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Question about 13 yr old and Video games

Samanthastepmom12's picture

Ok I get this is a Different generation then when we grew up. Kids these days don’t seem to hang out with the Neighborhood kids for hours on end like I did. I would be gone all day playing with friends since I was 9 or 10. 

I have a questions for both Bios and steps regarding Video games for kids around 12 or 13. How many hours a day are Allowed? This goes for Games on the phone or TV combined. This question goes for both steps and bio kids. I don’t care what Is allowed at the other parents house ONLY yours. 

strugglingSM's picture

I used to try to set screen time limits. They could have 2 hours a day on XBox and had to turn their phones off at 9:30pm, but DH would never hold them, so it became pointless for me to do so.

 We have them EOWE and BM is high conflict, so setting any sort of rules or expectations in our home has become a losing battle, especially with a DH who is conflict-avoidant.

Willow2010's picture

As a BM...I limited my kids to a few hours a day here and there.  As a SM...I did not care.  I saw SS on a game one time for almost 20 hours.  Not my kid.  Was not my place to tell DH how much his kid could play a game.  

BS365's picture

I think I'm stuggling with this a little bit. I really care about my ss9 and I see DH letting him play for sometimes 12 hours at a time...It drives me a little crazy 1. to hear him yelling at the tv all day and 2. to see him only leave his room to rudely demand food and use the bathroom (sometimes not flushing)....its a big pet peeve of mine that type of pointless existing combined with a real laziness....I do not say anything about it anymore (always causes conflict with DH and as you say, its not my place as SM). 

I guess I just feel guilty knowing he is really losing out on these pivotal years in childhood where real skills are developed. He suffers academically and his reading and eloquence in conversation are EXTREMELY lacking. All that said, not naturally the sharpest child in the world but still has potential to be very bright. It all just makes me crazy because DH just doesnt want to be in the position where SS is upset with him. In order to help him build skills and spend his time on good activities he's not gonna be the "cool dad" and I feel like its selfish of my partner.

At dinner sometimes after playing so much video game, he is just like a zombie and can barely talk it feels like and in this way clearly resents the fact that family dinner has pulled him away from games. He eats rudely (another thing DH is failing to address--to my chagrin) and doesnt help clean up. Just a taker who is not learning any skills or manners, MAKES ME CRAZYYYYYY HELP

SteppedOut's picture

When my bio was 13 (now 24) he was allowed an hour during the week to play his xbox. I was way more flexible on weekends, but he would do other things as well. And all of his homework and chores had to be done prior to playing. Sometimes he chose to not play at all. He had a phone that he used mostly for texting, phone had limits set on it so it quit working at 9pm on weekdays and 11pm on weekends. It was like that for him until highschool graduation . My youngest will have limits as well. 

FormerSO would let his kid (13 when I left) play anytime, as much as he wanted as late as he wanted and he was a screamer when he played. He also had the newest most expensive iphone, always. He was caught doing "inappropriate" things with it multiple times and "got a firm talking to", but, no limits, ever. His kid lived with him/us full time. 

Kids that are allowed free reign typically don't do anything other than screens if allowed. It literally can become an addiction (scientific fact). But if they have good parents that don't allow that kind of mind rot, they find other things to do. I see kids in my neighborhood walking, riding bikes, playing, ect. all the time. The only "different generation" issue I see is more parents are far too permissive. 


Rags's picture

We purged video games from our home when SS-27 was about 12.  He went brain dead to the real world when he was gaming and we finally decided that we would rather that he use his own immagination and creativity than rent someone else's.  So, we completely got rid of them.  

The SpermClan was not happy about that since they were hell bent on video games as their go to gift for him.  When he would return from SpermLand visitation with new a new gaming system... we confiscated it and locked it up. We let him take it back to SpermLand on his next visitation but by then they had bought him a new one so... we had several of them locked away in our home for years, slightly used.

If I had another round of kids, video games would never make a showing in my home at all. Ever.

Before we purged video gaming from our home that was all my Skid would talk about. I refused to allow those conversations. I would immediately inform him that threre would be no talking about video games and that we wanted to hear about something he actually did himself.  So, we started doing regular adventure hikes, discussing books he had read, etc.....

He thanks me upon occassion for getting his head out of gaming and forcing him to live in the real world.  Once he launched he picked up gaming again and does quite a bit of online gaming during his off time from work but.... he catches himself disconnecting from the real world and cuts himself off to focus on real people in real life.

I despise gaming.  I don't do any of it.  I was a bit of a pinball wizard as a teen and played a lot of fooseball, both I played with real people in real time in real life, which was the only option back in the dark ages.  I did play Doom when it first came out.  I played it regulary for a few weeks until I beat it. I have not played another video game since then.  It has been decades.

