Parent of 15 yr old Minecraft addict! Need help breaking him from the habit.

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dafkg
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Parent of 15 yr old Minecraft addict! Need help breaking him from the habit.

Hello!I am the mom of a 15 year old Minecraft addict. When my son wakes up, he makes a bee line to the computer. I have had to set restrictions...no computer until you are dressed, bed is made, teeth are brushed and breakfast has been consumed. Of course, he forgets or tries to pretend he forgets at times, but will comply and rush back to his computer.My son is an honor student in high school. His grades have suffered a bit, but I am not sure if it is because it was his first year in H.S. in honors classes, or that he simply spends too much time on the computer and not enough studying. Maybe both. I did set restrictions that all homework needed to be done before using the computer, but then I would notice missing homework assignments throughout the year. He claimed he forgot...He had friends till somepoint in middle school when he had a falling out with his friends. He has since not found any new friends, really and is definitely afraid to try and put himself out there and get rejected. I have even pushed him to contact some kids from school - they also play Minecraft so they see eachother on line sometimes. They reject him when he asks them to do something.I definitely feel that he is escaping reality by playing this game. He is still involved in Soccer and he enjoys the A.V. club at school. But, when he is home, he is on the computer ALL DAY. He just bought himself an expensive gaming computer...I don't even know why I allowed it. He used his birthday and holiday money. I want him to have a balanced life, but I know how rejected he must feel with no friends. I am torn on how to handle this. He gets so angry when I tell him to stop...which is a long process as well. Any advice?

hummingbird
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Welcome dafkg,      I am

Welcome dafkg,

I am glad that you found this site and are able to share some of your story. Please know that you are not alone. This is not easy in any way...watching your son escape and be drawn into gaming too much. I was in your position when my gaming son was 15. As much I as I set limits like you are, my son also would forget or manipulate his was around them. I now know that I could have taken the gaming computer, set up an old desktop in a central space and had him do his work there. The rule of no gaming during school week was in place but I wasn't omnipresent so couldn't enforce it. Now I take the modem with me. It is good that you are realizing that something is wrong now before things get worse. You have our support. Read as much as you can here, keep coming back and writing about your story and attend teh parent mtgs on Thurs. nights 9 pm EST if you can. He does not need games to survive or be happy. He needs health, life, real relationships. There is much support and wisdom here. Hang in there. Be strong.

"Legends say that hummingbirds float free of time, carrying our hopes for love, joy and celebration. The hummingbird's delicate grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning and that laughter is life's sweetest creation." taken from Papyrus, Corp.

May Light
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Hi dafkg, welcome to

Hi dafkg, welcome to OLGA!

My 19 year old son is LoL addict and I can relate to a lot of things you mentioned. The problem started with us when he was 16 but unfortunately it spiraled down fairly quickly and he quit school in the second year of high school. He also was a very successful student in a academically selective class up until he quit school! My guess is when he realized he couldn't concentrate on his school work, instead of letting his grades go down he simply quit!

There is a lot of detail to fill the gaps of course but the end result is my intelligent, top performing, happy, all rounder son with so much potential became a school drop out. There is so much pain and heartache attached to it and we are still trying to find a way to help him to restore his life.

I think there is a lot of pressure on today's children especially if they are performing well academically and expected to continue to do well by their teachers, parents, friends and most importantly by themselves. When the stress is to much they look for outlets to relax and what is more convenient than the games which are only a click away while they are doing their internet based assignments. Without even realizing they get hooked.. School stress combined with hormonal changes, friendship and other issues are a perfect coctail for teenages who are prone to become addicted.

Since we have always closely monitored our children's time on computer (other than the time they were doing their internet based homework), we were taken by surprise when we caught my son playing games when he was suppose to be doing his assignment. He said he was just taking a break which I am sure he was telling the truth but more and more of this type of breaks led him to his addiction without even anyone realizing including himself.

We tried everything, Confiscating his computer, hiding the modem, hiding the cables, cutting the internet completely for two months etc but probably not knowing exactly what we were dealing with together with the misleading advice given to us by the professionals even after 3 years we are still trying to solve this complex problem. His personality is not helping either: proud, sensitive but not showing, perfectionist, private and determined. He was in denial for a long time but I think finally he realized.

Discovering OLGA was the best thing for me. The advice, the information, the experiences and the support of other parents and the gamers are great. Finally, I seem to have some understanding of what we are actually dealing with.

I am not sure how my experience may help you to deal with your son's issue but if I start all over again by going back 3-4 years ago I would:

1) definetely get a really good filter to block all the gaming sites and other nasty sites.

2) never allow a gaming computer in my house (my son bought his with his pocket money as well).

3) cut off the internet at night or even cut it off completely. Of course this brings the dilemna of how they would do their school assignments. I would probably speak with the school and find a solution with the school's help.

4) send my son away from this environment long enough to break the cycle.

I am glad you discovered OLGA in time while your son is still 15. Please check the 'help and tools' section for the advise to the parents.

