15 Year old son is addicted to online gaming and I don't know what to do?????:(:(:(

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roadrunner
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15 Year old son is addicted to online gaming and I don't know what to do?????:(:(:(

My son is 15 years of age and he refuses to admit that he is addicted to online gaming. He misses school and last year he missed an entire semester because of it. I have tried taking it away from him and eventually he gets it back. Once he goes to school again he gets it back. He will stay up all night long and refuse to get up in the morning for school. He is a smart boy, but I really need help in getting him to realize that the gaming has to stop. He plays a game called Tibia and has been playing it for years. I once had an 80.00 charge to my phone bill once because of something he downloaded online for the game. I could go on and explain everything that I have done to try to get him to reduce his time on it....he get's verbally agressive with me and the more I take away the computer, the more he refuses to go to school. He say's he doesn't care about anything. He doesn't think that he has an addiction though.....how can I get him some help. I see that he is addicted but he think's I dont know anything. Does anyone know of somewhere or someone that might be able to help him?

Gamersmom
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Welcome roadrunner!  Read

Welcome roadrunner! Read the post that deals with minor children at the top of the "I Need Help for Parents of Gamers" forum. I think I will move this post to that forum also. Minor children present their own unique set of problems when they become addicted. Is there dad in the picture? The presence or absence of one can make a huge difference in how to approach the problem. I see you are in Canada. The laws are somewhat different there. I don't know if you can have your son involuntarily admitted to a treatment program or a wilderness program, or what is available up there, but some parents have had to resort to that with a minor child.

Hugs to you. You are not alone.

Updated by Liz W. Here is a link to the post she was talking about: Letter to parents of children under 18.

"Small service is true service while it lasts.  Of humblest friends, bright creature! scorn not one

The daisy, by the shadow that it casts,

Protects the lingering dewdrop from the sun." -------William Wordsworth

Another Gamer
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I remember Tibia when I was

I remember Tibia when I was growing up. I used to play that game casually with a few friends about ten years ago, its an ok game, but far outclassed by today's standards. The fact he still plays that old game must mean it is either still free, or he has a group of friends that he plays with, who also play it because it is free. That and the game is over 13 years old - more then enough time for free third party hacks to have arrived and become easily accessible, especially to such a poorly maintenanced game like Tibia. Hacks = more power at a lesser time investment = more enjoyment for those who seek power. These people I am referring to usually have an unhappy real life, for whatever reason, and seek to have a highly competent virtual one to "escape to" when they feel threatened with the woes of real life...

Ah, sorry to ramble, I guess it is still the addict in me that is speaking at the moment. But I digress, it seems that you are correct in stating that your son has a gaming problem, at least thats what I feel is transpiring from the way you described the situation. Its always difficult when dealing with one who is addicted and also young in age, as they don't understand the consequences of all the time lost where they could be studying.

I would reccomend explaining to him that if he does not acquire a quality education, he will go nowhere in life. I can 100% guarantee this, especially in this dismal economy, where even a Master's Degree may not be enough to stand out from the other applicants and obtain employment. He is 15... so he is in High School, correct? Well, now more then ever must he realize this before it is too late. I went through the same situation when I was his age, and let me tell you, I set myself back a good decade as a consequence of my actions. A good decade AT LEAST.

Perhaps if your words will not reach him, you could try asking someone else to talk to your son as well? Someone who is close enough to tell him that he has a problem.

A single step is all it takes to begin a long journey...

bjvens
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Hi, Roadrunner... I feel

Hi, Roadrunner...

I feel your anguish, I'm living it now. My once outgoing, curious, kind son is addicted as well. He is 17 and the past three years have been hell. Nothing matters but his virtual life. He refused to go to school and luckily he was caught shoplifting games when he was 15. I say luckily because the judge MADE him get his GED. However, he has no desire to get a job. He had a job at a local pizza place for a couple of months and I'm sure he lost that because he didn't show up for shifts because he was too tied into his games. He doesn't want to go to community college.

I've tried everything to control internet access, from turning off the internet while I'm working, to taking his computer. Taking computers ends in violence or theft. He's currently facing a felony charge for stealing my downstairs tenant's computer. He's stolen thousands of dollars over the years from myself, his working brother and my tenant.

He's been verbally abusive, physically abusive. I have holes in walls, doors. The police know us well..

