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Computer gaming
  • Trying to regulate the time spent on computer games has become the bane of my life. The more my son plays the more monstrous he seems to become. Trying to get him to come to a stop is always horrid. I use timers but he still carries on and I dread it every day. I worry that spending hours in virtual conflict must affect him and it does seem to make him more obstreperous. I wish I'd never let the games machines into my house but I did under duress from my family. Now, I wonder if I can get rid of them without becoming the evil monster. I know he's nicer when he's been away from them, a lot calmer, but he will hate me if I take them all away? The Xbox controller has already gone- that's contentious enough. I'm not sure whether to be brave and just go cold turkey or keep hitting my head against the same brick wall. Which is the lesser of the two evils?
  • RhanHRhanH
    Posts: 1,045
    Hi I’m not sure that I have the answer, however we share a similar problem and I find the easiest way to extract our daughter is to enter her world first..... so, we agree how long she can play for and what she may like to do after. Then we give a warning that there’s 10 min to go, then 5, at about 3 mins we try to sit with her and gently ask about what she’s doing, then I ask her to show me and then I start asking about what she’s going to do next based on what she said before she started... these questions are gently drawing her back into the real world but at the same time building a relationship as I’m showing interest in something that I don’t personally enjoy but need to understand!

    It seems to work for us at the moment!
  • Thanks RhanH. I will try your method. My son smashed the computer keyboard to pieces, so he may have already solved the problem.
  • jacksj65
    Posts: 2
    This is something I struggle with a lot. I know it is unhealthy to spend too much time gaming but in times (days/weeks) when my daughter isn't gaming it can be replaced by more harmful activities. She tends to get wrapped up in watching Youtubers who have various problems with mental health and self harming and talk about it constantly. She identifies with them in some ways and it builds into her beliefs about herself. It's so difficult to regulate this now that youtube can be accessed on so many portable devices and even televisions.
  • June67
    Posts: 703
    Yes a huge problem for us too, although eldest now seems to be loosing interest and regulating his own use much of the time. Youngest can't cope at all without it unless we are cooking together or playing a game. We are trying to find a balance which lets him have some time and then I get to do the cleaning as long as someone else is sitting in the room with him. I agree that entering their world is often the best way to reconnect and draw them out, if I join in I can often ask what shall we do next and sometimes get an answer. YouTube is a bigger problem but at least his not wanting to be alone means I can keep an eye on what he is watching and talk about it with him. He currently 'needs' to fall asleep whilst watching videos of people playing video games or families having fun together (living life vicariously perhaps) not ideal but at least he is going to sleep. One day he may even do so in bed!
  • MarSet
    Posts: 38
    We have this problem too and its horrific, We set time limits of 2 hours on a school day and 3 when he's not at school. the 2 hours during the week day covers from him getting in from school until I dish tea up, I struggle every day to get him off even with the time warnings and he always turns it aggressive often banging his controller on the coffee table. Ive had to start turning the xbox off at the socket at least 3 times a week.
    It really is a horrible situation to be in and I have no answers for you :(
  • I have found that my son responds to the machine telling him time is up- far better than me or timers! XBox one can be controlled from microsoft family. You can do curfew and time limits. We have finally got him to agree to an App on the phone that also controls time- he had such a hard time putting it down in the middle of certain games. Can recommend trying those- Screen Limit works on all platforms
  • Ja
    Posts: 8
    Hi, We have done all of the above but they are very clever at finding work-arounds. Sundays is a no-xbox day. Board games a useful alternative. I am forever hiding the controllers and losing them as forget where put them but have put in grandma's house before now... No access. They hate it but get used to it. My older child a few years ago actually unplugged everything and came and gave it to us as they said it was sending them mad ! We remind them of that every now and again. Good luck x
  • Ja
    Posts: 8
    ps. I have also turned the electricity off and pretended a power cut.
  • paulfoel
    Posts: 13
    Heres what we had/have with our son now 15:-

    Its got to the point where hes on his PC ALL the time. Literally every waking moment. His schoolwork has suffered.

    You ask him to do something and he'll do half a job to rush to get back to it. Yes its our fault for letting it get like this I guess.

    He just doesn't seem to do consequences. If we ban him even for a day (after about 20 warnings) its a riot in the house.

    Hes got aggressive and violent all in an attempt to protect his pc time. Hes assaulted both of us but just seem to twig where his behaviour is leading.

    I just can't get my head around some of things he does or has done:-

    1. Smashed his cupboard door and threw chair (and made huge hole) in wall. He then tried to sellotape the door back together but didn't say anything. We noticed days later. In the meantime hes back on his PC without a care in the world? Doesn't seem bothered that obviously we're going to see the damage in time.

    2. Broken numerous mice, keyboards. Kicked his PC and broke it. All because he gets wound up playing game (hence why we need less PC time). If PC is so important to him why is he breaking it?