Join the meetings on Thursday nights at 9pm if you can.

You are not alone! There are alot of families suffering as a result of gaming addiction. Hope you will find the wisdom in this site and can decide on what works best for you and your family.

Hugs!

"The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past. You can't go on well in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches." "The first step toward change is acceptance." "Once you accept yourself, you open the door to change. That's all you have to do." "Change is not something you do, it's something you allow."- Will Garcia

dafkg
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Thank you for your

Thank you for your replies. I have dealt with him lying and manipulating to play longer...it is frustrating. What frustrates me most is his inability to make friends. He seems so socially disconnected now. He has sent text messages to a few kids that also play online....but seem to have more balanced lives...but he was rejected. It makes me sad that if I take him off, he literally has nothing to do and no one to talk to. Maybe during the school year it will be easier since he will be away from it all day and have more opportunity for interaction. I think I will also contact the school psychologist to see if they can get him more involved in some personal relationships with other kids. Personally, this is what I think was the driving factor to the gaming....bullied, then rejected by his friends. It is a good escape and no chance of getting hurt by people on the other side of his headset!

mommy3
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dafkg, Welcome to OLGA.

dafkg,

Welcome to OLGA. I'm glad you're here and agree with all the comments above. I would like to share some of our experiences in hopes that they will give you hope and ideas. Until I'm able to share specifics about your situation (I'll be out all day), you may want to look back on my posts where I share a bit of our experiences.

At this time I just want to emphasize that we have an online meeting Thursday night, 9pm, your time. Please join us if you can. The meeting is usually very small but extremely helpful and comforting. Go to the Chat Room tab, select "Click Here." You can wait in the chatroom to be invited into the parent meeting. If you have any questions you can PM me before the meeting.

Hang in there and read as much as you can and you are not alone. Hugs!

WoW Parent
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Dafkg, you got some

Dafkg, you got some excellent advice. My son was addicted almost 8 years ago and his problem also started when he was 15. Most are above average students and perhaps a bit socially awkward or lacking in self-confidence. Just days after his 17th birthday we sent him away for 10 months of intense therapy where no technology was accessible.

Due to our very long struggle and lack of understanding, I've stayed active on this site to share our experience. Most of us have realized the same thing. Moderation is impossible once a line into addiction has been crossed and it's very hard to recognize and admit when that's happened. But unless there is a chance of physical injury to you or him, try to remember that kids can survive without computer games. If you feel that the usage is harming him or your family in any way, you have the right, if not the obligation, to address it by ceasing access. It's a real pain in the neck and a long, arduous journey but diligence can pay off.

mommy3
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dafkg, So much of what you

dafkg,

So much of what you describe about your son is familiar to our situation. After reading back over your posts, it appears that your greatest concern is the social isolation aspect. I can relate to that! My son too was bullied in Middle School, so much so that I had to pull him out and homeschool him. He too was one of those bright boys who tend not to win popularity contests (God bless um). During that time computer usage was not a problem. It wasn't until he started back to public school (9th grade) where he had to do his homework online. He was considered gifted and an Honors student as well. He started the school year off well then his grades slowly dropped over the months with the pattern repeating in 10th grade, but even worse than 9th. During this time he was playing Minecraft. He was overwhelmed by the pace and expectations, partially because he has a mild developmental disorder, (but didn't want to accept help since it was far easier to escape to the games) and the excessive game play. The one good thing about those two years was that we did insist that he join a school club. While he enjoyed the guys in Physics/Robotics club, but didn't get involved w/ them outside of club events. He still chose to go to escape to the online game. At that time the game seemes harmless to me and seemed a way for him to socialize. Social situations are challenging for him because of his advanced intelligence, but delayed maturity. Hoping for a change of environment, we chose to move him to a Middle College for his Junior Year, where the academic structure was more suited to his learning style (got to take college courses and more debate style learning). He did do better there academically and made friends "more like him." He decided to test out of HS and got his diploma, then on to GE courses. This is where things got worse. He had more time on his hands to play games and was much more independent (now that he was in college, but actually HS age). As he had done before, he lied and maniputlated us into thinking he was doing assignments, while all along he was not (or very little). He started playing League of Legends and later other (shooting-type) games (that we prohibited after a while). As we cut back his time, he became more beligerant and angry, blaming anything else but himself for his lack of performance in school. Finally he dropped his classes and we cut down to two hours a day. This is when we realized how addicted he was. He was sneaking at night, digging up other cables (cause we his them) and even breaking into a little safe where we kept power cords. Our home was a miserable place. Now this had gone on for two years and he had become older, more vocal and more assertive. It had gotten harder and harder to get him off the computer and interested in other things. He had once been in a play, was interested in trying out again, but didn't have the motivation. We insisted he get a job if he wasn't going to school, but made very little effort and lots of excuses. He became very depressed and eventually we eliminated the computer all together. Soon after his depression and defiance were such that we had to send him to a theraputic school. I consider this his "detox" experience. He returned home after 3.5 months there to a game-free home. We've been game-free for 8 months. If given the chance, I think my son may still try to moderate his gaming, so we a vigilant about montoring the computer and other electronic devices in the home. His cell phone does not have internet access. It has been a hard road with lots of ups and downs, that's why I keep coming back to OLGA. I know there's a family here that understands and is willing to lend support.