I took his good laptop about 4 months ago and the next thing I know he shows up with one of the mini laptops. Says he traded his xbox (which was broken) for it. I called the police two weeks ago and she made him give it to me. Both laptops are now out of the house. Deadbolt on my bedroom door, his brothers door. Somehow he's been able to break into the tenant who rents the downstairs of my house. Hence, more stolen money and stolen laptop, which I detected on the network after he swore he didn't have (no one had any doubts)

So, he's been about 1.5 weeks without EASY access to a computer. He's a mess. He's scared. Can't think straight, can't make decisions about what he's going to do with his life. Doesn't know where to start but won't ask for help. He's been in and out of counseling, but he is goooood. Tells counselors just what they want to hear.

I could go on and on...His father and I have tried to talk to him, to help "make him see", we've begged, threatened, ignored, screamed...we've tried everything to no avail. He had a car for 6 months in hopes of him using it to find and keep a job. He abused it, it was taken away as well as his driver's license (turned in to DMV for minimum of 6 months) He doesn't care. His hygene is horrible. We put braces on his teeth at 13, he got them off this past september. Never once has he worn his retainer and I don't even want to think about the last time he brushed.

He'll be 18 september 1. On september 2, if things haven't changed DRASTICALLY, (job, school, help around the house....) I'm giving him $25 and taking him down to the Salvation Army or something along those lines. Someone here mentioned doing this. I think there's a book by someone who experienced this tactic (Who knows about this?)

Anyway, if you you ever want to talk, email me through here. There's some nice people here who've been through the same thing. I only found this site a week or so ago and everyone has been welcoming and helpful.

Sorry for the nilly willy ramble. Bottom line, it's crazy, this addiction.

Gamersmom
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bjvens, the book you're

bjvens, the book you're asking about is called "Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream" by Adam Shepard. In his case, he actually got off a train in a randomly selected large city with only $25 in his pocket, a backpack with a change of clothes, and a sleeping bag. He wanted to prove that anyone can start with almost nothing and make a life. Within 9 months he had a job, an apartment, a running vehicle, and a significant chunk of savings in the bank. I recommend it to parents for two reasons: a. to show that their kid won't necessarily starve if they have to kick them out, and b. to give the book to the kid so they understand that Mom and or Dad have a plan and are serious about putting them out if it comes to that.

"Small service is true service while it lasts.  Of humblest friends, bright creature! scorn not one

The daisy, by the shadow that it casts,

Protects the lingering dewdrop from the sun." -------William Wordsworth

bjvens
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Thanks Gamersmom! Yes, I

Thanks Gamersmom! Yes, I have heard of that story, actually. I think I saw the guy doing a talk show round a while back.

roadrunner
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Thanks for your words of

Thanks for your words of advise and no I don't think you rambled on at all. The more I try to talk to him about it the more I see myself shutting him out. All he ever say's to me when I mention his education and the fact the I think he has an addiction to online games is "I DON'T CARE"! He does have a good long time friend who now attends University and you are right, I think I will ask hiim to talk to him about it. I will keep trying, but this is getting really tiresome on me emotionly.

Clay
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Thanks for sharing

Thanks for sharing roadrunner. I can hear the despair in your post.

I don't have any experience from the "anon" side. As an addict, I can tell you that in order for me to seek real help for my addiction I had to suffer. I have heard many other addicts share that same sentiment.

As they say...it takes what it takes.

Best of luck to you!

Clay

"You don't have a problem...you have a solution you don't like!" ~Anonymous

Clay
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Oh, and have you ever

Oh, and have you ever thought about checking out Al-Anon? Others here might have a better idea of whether that is appropriate or not. They have a reputation of being able to help folks who have an addict in their lives.

http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/

Just a thought...

Clay

"You don't have a problem...you have a solution you don't like!" ~Anonymous

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Welcome Road.  I hope this

Welcome Road. I hope this means you are a runner! Running is the only thing that's kept me sane these last years...

Your post could have been mine, almost four years ago now. Like you, I had a bright, funny, charming son whom I lost. Gaming took over his life, ruined his prospects, caused him to almost be kicked out of school and he didn't give a darn about any of it. Like your son, his all-purpose answer was, "I don't care."

