young age sadly...) and if you don't believe me you might notice some girls always wearing really short shorts. This way he'll be isolated from Miley Cyrus, and other bad stars which are bad influence.
If you ask me what games he should play, Nintendo makes nice titles for children, and you can give him driving games like Need for Speed. I'm not quite a fan of sports, I'm interested in cars and wolves myself, but let him play FIFA, PES, and other sports games.
Nadeem El Zahr from Beirut, Lebanon on December 29, 2013:
Hello Polly,I am very intrigued by your son's crave to play Xbox and i understand him…considering i am a 13 year old boy myself and am a ps3 gamer i think restricting him of the xbox is just going to want to make him play more…and he can,at his friend's house or at a local gaming café (i dont know if you have that in your vicinity)without informing you of the events of his time at these places.So i say make a deal of only playing on weekends and holidays.but not for the whole day i used to spend 3 irritating hours in a row playing and not feel it.so maybe your son just feels that he is not playing a lot.however…if ur son will not abide by the rule of only in weekends.i suggest you get him something similar to gaming but in reality.like for example:Airsoft weapons may hurt but are far less harmful than spending 12 hours on a tv with rapid finger movement.or maybe u can buy him a new ball or a kit for his favorite football team. Whatever seems comfortable.
A 13 Year old that has had friends similar to ur son.
ConsoleHaterUK on December 28, 2013:
I don't think that the Xbox did this to your son. I think it's this little thing called puberty, and don't tell me it's too early because... well, it's not.
Of course, the Xbox had its part, but be real; if you think about it from a logical standpoint, rather than that of a mum investigating her now askew child. If you think that it's a code red alert problem, meaning it's spring break and your son hasn't left the house in two weeks and the sunlight hurts his eyes and he hisses when he sees it, be very mature and polite and reasonable with him and try to figure out a way to reduce Xbox time. Not drastically (important).If it comes to it, try to figure something out with his friends' parents, as they may be having the same feelings.
However, I am in no way supporting the fact that he sits on his bum all day and probably all night as well. British studies show that time spent sitting directly correlates with the length of one's life. And get this: the time spent seated cannot be revoked by extra exercise.
M.Andersen on December 27, 2013:
Hi, I'm 14 years old and my grandparents just bought my family the Xbox One. Currently we do not own any of the violent video games, not because they are violent, but because if the cussing. I wanted Assasins Creed Black Flag but my dad read there was a sex scene in it so there went that idea. I personally do not think cussing is very inappropriate for someone my age. People my age hear cussing in school all day. But still I am not allowed to get any war related games because of cussing. I will say I have played many war games at friends house and most of the cussing occurs on Xbox live. When you say that kids become obsessesed with the games, this is true. Last year, before I switched schools, there were two boys on my bus and all they did was talk about COD and AC and when they got home they would sit and play it for hours. I'm pretty sure they were both failing in school and so for their parents to set limits on their gameplay would be entirely fair. But when I read your post and your replies it doesn't sound like your son is obsessed. He sounds like a regular middle schooler who has a great social life. With Xbox live he is interacting with people he knows even if not directly. Xbox provides entertainment and something in common with his friends. I will say that because he is a guy he is much more drawn to violent games. I love gaming, but most of my friends who are girls are on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, and youtube for hours a day. They are "plugged in" for much more time than the guys. I do not see the appeal of social networking sites because they are full of drama and things you honestly do not want, or care, to know about people. The Xbox is a drama free environment most of the time and aside from cussing and and violence is pretty positive. I'm not a parent but if it was me I would be glad my child was addicted to Xbox rather than the much worse alternatives running wild throughout society. I know this isn't a very well written comment, and some parts are pretty irrelevant, but thanks for reading anyway.
Tessa on December 27, 2013:
Go on his Xbox when he's not in and put perental controls on it so he can't play violent games
Naomi McDougal on December 27, 2013:
If youve had a problem with it to this extent i would take it away for a couple years...im 15 and a girl lol. But ive been into games for as long as i can remember! But when i got xbox live it became a major problem in my life i didnt wanna do anything or go anywhere for the first year. I would constantly deny invites to friends houses and parties. I would stay home from school and play xbox all day till early morning. I was about 11-12 like ur son. My parents took my xbox after i threw a fit to go shopping. I didnt have it for 5 months then they finally gave it back but no xbox live. I got that back after i proved that i was responsible and could mantain a normal life. I now still love my xbox and am saving for an xbox one now but i also read and write and draw and spend time with family. That may be what your son needs
Justin on December 26, 2013:
The Xbox has nothing to do with it. I own an Xbox 360 and go days where I play it a lot, to weeks where I don't touch it. If you have other things to do in the environment he is in (be it fun or chores) your mind gets taken away from gaming, and soon gets embedded into your subconscious. It's like blaming food for making your kid fat. No, HE made himself fat, and YOU allowed it.
beta2 on December 26, 2013:
I don't think the parents perspective is really any better than the childs.
