15 answers

How Much Video Games Should a Child Be About to Play?

Dear moms,

How much video games, like the X-Box, that my son should play, always seems to be a sore point of contention between my son and me and my husband and me. My son loves to play, my husband is pretty lenient with him and I basically cannot stand it. I feel that playing games may have possible side effects in the long run. For example, when beating the game consumes you, then it is hard to develop the zeal to want to excell in other activities that require patience and hard work. I even worry sometimes that when he grows up and has a job, he may get bored too easily. That's because these games seem to wire the player with constant quick action.

During the summers, my son was playing for almost 4 hours a day. During school days, we have negotiated to 4 hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I still think this is too much. However, if we are going to be busy on the weekend, he makes sure to make up his lost playing time on the weekdays.

I was wondering what limits other parents set and how they deal with this. Also, are my worries real or imaginary? Thanks in advance to those who reply.

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More Answers

My boys get to do those things AFTER everything else is done. That stuff includes chores, homework, bath, supper, and anything else I choose to add to the list. I never have too many times where I have to monitor the time they spend on it because there is never much time after all those other things are finished. I would suggest limiting it to 1 hour a day, after everything else is finished, and then offering MANY more other things that he might be interested in too so that he may actually choose to do those things instead of gaming all the time.

1 mom found this helpful

The advice given to me by my sons therapists was to never allow more screen time a day than 1 hour. The brain has many skills to develop, and time is required for them to develop it. He needs to have other interests that are not led by a game, but one he can create and do. J

1 mom found this helpful

Four hours is too long, what your child needs is ano5her outlet - helping someone that is less fortunate (an elderly neighbor) for free, not charging. Cutting grass, washing windows. For doing stuff like that, negotate (?) for him to play video games.

1 mom found this helpful

4 hours a week would be a lot better than 16 hrs a week!! My daughter is 9 and has the nintendo DS and just got an Ipod. We also have a PS3 and a Wii. Plus you toss the TV watching in there and you can have a child that is plugged in 24/7 if you let them!! My daughter is limited to about 1hr a day if that and maybe a few extra hours on the weekends depending on what is going on. But you've got your son playing 16 hrs on the weekends!! That is way to much for even an adult to be playing at any given time. Tell you hubby, it's time for your family to get unplugged from the video games!!


1 mom found this helpful

Wow, 4 hours seems quite a bit to me, especially if he gets TV and computer time on top of it. I'd also be concerned that the xbox is so important to him he is making up lost playing time. If it were my house it would probably "disappear" for a few months and then come back with a new, much more limited amount of playing time. Children need to spend most of their time up doing something, playing sports or something. Check out www.atlasquest.com maybe you can get him interested in letterboxing which involves hiking. Good luck with this one. I know it is hard to come between a boy and his games!

1 mom found this helpful

My boys are 10 and 11yo (well, my two oldest boys). Anyway, they have a Wii and of course the computer. I would definitely set that time in half. What I used to do was allow 1 and a half hours a day, but now I allow 2 hours, but that is only after their chores are done. They do their own laundry, mop, vaccum, clean bathroom, etc., etc. You get the point. But still because I do limit their computer time, they don't always use that 2 hours. They'd rather play with friends, etc. I remember long ago when they just played whenever they wanted to...they were couch potatoes and the games became more addicting because they spent too much time with it. That will happen.

1 mom found this helpful

Wow 4 hours a day! Yes it is excessive. Think about any other activity ...if you devoted 4 hours a day.
Is it possible to get him interested in sports at this point?
There are many complications that can arise from such excessive use of this...like obesity, diabetes, ADD, learning disabilities etc.
Your concerns are real and you need to trust your motherly intuition.
The person your son will become is directly affected by the stories, thoughts, images he is being exposed to during any given day. He will also have limited relational ability.
What kind of person does he/you want him to be? What kind of spouse would he like to meet and marry in the future?
His childhood is a preparation for his life.
Continue to seek good perhaps professional counsel in this area if it remains a problem as well as advice from older parents of college age children.
Limiting his hours will not be easy but you are the parent and in the long run the sacrifice will be well worth it!

my stepson (13 yr.) is allowed to play as much as he wants. during the summer it was not unusual for him to wake up at 11am and play until 2am the following morning. now as the stepmom what can I do if his dad allows it? during school he is a star athlete and an "A" student.

Children are all different but my son played his nintendo about the same amount of time as your son. He had two friends in our neighborhood that loved to play nintendo games also, they would go back and forth from each other's house. My son has a job in a computer company. He loves his job. He now has a X-box but I think that he hardly ever plays it. He is married now and he is occupied with his wife. Letting my son play nintendo games doesn't seem to have caused him harm but like I said children are different.
P. S

My stepson lives at his grandparents m-f afternoon. He gets home from school plays video games, eats dinner, plays video games then goes to bed. I estimate he plays 5-8 hours a DAY playing video games. When he comes to our house he can only play 1 hour a day at the most. But because of the other home he's in, he's totally lost when he's not playing and gets upset that we have rules to playing the games. I think neglect and sticking them in front of the tv or video games are the same. It's a shame when people have children and then dont spend any time with them. Why have any kids anyway.

i suggest you use a new product called Plugstop. It is essentially a way of keeping kids/teens off games consoles, computers, tv etc by locking the plug. By doing this you can limit the amount of time spent on consoles and other electronic devices. http://www.plugstop.co.uk/
Hope this helped

Your lucky your husband even listens. My stepson plays from the time he wakes up late into the night on the living roon tv. I mentioned it to my husband to see if we could at least move it to another room and now were ending our relationship because he says its all his son has.

I, too, believe that 4 hours is too long to be playing the video games alone on any given day. We have always limited our kids to 1 hour per day. When they have friends over, or want to play together, we make exceptions. My oldest, now 19, loves XBox Live but has disciplined himself to only 1-2 hours max. It's hard to play the sports games (especially baseball and football) in one hour, so you may have to negotiate playing those only on the weekend with a little longer time limit. Get a timer and stick to it. He'll soon learn what 1 hour "feels" like and it will satisfy him.

In raising boys, I highly recommend the book "Boys Adrift" by Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D. Boys really need to gain "experiential" knowledge by using their senses in play (building things, climbing, etc.). It helps them enormously to tolerate school where they don't get to do that anymore. There's another reason to be sure there is balance in your son's life between electronic entertainment and exploring creation (outside or building/playing hands-on with stuff inside). They grow up so fast!

I agree with everyone else that 4 hours a day is too much. My boys are 4 and 5 and love to watch tv. During the school week they are allowed to watch it after 8 o'clock and after their chores are done. They don't have hard chores just cleaning up, setting the table, feeding the dogs, etc. I would think about having some things for your son to do and then let the game be a reward. Also, I would consider getting him involved in some team sport or boyscouts. I know a lot of people think that boyscouts is for little kids but both of my brothers were involved until they graduated from highschool. They really enjoyed it.

Four hours per day is WAYYYYY too much time in front of any kind of screen for a child or young adult. He needs to find some type of extra-curricular sport to play or other activity he enjoys that doesn't involve video games, television or surfing the internet. He needs to spend time outside! All of that time he spent in front of video games this summer could have been spent at a public pool in the sunshine getting some exercise! Hold fast and ask your husband if he wants a lazy, anti-social child or a well-rounded, fit child?

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