Thursday, January 12, 2012

Taming the Gaming Monster (Post 7 of 7)

I almost hate to see this series with Love and Logic speaker Jedd Hafer come to an end.  I so appreciate the time he took to answer some challenging parenting questions on a timely topic.  Heres' the end of this interview.  I think you'll appreciate the wisdom Jedd brings to this situation as much as I did!

Jedd,  I have questions related to this next scenario every time I facilitate "Becoming a Love and Logic Parent. "   

Scenario: Jake is a Sr. in high school. He’d rather spend all his free time playing online games with other guys from all over the world then do anything else. On Friday and Saturdays, he games all night sometimes waking the family with cheers when a battle has gone well. He has a job but all his money goes to video games, systems, or energy drinks. His parents worry that he needs more social interaction but he explains that he is interacting socially with the team he fights alongside. And besides, he say, “At least I’m not out doing drugs or drinking!” He is always tired and grumpy. His parents can’t agree on what to do and are asking for wisdom. Dad thinks he’s fine. Mom thinks Jake could end up living in their basement forever. She wants to stop paying the online service bill.

Now, we start to get into this issue of affordable mistakes and the issue of kid’s problem vs. causing a problem for others. I LOVE the idea of stopping payment for the online service! What a great way to be able to say, “You can have it when you can afford to pay for it.” At 18, that’s more realistic than adults managing his time for him.

 A couple other thoughts: I would look at charging him for waking up the family (a more grown-up version of the ‘Energy Drain’). Since he works and has money, I’d look for ways to charge him for inconvenience.

 If it gets bad enough to remove, we can go back to the “…when it doesn’t cause problems” phrase (see earlier posts from this interview) These parents will want to make sure they are setting good limits in other areas as far as what they provide. 18-yr.-olds ought to be paying for more and more of their own stuff. There was a mom who told her son, “I’m worried we might be getting you used to a lifestyle you won’t be able to keep up. So, kids in this house need to pay more of their own way for things like driving, cell phones, video games, devices, service bills etc.”

What a gift she gave her son in helping him realize how the real world actually works!

Closing Thoughts from Jedd
There is a wide range of video games. Some are educational, some are sports, some are incredibly violent and contain sexually explicit material.

Violent video games have been shown to erode empathy and lower inhibitions - even worse than violent TV and movies. If you have ever seen the worst side of your son after he spent hours shooting or fighting in a game, you know this.

For very young kids, the fundamental problem also becomes that new brain cells are constantly showing up for ‘work’. They learn their ‘job’ by assimilating to whatever the rest of the brain is engaged in.

Kids who are constantly in front of screens are teaching their new brain cells that their job is to be electronically stimulated. Too many brain cells learning that their job is to be entertained is obviously not good for a developing brain.

For more info on this subject, I shamelessly recommend the Speed-e Solutions downloadable audio Taming the Technology Monster’ .

Thanks !
Jedd Haffer 

Thanks for the interview, Jedd, and thanks to those who read this blog!
Jill Hasstedt

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