I don't know if this is your situation or not, but I spent years fighting my husband in addition to my son. My husband, God bless him, really truly thought that all my son needed was just a little bit more time, a little bit more love, a little bit more understanding. I, on the other hand, recognized that our son was going to "play" his dad, just like he played his games, and indeed that is what happened. But this is about you, and not about us.

I will tell you what I wish we would have done when our son was your son's age. This is what I think might have had a better chance of working than what we did do: I would have completely eliminated computer access in our home and never brought it back, ever. I don't know if this is you, but we have free public computers in our library and I would have used those, period. I would never have made bargains or deals or agreements with our son about his gaming, I would have established that we would have zero tolerance for gaming under any circumstances. Rather than permitting him to fall in with a crowd of gamers, and spend days and nights in other people's homes gaming, I would have told him it's better to be alone.

I would have gotten him a counselor or therapist right at the get-go, and been straight up with the counselor about the fact that my son was a gaming addict and that he needed help for that particular issue. I would not have accepted any statement from the counselor to the effect that my son had "underlying issues" that, when they were "resolved," would permit my son to game "responsibly." (Obviously, your son and my son may have other psychiatric issues, that's not what I'm trying to say... but I would have made it clear that my son wouldn't be allowed to game no matter what.)

This might be really controversial but, I would have forced my son to participate in life. Whether that meant picking clubs or music activities or sports or Boy Scouts and signing him up and driving him there, or whatever, I wouldn't have taken "no" for an answer. Your son will NOT want to do anything... this is the nature of the malady. But the longer he goes with no other outlets, no healthy activities, nothing else to do and nobody to do it with, the harder it's going to be when quit day finally comes, if it ever does.

I can't tell you how much I wish I had those years back... and in some ways, I think even my son is starting to realize the waste as well. I guess the bottom line of what I'm trying to say here is, half-measures will avail you nothing. Either make a full-frontal assault on this thing or leave it alone and reconcile yourself to the fact that your son's life title will be Loser Gamer. God knows I wish I had, long before now.

Good luck to you and keep coming back.

Jane in CT

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Roadrunner, I apologize in

Roadrunner, I apologize in advance if I sound like some sort of broken record. I've heard stories like yours too often and every time, I relive a little of my past.

Having a minor who's addicted is like being stuck between a rock and a hard place IMHO. They're too young to "kick out", you're legally responsible, but you can't control them. I'm a firm believer that recovery can only come from within, and that it takes reaching a certain "bottom" point for a person to either decide to change, or not. In the case of a minor, it's easy to "not care". For all intents and purposes, they have no responsibility for themselves. If they don't go to school, it's the parents who are at fault. If they don't work, parents are there to provide. All the addict gamer needs or wants (other than to play!) is a roof over the head and sustenance; the quality of those becomes unimportant, too.

I wish every parent had the ability to do what we did (our son spent 10 months in therapy, the first 2 in a wilderness envirionment). I often wonder what made him see the light, though it didn't happen until he'd been away for at least 5 months. A part of me thinks that maybe his separation from us and his home was the wakeup call that he did, indeed, have much to lose. He was in the woods cooking his own cornish hen on Thanksgiving, and he says that was a disaster. Christmas was spent sharing a room with 8 others; there were no gifts for individuals, only for the house to share. Not only were there no computers, but there was no television, no telephone, etc. He wasn't quite 18 when he came home, but he knew that if he was ever to live with us again, it would be by our rules or he'd be out on his own. And I think that by that point, he'd realized he was unable to support himself...at least in the manner to which he'd become accustomed. And he wanted to be back on track school-wise with his same-age peers. That required us putting him in a private school for his senior year.

We all have different circumstances. I agree with Jane but I know from firsthand experience that we simply could not force or make our son do anything. He was 6' tall, 265 lbs. and a football lineman and heavyweight wrestler. On the few occasions we tried to stop him from leaving the house to game, he'd simply push past us, usually with a threat of what would happen if we tried to stop him. And believe me, we did everything that could be done and even succeeded in making the computer and internet inaccessible at home. But, he found ways to play elsewhere with his school-provided laptop computer. If there's an unprotected network in your neighborhood and the kid can get his hands on a computer, you're sunk.