We all have our personal passions and not being able to fully focus on them only makes us miserable.
Also if this is the attitude of the parents, it's much less likely the child will be encouraged to build a career out of his love for games, something which is a very real possibility in this day and age.
machonacho44556 on December 24, 2013:
I'm 20 years old and one of the top rankers for gamerscore in Michigan. If you want to get him off of xbox still I would suggest not letting him buy any new games until he has every achievement in ones he already owns. There is a good chance that with how difficult some of the achievements can be that he'll give up and have to settle for what he has which will eventually lead to boredom. Then he will probably start at least spending more time with the family.
Some dad on December 23, 2013:
I agree with some of this but it does quite depend on where you live.
I myself live in a small village and my sons not a sporty person. There is not Much for him to do other than play Xbox.
If you live in a city/town but wish for your son to pay for cinema tickets, bus fares etc, then he will turn to the cheaper alternative of Xbox games.
You need a new approach to this such as him and his friends going to the movies each weekend to get him off it.
all awesome me on December 22, 2013:
I think I'm all awsome
Chris Repp on December 19, 2013:
I have the very exact same problem. It is like you are reading my mind. I sometimes joke that the Xbox Live is the devil. I am currently researching for timers that would allow me to shut if off at certain times during the week vs weekend. I have daydreamed about smashing the Xbox to pieces. When I hear parents talk about getting one, I tell them they are inviting the Devil into their home. lol
Anon on December 17, 2013:
I also do not agree that creativity is being lost in gaming. It is merely being expressed in a different way. When you are gaming, you are always thinking "how can I accomplish this task?" You find that gamers can come up with the craziest ways to solve problems. Sure, it doesn't produce physical artifacts, but does it have to?
Anon on December 17, 2013:
This is how we communicate and hang out with friends now. I mean, would you rather have them all go outside and poke ants with a stick outside? Gaming is so much more than playing "violent" video games. It has evolved into its own culture that values cooperation, teamwork, productiveness and problem solving. I think you need to read Jane McGonigal's speech about how gaming will change the world for the better. The best memories I have are of my friends and I cooperating while gaming to achieve amazing feats. The only problem I can see is if gaming interrupts schoolwork. The rule that was in my house while I was in high school was as long as I had (taking all IB classes) a 4.0 unweighted GPA or higher I could game as much as I wanted. Do I regret it? Absolutely not. Gaming (violent or not) promotes so many great character values in people. It builds trust and strengthens friendships, even if you are against the person because you must trust them not to cheat. Gaming teaches cooperation, teamwork, productiveness and problem solving. Why would you want to limit that if the primary focus is still in school? Gamers like me are an amazing group of people who have the ability to do anything that they would like.
Polly C (author) from UK on December 16, 2013:
@Victoria1800 - My son is actually 13 now, he was 11 when I first wrote this.
I know what you mean about the difference in gaming now to gaming in past generations. I grew up as computer games were just taking off really. As a child, I had to actually go to the arcade to play a game - it was ten pence per go! Plus, it was more sociable, because real children were hanging around you and egging you on whilst they waited their turn.
We didn't get our first home computer until I was about 12, and the games were so innocent and simple. Not only that, but you had to load a cassette which took ages! My parents never minded how long we spent on this computer, but we always found plenty of other things to do of our own accord. Also, none of the content was anything for concern.
When I was 20, my boyfriend bought a Playstation - it was the first one out. Even though we were grown adults, the games were suitable for pretty much anyone. Sonic the Hedgehog was all the rage. Now, though, all of the games that my son wants are violent, except for Minecraft. He wants Grand Theft Auto 5 for Christmas - something which I have never allowed him - and he says everyone else has it. I actually think they do, because he only likes to play games that his friends have.
