Kicking the Computer Game Habit

February 12th, 2013 posted by Elizabeth Pantley


My child spends too much time playing computer and video games. He’s so passionate about these games, that when I suggest he’s overdoing it he gets angry with me. Am I wrong to try to curb this habit?

Think about it

Your most important job as a parent is not to make your child happy. It’s to raise a responsible, capable, thinking person. Therefore, not all your decisions will be popular with your son. Your goal should be to make the right decisions. //

Make a plan

Start by deciding how much time you think is appropriate for spending on these activities, say, one hour per day. Make a list of suggested alternate activities for your child’s remaining free time. Announce that your new rule is one hour of playing per day. Give your child the suggested list of alternatives. Be positive. Expect great unhappiness on your child’s part. Be firm and loving. Stick to your guns. After about two weeks you’ll see a new, energetic kid emerge!

Change the schedule

If your child has a typical video playing time, such as after dinner, begin planning more activities during that time.

Use the When/Then technique

“When you have finished your homework and chores, you may then turn on the computer.” Establish this routine as standard practice.

Use it to teach

Take advantage of your child’s love of the computer by using it as a teaching tool. Replace the mindless or violent games with the creative, exciting learning programs that are available. There are now many available that use exciting games and graphics to teach history, math, reading, and thinking skills. These are programs that you’re only too happy to see your child happily engaged in for long periods of time. (Excerpted with permission by NTC/Contemporary Publishing Group Inc. from Perfect Parenting, The Dictionary of 1,000 Parenting Tips by Elizabeth Pantley, copyright 1999)

Elizabeth Pantley (57 Posts)

Elizabeth Pantley is also the president of Better Beginnings, Inc. She is a popular speaker on family issues. Elizabeth’s newsletter, Parent Tips is seen in schools nationwide. She appears as a regular radio show guest and has been quoted in Parents, Parenting, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, American Baby, Twins, Working Mother, and Woman’s Day magazines. You can visit her website at

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