Like most pre-teens, our son has his favorite after-school activities. He plays sports and does some other physical actions, but he loves playing games on his computer. He paid half of the price himself, so we let him use it if he meets our requirements. Homework comes first. He may do only what we approve, and he must turn it off at specified times. Recently, our son has pushed his limits and disobeyed our rules. Therefore, we took the computer away for a short time and reduce his allowed time when he got it back.
Favorite computer activities
First, school use is the Number 1 priority for his computer - then his games. He went from Webkins to Club Penguin to Toontown to Roblox. He now plays a latest fad in Internet games, Minecraft. He also likes to watch Youtube videos, examine any location through Google Earth, and draw pictures on Paint.net. If we let him, he will spend an entire day on these games and activities. He has learned a great deal about how to work computers, and he can type over sixty words per minute at age twelve.
Not staying active
We let him enjoy his favorite activity, but it comes with a price. When he plays on his computer, he does not move physically. We have him playing sports for the very reason of staying active. He also helps us in the yard and goes outside with the neighborhood kids. Lately, though, the kids have not gone outside. We let our guard down and gave him too much computer time. We admit fault to that. The lack of physical activity has made it easier for him tire out at baseball practice or during other activities. We cannot let that happen anymore.
In addition, I noticed our son disobeying his time limit. He would keep playing past his allowed time even after we reminded him as his time approached. He started complaining loudly about having to pause for baseball practice or even a game or to do his chores or go to bed. He got such a poor attitude about it that I recently lost my temper when he disobeyed his stop time. At that moment, I ordered him to get off immediately and go to bed.
Loss of computer time
We drove home from school the next day and talked about his computer use. I explained that he has become a little lethargic, fussy, disobedient, and distant from us. I decided to cut his computer time in half each day - after finishing all homework and studying. Any further incidents would result in loss of it completely except for school work until I see a better attitude. He understands what I meant, and he has promised to uphold it. We want our son to enjoy his computer, but we also want to limit its unnecessary use and keep him active and healthy.
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