Anyway, thank you so much for your comments, I'm sorry that I have been late in replying recently. But I am happy that this hub is still receiving so many comments after so long.
Meagan on December 16, 2013:
Hi! I saw this article last night, and even though it's pretty old, I thought I would put in my two cents.
I'm 15 years old, in all honors classes (which are essentially regular classes at just below a college level) and am earning A's and B's in all seven of them. I have a healthy social life, I'm mentally stimulated on a daily basis-I get out and do things with my life, is what I'm trying to get at.
I also have been gaming since I was 5, give or take a few years.
My dad was actually the one to introduce video games to me on the Sega Genesis, on which we played for hours at a time the Ren and Stimpy game. Later on, I remember receiving video games for Christmas and my birthday, for systems like the PS2, the Nintendo DS, the Wii, etc. My dad and I would play fairly inappropriate games for a child to be seeing like GTA, Gun, and others of the like, but I would say that I am no psychopath or someone willing to place harm on someone else.
Currently, I play a video game called Skyrim, a Dungeons and Dragons type game with role playing and character creation/development involved. Having this sort of free realm really delves into your creativity and imagination, as it allows you to make and do whatever you please. There is violence, sure, but I think that the point of a video game is to really let you be someone else for a little while, whether that be a wizard, viking, a soldier in combat, whatever. That is ultimately the creative aspect of video games.
I feel that video games have influenced my imagination; they have inspired me to read stories related to them, write stories myself, and I can even say that I do apply the logic and creativity I use in video games in real life as well, even if I can't come up with an example. But to say that video games provide no outlet for a creative mind is ignorant.
I would also like to quickly address that in your article, you mentioned things about video games leading you nowhere in life, and that can be hurtful to someone like not only me, who tries their hardest and has their heads around the future and what they plan on doing. I have plenty of friends that game, like I do, and are perfectly fine. Some of them even plan to work for NASA or go into engineering. So I disagree, no, video games do not lead you no where in life.
I just have one more comment on that subject-your son is 13, and I know I'm no mother, but I would like to also address that he has plenty of time before he needs to figure out what he would like to do with his life. He should be in no rush to pick something and get on with his life.
On the topic of whether or not it is healthy for one to sit around and play video games, of course it's not. But your son is getting exercise from his karate, and I do respect that you're trying to get him to have that mindset.
Now, on the subject of him playing so much. Over the summer, I was bored and I didn't really have many friends, and I found Skyrim a fun thing to do. I do do other things-for instance, I ride horses once a week and over the summer sometimes I go out to the barn and work for a one hour ride-but towards the end of the summer I would play Skyrim for maybe 6 hours a day. It is a little excessive, but sometimes it was all I wanted to do, or all I could do.
Your son is still young, and if he is still playing in large amounts of time at once, I'm sure he'll stop once he finds something else to do with his time, or he tires of it. I got tired of playing xbox everyday once school really picked up, and now I only play when I have no homework or I don't have anything to do.
My parents were engaging in my games, often coming to the basement with me and asking me questions on it, and I feel like not taking the system away helped me get over it faster.
Overall, I respect your point of view, but I disagree with it. This is a new generation, and though it's not what you did as a child, it's something that maybe someone as a child now would prefer doing. And like some other people said earlier, maybe it would be beneficial for both of you if you engaged in his games with him. You get to see the game from his point of view, and maybe you can get your point across to him.
Polly C (author) from UK on December 16, 2013:
@Corduroy- what a fantastic comment, it is an article in itself! You make great points from both perspectives. I don't feel especially brave to approach the subject and the backlash of the gamers - in fact, I have really enjoyed the comments of the younger people, even though they mostly have a different opinion and are quite articulate at expressing it!
My son wears glasses too, so I know what you mean about that. In fact, I was speaking to his optician recently and he was explaining that it isn't the screen itself that weakens the eyesight but rather the distance of the screen from the eye. So, even going from a computer to watching TV is a good change because the TV is generally placed a lot further away so the eyes are changing focus for a while. Interesting, but it didn't change my son's thoughts.
Thank you so much for your detailed post, I enjoyed reading your views.
Polly C (author) from UK on December 16, 2013:
@Steve - Playing Xbox only on even days - now that is actually a fantastic idea. It would cut the use in half, instantly. Unfortunately, I fear it would be completely impossible to implement. Some parents don't care at all if their children are playing games for hours and hours. But I love the reasoning behind it.