    3. Last week there was coke all up the wall. (His PC is moved from his bedroom now so we could keep an eye on him into a room downstairs. Obvious hes lost his rag at something and thrown it. But then he denies it was him. You can literally give him photo graphic evidence and he'll still lie then go off on one that no-one believes him.


    Its as if he "switches off" every other thought and blanks it. Or he just cant process it.

    BTW - hes diagnosed Aspergers. We don't want to take his PC away its his safe place but I think we need to do something. BUT he just sees it as punishment.

  • paulfoel
    Posts: 13
    Interesting to see what others have said on this thread. We went to see a professional this week and his view were:-

    1. The PC is his safe thing so totally withdrawing is a bad idea.
    2. Hes on it too much.

    As someone above said, it 100% makes him worse. He gets annoyed with other people
    online I think. Also, his schoolwork suffers along with everything else. e.g. if you ask him to put his dirty plates in dishwasher he will literally do half a job because its a rush to get back on his PC in seconds.

    We've tried to encourage him to use the PC/internet for something positive too - i.e. teen asperger forums etc. Not interested at all.

    Up until now hes pretty much had free reign, 330pm home from school, 10 mins off to eat his tea. An hour off to have shower (yes weird I know - hes got a compulsion/habit/OCD to take ages in shower).

    We tried off by 930pm bed 10pm but he kept adging it. Rest of time total PC.

    Weekends/Days off - Out of bed midday. Solid until 2-3am next day. Bed. Rinse and repeat. Its not great is it?
  • paulfoel
    Posts: 13
    Anyway, the guy who spoke to recommended a visual timetable. Does this sound ok for those of you who've tried this?

    School Days

    330pm - home from school
    330pm - homework, put dirty clothes in wash, basic bedroom cleanliness check. (VERY basic).
    430pm - PC
    600pm-700pm - Shower (out by 7pm). Previously hes got so engrossed he waits and wait then its 730pm and hes in shower for an hour same time as his little sister (5) needs a bath or hes stomping around waking her up.
    700pm - 900pm - PC
    900pm - 10pm -No PC watch TV if you like.

    Weekends/Days off

    1100am wake up
    1100am- homework etc.
    1200pm - PC
    600pm-700pm - shower time
    700pm - 1000pm - PC
    1000pm - midnight - No PC.

    So hes getting 3.5 hours in the week (probably had up to 5 hours before)
    Weekends - 9 hours (before it was more like 14hours or more).

  • June67
    Posts: 703
    Hi Paulfoel, I'd say give it a try it might work for a while but be prepared for fireworks as sometimes we find that a visual timetable forms a set of demands for our PDA child which he then actively resists. If you give him some input to setting the times you might have more success but if he is like my youngest he will hijack it for his own purposes and you'll have even more stress and anger.
    A few years ago we tried a visual timetable to give structure to long school holidays to support our older Asperger's child unfortunately the younger one (PDA) wanted to follow it religiously in order but in his own time so we had but we can't go out to the park yet because I haven't got dressed and I'm not ready to do that. Then upset later on as the park/pool/shop was shut and we couldn't tick off the items. A complete nightmare!
  • paulfoel
    Posts: 13
    Thanks June. In the past, anything verbal with regards to times etc hes taken advantage or so hopeful with this.

    I don't think hes going to be bothered its too structured to be honest. If we go out he already likes to know plans and times etc.

    Whats going to be a problem is agreement from him. He hasn't had his PC for a week now (more because we've had to get advice on how to deal with) - past experience shows hes thinking "they'll calm down soon and it'll be back to normal".

    He is likely to think of reduced hours as punishment. If we can get it implemented without too much grief we might be OK. If he backs down which he might he will be thinking "yeh right, give it a week or two and I'll be back to normal when they don't check". I think we have to be on top of it.
  • June67
    Posts: 703
    Yes, sounds like it could work for you but you all need to be clear and firm and stick to your guns however tiring and hopefully he will adjust, my Asperger's child makes a fuss but eventually finds security in routines as long as they are as consistent as possible. You maybe able to sell him getting his pc back as a reward with boundaries 'so we all know what to expect'. It might be helpful if you are able to do things together that he enjoys other than the pc at times when he's not on it my sons love watching a video together with home popped popcorn or cooking with one of us or playing a board game but mine are just a little younger. That way time off the pc is rewarded with positive time with someone he wants to be with if homework etc is done of course.

    Today my youngest the PDAer, (11) asked me to build him a den in the family room and decided he was going to stay in it for 24hours. So he isn't on his pc today although he has sneaked his phone in for youtube watching but we have played card games and board games and watched a favourite tv show together. This has mildly frustrated his Aspie (13)brother who initially wanted to go out today but has since managed to change his plan and is appreciating not being force to play games he hates on the pc with his brother. So far it's been a relatively calm day for us.

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