We took our son to a therapist at the first sign, but the concept of gaming addiction was so new (this was 2005) that we got nowhere. We finally were successful more than a year later and it was that therapist who recommended wilderness therapy and complete removal from the home environment. I agree that it is critical that you find a therapist who understands gaming addiction and believes it to be real. An addiction is exactly that...it doesn't go away and you don't grow out of it. I'm convinced that once a line is crossed, there's no turning back and "moderating". Any therapist who tells you otherwise is not a therapist you need to continue seeing.

Another Gamer
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I just have one quick and

I just have one quick and short reply to add to WoW Parent's post here. If you do choose to send your son away to wilderness retreats, DO NOT under any circumstances give him ANY inclination of when he is leaving. If he knows how long he is going to be there, he can just settle back and patiently bide his time until his release, from which he will hungrily return to his past life style. If he has no idea on how long he's going to be there, that is when the panic will set in and he will start thinking realistically, if only on what he has to do to leave. And thinking about what he has to do to leave, it MAY seem better to him to do with his time after he has left then to game.

A single step is all it takes to begin a long journey...

WoW Parent
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You are right about that,

You are right about that, Another Gamer. Our son had absolutely no idea that we were having him taken away. It happened at 5:00 a.m., and the only contact with him that morning was his dad, informing him that the 2 guys were there to "help us help you." He told him we loved him, and that was that.

Our son was suppposed to be in wilderness and "recovering" in 30 days; it turned into 60. We could tell that things would go right back to where they were and opted to have him taken directly from wilderness to a therapeutic boarding school. Again, there was no contact with us. He thought we were coming to collect him from wilderness and instead, was informed that he was being transported elsewhere and would not be coming home. He left home in early October and the first time we spoke to him (a controlled and audited 15 minutes on the phone) was in late February.

We also told our son that he would be in the boarding school throughout his senior year, and beyond his 18th birthday. He was told that if he chose to leave on his 18th birthday (which was within his legal rights), he would not be welcome home. Extenuating circumstances made us take him out before his Senior year began. But, our decision was kept from both the school and him until our arrival that day. We had a contract in hand, and made him read it out loud to us and then sign it. I believe his words were something to the effect of, "After what I've been through, following these rules will be a piece of cake!" And he did follow them, every last one.

One of our employees is a good friend to our son. His daughter was/is a drug and alcohol addict. He thought we were out of our minds when we sent our son away...thought it was way too drastic a measure for a gaming addict. I laughed out loud the other day when he told me that he and my son both agree (now) that he was "outplayed" by us!

The only thing that was never in doubt, ever, even for a second...and that was our love for him. Oh, boy, does he know it now!

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Dear rr, I hope this all

Dear rr,

I hope this all gives you real HOPE that there ARE some answers, possibilites, and strategies, if you're willing and able. And if you don't quite feel you're up to it, get some in-person support to come alongside you. And if you're a praying person and haven't done much, do begin. For your sanity and sake, as well as his.

WoW parent, Jane, and Gamersmom, how grateful I am for your everfresh posts and sharing! I always am blessed and learn so very much! Thanks for modeling so often what we need. All that's been shared above by the OLG's and ANON's is of great value, rr. Keep returning, reading, learning. It is SO worth it.

Most sincerely,

IHS

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Dear parents, My name is

Dear parents,

My name is Andrea Muraskin and I am the radio coach at Y-Press, a youth
media organization based in Indianapolis, Indiana. We produce print and
radio stories for local news outlets and the web; all conceived, reported
and written by teens. One of our reporters, a 13 year old boy name Patrick,
was moved by a story he saw about boot camps for video-game addicted teens
in Korea, and decided to do a radio story on video game addiction in this
country.
After reading your posts on OLG-Anon, I am wondering if any of your songs might be willing
to speak with Patrick about their experiences. We plan to have the story
broadcast on WFYI, our local public radio station, as part of a series on
different aspects of teens and video games

I can be reached at (317) 444-2010 or ypress@earthlink.net. To view and
listen to our work, please visit www.ypress.org.

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I am a newbie here and I

I am a newbie here and I must say that some of these blogs are making the knots in my stomach even bigger than they already are. I feel as if some of you are describing my son to a T. Our 19-year old, bright and once A student has just dropped out of college. I can't even believe it. My son won't admit to a problem and so we don't know where to go with this. My husband and I are desperate. I've heard mentioned a couple of times about a wilderness camp. Where are these camps? Do you recommend one over the other? Any help would be appreciated. I'm sick inside.

