Kids Addicted To Technology

Dear Sara,

My twelve-year-old son spends most of his free time on the computer playing games. He gets upset and angry when I try to interfere. I know that this is not good for him but I don’t know how to limit his time on the computer. What should I do? His Dad isn’t in the picture anymore so I am trying to parent by myself.

Dear Meredith,

At age twelve your son has figured out that if he gets angry and stubborn that you will back down and he can have his way. With no male authority figure to back you up, you are fighting an uphill battle. You are right in saying this is not good for your son. He is losing valuable time when he should be socializing or doing his school work. He is not dealing with the real world but a virtual world.

You may have to use some rewards and consequences. The stick and the carrot method. Probably the only consequence that you can use right now is to take away his equipment and reward him by giving it back when he agrees to something else besides play on his computer.

So the first thing you and he have to decide is what else he might be interested in. He might not be interested in traditional sports but maybe he would be willing to try something like martial arts. Try to get him to agree to some activity for an hour or two a week. He needs a more balanced life.