What to Do About Video Games?

I have four boys.  Their brain wiring is a little bit different than mine.  Specifically, I think that their brain wiring has a Wi-Fi connection with every other electronic device in the house.

I can’t stop them.  If I take away the X-Box downstairs, they find the computer upstairs.  If I log off of the desktop, they find the laptop.  I hide the laptop, but then they find my phone.   I’ve attached a long scarf to my phone and sometimes tie it around my waist just to keep it away from my kids. 
But the scarf doesn’t always stay around my waist, my six year old finds the phone and hides in a corner, playing it until the battery is dead.  I round up my posse for a search and quickly identify the little thief.
I’m seriously stumped.  I was one of those idealists who said that we were never going to buy a video game system.  Our boys were going to build ham radios, put together ant farms, and study little critters through their nifty microscopes.  Perhaps it might help if we bought our boys these toys instead of Mario Cart for Christmas.  
The problem with taking everything away is that we then become the most unpopular family on the block. Who wants to come to a house where the kids play Uno?  
I realized just how serious the problem was when I suggested to my ninth grader that he try to read a book a month.  
“What?  Are you kidding me?”  Then I told him that he had to read a book every month if he wanted to still eat around here.  
“That’s crazy, mom!  A whole book?!”
“Yes.  And not only that but you’re going to read something from the ninth grade reading list.”
“No!  No!  I’m reading Hunger Games.”
“Unfortunately, Hunger Games is at a 5.2 grade reading level.  You need something at a 9th grade level.  Here. Choose from these books,”  as I handed him my phone which for the first time ever was actually doing something helpful for one my kids.  
“No!  I’ve never even heard of any of these books!  You can’t do this Mom!  It’s my school break right now!  I’m not supposed to study or read at all!” 
“Then I will pick.  How about Hound of the Baskervilles?” 
“No, Mom, no!”  
Well guess what?  He’s reading it.  It’s a Sherlock Holmes mystery, and it’s honestly the most terrifying book I’ve ever read.  That’s what finally sold my son on it.  
I found it best to let him read it on my Kindle.  He loves that he can scroll down to any word he doesn’t know and read the word’s definition.  I’m even making him keep a notebook of new vocabulary words.  I know.  Mean mom, indeed.  
I had to sit with him the first time and explain to him what was going on, but yesterday he read on his own. He’s officially 8% through the book.  With this kind of success, I might even go and buy an ant farm. 
How are you controlling video games at your house? 


  1. Um, I'm just glad I don't have to worry about this conundrum, for now anyway. Have you considered a military career for Ben? Most mamas aren't wild about the idea, but he might do really well… BYU offers ROTC scholarships as well as Utah Valley, etc. Or he could enlist.

  2. I really didn't have that problem with my kids. Times are much different now days. My advice would be 1) Be the keeper of the remotes. 2) Unplug the router which will turn off the internet

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