I have missed nothing.


tog redux's picture

I think gaming should be allowed - it's not going anywhere and forbidding it just makes it more attractive - but kids definitely need to learn to set limits on themselves while playing, and that starts with parents setting limits.

DH is a gamer and he can get lost in it - but he doesn't let it take over his life or affect our marriage or his job. SS, on the other, hand, once he stopped coming over, BM let him game all the time and it became his life.

Most kids won't become addicted unless there are underlying issues that push them towards that kind of escape. Plenty of well-adjusted kids play video games but still do well in life.

holly5692's picture

I'm not overly strict about screen time. But when I tell my kids time's up--go find something else to do, they don't fight me too terribly on it. They're 12 and 16. It's all about balance. As long as kids are still keeping up some healthy social connections, are pleasant enough contributors to the household and can entertain themselves without video games too, I don't think it's a big deal.

The kids who become codependent on video games are the issue. Their only friends are online. No social skills (without medical/mental explanation). They forget to take breaks to eat. They can't cope with little things that life throws in their paths. That's when it becomes unhealthy. There's no balance.

My SS15 is the kid I just mentioned above. It's terribly sad.

But when you have balance, I think video games have some good qualities. 

Video games (when you have balance) are just an outlet. Do we, as adults, not also have outlets? We seem to expect better behavior/performance from young people than we do ourselves sometimes. I enjoy art. Always have since I was a kid. It was an outlet, an escape. But no one took my paintbrushes away or lorded my stash of canvases over me as some kind of suitable punishment or motivation to get me to perform in some way. It was fostered and to this day, I still quite enjoy a bit of time to just zone out with something creative to do in front of me. So when I see my 12 year old son enamoured with Minecraft, for example, I'm not mad about it. He has always loved building things, including legos, k'nex and so on. He wants to be an architect when he grows up. I'm not going to take something that he's really passionate about like that and police his every waking moment with it. Kids can be passionate about video games for other reasons too. It's just a way to escape for a little while, and don't we all need that sometimes? 

Thisisnotus's picture

I don't and never have limited screen time in any form for my kids now 17,15,13 and 2. They can do what they want. My toddler watches a lot of TV and uses an iPad....

the only thing I never allowed was a tv in their bedroom when they were little because I wanted them to sleep at bed time not watch TV.

hard core gaming comes and goes...mostly goes around here but they are staring at thier phones constantly either way.


SteppingOut_2020's picture

What is it about kids and having to SCREAM and YELL at the damn computer?  I have never understood that and ex-SO would never do anything about it, just tell the kid to shut his door to which even 2 floors down from his bedroom you could still hear him! 

I admittedly used to play a little bit of video games when my daugther was growing up and she still does now but 1) it is done recreationally, not every waking moment and 2) I, nor she EVER yelled and screamed at the game or acted like a fool!   So its gotten to the point now that I hate video games!  I truly think that video game addiction is a real thing when they are staying up all night playing and sleeping all day and have no other social life outside of the computer.   

So if it was my kid, and what I did when mine was young was limit them to only a few hours a day.  After homework is done and in between bedtime or on weekends a bit more lax, but there was still the requirement that she had to get out and do something other than being glued to the game.  She always had friends when she was a teen and still has them now despite enjoying video games for fun.   The ex's kid on the other hand is now 16 years old, the only time he leaves the house is when daddy takes him out for dinner once a week and has zero friends.  Not healthy, but nothing that I ever said was good enough so thank goodness I dont have to listen to it anymore!

Dogmom1321's picture

I was the only one that used to try to set screen time limits. I would tell SD10 that she's had a few hours on it, why don't you go ride your bike. She ALWAYS gave me attitude. DH lets her go on for however long she wants. I used to battle it, but now I just let it be.

I DID let it be known to DH that IF him and I were to have it a kid, that would FOR SURE be something that would be different. 

Rags's picture

An interesting educational side effect of the pervasive gaming addiction in kids who grow up with controller thumb arthritis, slouchy gaming posture, and walleye vision coke bottle glasses for their video game destroyed eyes is how many of them, the ones who actually finish high school and go onto college, study Video Game Design or Video Game Development.  Interestingly, there are almost no jobs in video game design or development.  Most who get a BS in VGD end up as low level database administrators.

Of course there is the rare mythical unicorn VGD graduate who gets the high 5 figure or low 6 figure job out of college with Blizzard or one of the other popular gaming companies.  These mythical unicorns lead oh so many of these kids down the video gaming career rabbit hole and few of them ever do anything with their degree.