How To Stop Your Child From Playing Video Games
Posted by on 14th October 2021
We all know somebody who is addicted to video games. It’s not a fun sight – these people usually spend their time alone, in their room, playing for hours on end, quite often being aggressive towards everybody who tries to disrupt their unhealthy routine. It’s especially common among younger and older boys, who tend to play online games with their friends. We know how frustrating that can be. However, there are ways to prevent it, or teach your children to spend less time playing video games. They might not be ideal but next time, instead of taking a plug out of the socket, try following these steps to attempt to reason with your child.
Set the rules
Some rules are designed to bend them, but this time it’s definitely not the case. When it comes to gaming and spending an unhealthy amount of time in front of a computer or TV screen, that’s when rules really come in handy. Go ahead and tell your children how much they are allowed to play, under which circumstances (if they have done their homework) and when. Try not to leave any grey areas, determine exactly how many hours they are allowed on the computer. Don’t be vague (‘you can play for a few hours soon’), instead set clear expectations – ‘you’re allowed to play for an hour when you finish doing your homework’. Give them exact numbers and timing, so that it doesn’t seem like they can bend your rules and stretch the playing time. Be stern, but not aggressive. And the most important thing, expect a negative outcome. Chances are, something is going to happen if there were no rules and boundaries, and suddenly are some. Expect a tantrum, screaming, crying, pleading – they know what they’re doing. But here’s a little piece advice for you – don’t let them manipulate you.
Let them know about the consequences
Being calm and stern is not always enough – oftentimes you have to let your children know about the consequences of them not following the rules. Just like with the rules you decide to set, don’t be vague with the consequences either, otherwise your child might ignore them or disregard them altogether. Instead of saying ‘there will be consequences’ (sounds ominous and a little scary but they don’t even know what is waiting for them, therefore it won’t be as effective), tell them exactly what consequences they will be facing. For example, no computer the next day, shorter playing time, or whatever comes to your mind. Whatever you do, present them with very clear boundaries that will let them know what they’re in for. And of course, if they break the rules, follow through with the consequences. Keep the boundaries consistent, don’t change them, even if your children are pleading, begging you to let them play a little longer. It’s very easy to give in and become lenient but this way you will only teach them that the consequences aren’t set in stone, that your children can break the rules and get away with it, and that’s not the message you are trying to send. Don’t be harsh, but always follow through with the consequences.
"The worst thing a kid can say about homework is that it is too hard. The worst thing a kid can say about a game is it's too easy."
- Henry Jenkins
Help your children find another hobby
That’s right, there are countless things your child can do after school instead of playing video games. Keep them busy – swimming lessons, maybe guitar or painting lessons, whatever they might enjoy – help them pursue it. It’s not true that gaming is their whole life, their whole personality, they are much more than that. Introduce them to a new game that would make them think and learn, as for example, chess. Suggest a deal – if they can beat you, then they can play some video games. Your children will then have the motivation to actually invest their time into something else. With time, they will probably forget about the video games altogether, as they’ll become engrossed in something way more valuable.
Moreover, don’t be afraid to participate in any activities you suggest your children do. Go ice-skating together, go on a walk, read a book, spend your time with them. It’s not only a good way to keep them away from gaming but also, it’s a great bonding opportunity that you definitely won’t regret.
We know that getting a gamer to stop playing video games sometimes might feel like an impossible thing to achieve. However, we do believe that there are ways that can help your children to break that unhealthy circle, so that they can spend their days in a way more productive and beneficial manner. Don’t give up after the first attempt to help them, try until you reach the desired result, may it be only one hour a day of gaming or no gaming at all – it’s all in your hands!
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