Saturday, April 25, 2009

Serving up cold turkey

Patrick is a computer addict: official. He is glued to his PC from sunrise to sunset or at least would be if school and the small matter of eating and, er, going to the toilet didn't intervene. I've been increasingly concerned about this obsession. Added to this I have spent the last school year asking again and again if he has homework or, even more importantly, coursework only to be told that he doesn't. A few times I've had to dig him out of a hole, I give you the Holocaust essay.

So yesterday I was fuming to receive a letter from school telling me he had failed to complete his geography homework. What geography homework?! I decided at that moment that his laptop, Playstation etc had to go. It was time for him to go cold turkey!

He is now exhibiting classic addict behaviour. One moment he's confrontational and aggressive, the next he's blaming me for his woes, then he's wheedling followed by a show of being oh so rational.

The sad thing is he is a victim of cynical manipulation by the computer industry. The games he plays are designed to create this addiction. There's never a right time to stop as the player moves from one stage to another, their levels of excitement and involvement increasing as they go. The problem is the games become the players life. My experience is that the very structure of the games makes it almost impossible to establish set gaming hours. They are inexorable, there literally is no where to jump off.

And so I've made the decision to make him go cold turkey. It's made me unpopular and the villain of the piece but I know I am making the best decision for my son who is actually a funny, intelligent and perceptive boy. I know it's going to be a rough journey but it's definitely worth it.

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