If you think your son is truly playing excessively (which sounds like he is; check out the link "Is Olga for You?") then you want to consider taking action sooner than later. It only gets harder and more painful and when a child is no longer a minor there are another set of problems (and freedoms too). As far as the social isolation goes, he has had friends and he can make them again. Gaming does not provide a substitute to real friends and stunts his growth in that area and others too. He does not need gaming to survive and adds very little to his life. Sooner than later would be the time to get him into a Social Skills group that may help him to negotiate additional bullying or seek friendships. I know this area is really hard, but the price of addictive gaming is not worth it. It's better he learn to deal with the rejection now before he loses social skills he currently has to a more serious degree.

It sounds like he has a lot of potential with the AV club and Soccer. I allowed my son to give up his Karate, which may have been a mistake. Nonetheless, the anger, lying and manipulating are significant red flags that his game playing is hurting him and your family and need to be addressed, as you have realized by coming here.

Some books I found helpful are:

Video Games and Your Kids: How Parents STay in Conrol, by Hilarie Cash

Hooked on Games, by Andrew Doan

I hope that helps and that you keep coming back. I feel for you having gone through this before and still dealing w/ concerns of my son wanting to return to games. I can tell you though that he is now working part time in a job he loves, is taking college courses he enjoys and is spending time with friends and even interested in acting again. He is much more pleasant to have at home, calmer and more engaged with family members. Things are far from perfect, but they have improved tremendously. I'm so glad we did what we did!

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mommy3 wrote: If you think
mommy3 wrote:

If you think your son is truly playing excessively (which sounds like he is; check out the link "Is Olga for You?") then you want to consider taking action sooner than later. It only gets harder and more painful and when a child is no longer a minor there are another set of problems (and freedoms too). As far as the social isolation goes, he has had friends and he can make them again. Gaming does not provide a substitute to real friends and stunts his growth in that area and others too. He does not need gaming to survive and adds very little to his life. Sooner than later would be the time to get him into a Social Skills group that may help him to negotiate additional bullying or seek friendships. I know this area is really hard, but the price of addictive gaming is not worth it. It's better he learn to deal with the rejection now before he loses social skills he currently has to a more serious degree.

I couldn't agree more! My son didn't have friendship issues to start with but when he became immersed into the games, he didn't want to answer his friend's calls, reply to their messages or go out with them because he was too busy playing. He became more and more isolated gradually as a result of gaming. So, the affects of gaming on their brain is very scary.

"The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past. You can't go on well in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches." "The first step toward change is acceptance." "Once you accept yourself, you open the door to change. That's all you have to do." "Change is not something you do, it's something you allow."- Will Garcia

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Dafkg, I just found your

Dafkg, I just found your post and wanted to share my experience with Minecraft addiction. Our son (my stepson) is 16 and has been clearly addicted to Minecraft for the last 3 years. (When allowed unlimited access he moved on to Team Fortress 2 which I hated). Minecraft at first seemed like such an innocent, educational way for him to socialize. Since he already had lost all his friends, we encouraged him in multi-player games. In retrospect, it was clearly the gaming that CAUSED him to become socially backward, terrified of "real world" interractions, and uninterested completely in anything not related to gaming. At one time he had other interests, played outside, but all of this went by the wayside.

At present he is limited to 2 hours a day of gaming, but this is clearly not enough to break the addiction cycle. He spends all of his time working/begging/sneaking to get his "time" and has no interest in anything else. I have not been able to convince his dad that he will not develop other interests until he has been cut off and gone through the withdrawal process--as so many others here, including ex-gamers, have explained. There unfortunately is no "soft landing" at this point. A couple of weeks ago his Dad attempted to remove gaming for ONE day--and he reacted quite violently (and this is not a violent kid). Please don't let him scare you into providing him gaming access, it will only get worse. Understand that the addiction feeds a cycle where they cut themselves off from the real world. I hope you are able to break this cycle, we are here to support you in this difficult process.

"But if I ran the zoo," / Said young Gerald McGrew, "I'd make a few changes. / That's just what I'd do..."
Dr. Seuss

mommy3
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Goincrazy, You are so wise.

Goincrazy,

You are so wise. I'm so sorry to hear about your son. I really do hope your husband sees things more clearly soon. I hope he thinks about your son's strong reaction to having the day without gaming. I'm proud of how well you are handling things. It can't be easy. We are here for you. Hugs.

buketooteman
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I used to play Minecraft on

I used to play Minecraft. It doesn't interest me. You can inspire your son by letting him interact with art, music,...

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