Gamersmom
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Since your son is 19, he

Since your son is 19, he would have to be agreeable to going to a wilderness camp, and it sounds like he has not reached that point.

"Small service is true service while it lasts.  Of humblest friends, bright creature! scorn not one

The daisy, by the shadow that it casts,

Protects the lingering dewdrop from the sun." -------William Wordsworth

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Most addicts won't do

Most addicts won't do anything until the pain of continuing outweighs the pain of quitting...

I guess you have to find a way to make it painful for him to continue gaming...

empleh
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We are hoping and praying

We are hoping and praying for him to admit that he may have a problem. We are addressing it tonight...calmly, in a letter. The face-to-face discussions get us nowhere except into an explosive argument. I am hoping a letter will make him at least think about the possibility. It will be the first step in a very long process. Wish us luck!

empleh
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Well that didn't go so well.

Well that didn't go so well. :(

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Don't be discouraged,

Don't be discouraged, empleh. It's the nature of addiction. It's very difficult to reason with an addict, whether talking or writing. Addicts are bliind to the fact there's even a problem and don't want to face it. The addict brain protects the "fix" at all costs. *hugs*

 

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending. ~Maria Robinson

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I hope the seed of doubt is

I hope the seed of doubt is sown. Your son is on a road of self destruction, and only holds the key to himself to save his life. I listened to a song this morning..keep in Mind that his addictive mind is willing to pay the price without counting the cost. Put the cost in front of him. I he wont stop, he will die..alone..without love and hope and depressed.All addicts end up there, apart from those who helped themselves, with the support groups, and families.

You are upset as you love him. But he, wont feel love. If he only quits one , or perhaps 2 weeks..his thought will become his again..and the addicted reptile brain will be subdued by the conscious will. Dont give up..but dont let him drag you down.

pre- diagnosed with Autism.

empleh
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Thank you Eve_OFFFline.  I

Thank you Eve_OFFFline. I know you are right. He has even expressed his non-existent emotions with us. He used to be such a loving, sweet boy. I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever see that kid again. I won't give up. I do feel like he is dragging me down, though. :( I'm printing out the poem you posted. He isn't ready for it, but I thought it really put addiction into perspective...I will read it and reflect. Thanks for sharing the songs/poems on this site.

Best of luck to you and overcoming your addiction. I'm just curious...at what point did you finally realize that "enough is enough" or that "I have a problem here?" I just wonder if my son will ever get to that point.

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Empleh. As being 40 now its

Empleh. As being 40 now its not my first addiction to non substantial stuff so recognized the signs. ( I was worcoholic before 14 years ago)

The first thoughts were that I noticed my children of 1 and 3 would be depressed as they had no access to the games, and could not be happy. The next thought was that I had to take a ferry for 8 hours and the thought of being disconnected for so long would make me sick ( and what was I happy when i noticed a satalite connection) My 3rd thought when I watched people being evacuated due heavy rainfall, that I pittied them for no longer having access to internet. As this happened almost the same time, I realized I was depressed and not the people not gaming.

The problem with Depression due clinical reasons is -to me - that when the depression starts, the sick persons wille xperience he always been depressed his entire life, what this desease makes so painful. Of course that is not true...but thats the depression.

Once I realized depression I had to find out what it was caused by, and i learned quick enough that gaming and excessive internet has the same effect as using cocaine. As I believed my pasttime was innocent ( i gamed mostly only when the kids were in bed and functioned pretty well) I studied for days all and decided to stop , and learned withdrawal. Even then, being a month active on this site it took me 30 days to admit addiction.

Its hard..Life experience and moral standards made me get trhough..as well submit my own ego. I do say though, If I would have known this before I would never touched any game, like I never drink more then about 4 alcoholics drink/month and never did drugs...because I know it will kill me.

Mind that gamers always will say the game is addictive but no one will admit addiction..another problem is his game friends using him like he use to use you...its all a game of deceit, dishonestly, falls friendship...The heaven he thought to have entered in the game is too good to be true...and is in fact hell on earth. What reminds me of Hotel California...you can check in every time you like, but can never leave....what reminds that the new drugs of this decade, are not much different then the once from 40 years ago. Same content, other package...

If you can have him join this site I am happy to talk to him, as addict to adict,:)

pre- diagnosed with Autism.

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