How To Get Your Kids To Stop Playing Online Video Games

Call Of Duty Black Ops

My 4 year old son loves his Super Mario Bros video game. Some days it borders on an unhealthy amount of love and I have recently started taking measures to cut back the amount of time he is allowed to spend on it. I realize that it is a non-violent video game for kids, but I really don’t want him to be so dependent on video games for entertainment. I mean, that’s why I bought him all those toys, right??

While doing my daily rounds on the internet yesterday, I came across another reason why I want to cut down on his video game time. That reason came from this article on Kotaku.com, which describes how far one father was willing to go in order to deter his 23 year old son from playing video games.

The father of 23 year old, Xiao Feng, didn’t like how much time his son was spending playing online video games, so he took matters into his own hands. In an effort to discourage his son from gaming and to get him to focus more on finding a job, Mr. Feng decided to hire in-game assassins to kill his son’s character every time he logged into his game.

As a former (mediocre) online gamer and as someone who has been killed in Call of Duty more times than I care to admit, I can sympathize with the frustration the boy must have felt. The son probably won’t admit it but the planning that must have gone into hiring in-game hitmen is most impressive. I wouldn’t even know where to start in contacting the top players of a specific game. It’s not like they use their real names and openly publish all of their contact info. Although, they may begin now that a new “Hitman For Hire” business opportunity has opened up!

I’m not sure how effective this strategy would be with other kids but it seems to have had the desired effect with Xiao Feng, who said “I want to take some time to find one (a job) that suits me.” I’ll be keeping this one in my back pocket for future use. Secretly, I hope it’s something I get to use someday. Talk about being a Bad-Ass Dad! Way to go, Mr. Feng!

Cheers!

20 replies
  1. Lara
    Lara says:

    That’s hilarious!

    We bought a token system for our wii. It hooks up between the wii and the tv and one token gives you 15 minutes of play time. The kids get a small amount of automatic tokens and they can earn extra tokens.

    It’s been great because they either choose to do something else, or they get all kinds of chores done around the house in order to get some more wii time 🙂

    Reply
    • Lara
      Lara says:

      We bought it online. My husband says he just googled “video game token system”. Only downfall was that they wouldn’t ship to Canada so we had to get a friend in the states to help us out. It was about $50 🙂

      Ours doesn’t cut off the power, it just stops the video feed to the tv. It’s called playlimit (www.playlimit.com) but we bought ours on amazon.

      Reply
  2. Carter
    Carter says:

    Awesome. Jay loves Mario Party, Mario Kart, etc., on his DS. I’m thinking maybe I need to get Yoshi and Princess Peach to take Luigi for a long, one-way ride …

    Reply
  3. daniel
    daniel says:

    There are so many more effective ways to deter a person from playing games. If, at the age of 23 it is a problem, it’s pretty much too late to enact parental control other than shutting off the electricity to the room.

    As somebody who reviews video games, some people think I let my kids play anything and at all hours, but that’s not the case. I start out early with controlling what they play and for how long, and I follow through on it. If I say an hour play time, I don’t “check back” with them in 2. I also don’t pull the plug at exactly an hour, I give them 10 minute warnings, let them get to a save point, etc.

    Reply
    • Chris Read
      Chris Read says:

      In reality, I’m pretty vigilant over the amount of my time my son sits in front of that screen. I usually let him have about an hour on the weekend to play, with the rest of the time spent doing outdoor activities or even just playing with his actual toys.

      Reply
  4. Lisa Marie
    Lisa Marie says:

    As a gamer myself, I let my kids have WAY too much screen time. I am so guilty of it. I TRY to monitor it, but I fail. I do allow for compassion – finish this level, get to a save point, etc, but there is nothing worse than spending a large chunk of time on a game only to have it deleted because “time is up.”

    For the computer, we have a filter on that only allows the kids to access websites we’ve approved. They each have a time limit for game play (stove timer countdown), and the computer is in the main room with us so we can control it.

    Hubby and I play an MMORPG (FFXI) together and have for over 8 years. It’s our hobby, and sometimes it ends up that we play… sadly… all day. We aren’t setting a great example, I admit.

    However, at 23, if my parent decided to harrass my online time by getting my character killed every time I logged in – do you think I would be honest enough about anything I did to allow them access to my online game experience (or anything else for that matter?!) Talk about invasion of rights.

    Lines of communication are more important than aggressive methods.

    Reply
    • Chris Read
      Chris Read says:

      Lisa, I totally agree about the invasion of privacy but there are a number of factors to look at in this particular case. The most important of them is the culture in the country of origin, of which I am pretty clueless.

      I can imagine that things are a little different in China than they are here, which would most likely explain the extreme measures taken. I couldn’t imagine ever thinking to even do that, let alone how tough it would be to actually pull it off!

      Thanks for your thoughts! They are always welcome 😀

      Reply
      • Lisa Marie
        Lisa Marie says:

        Good point. I don’t know either. Most Chinese families that I know tend to encourage their children to strive for excellence and push them into very challenging educational fields or plans. I don’t know if this is typical, or just the luck of the draw that I’ve seen, but maybe that has influenced the situation.

        Did you know in China they have complete companies that specialize in gaming and making it into a Real Money Trading system? Basically, they have teams of gamers that work around the clock doing various tasks (usually exploiting things in the game) to make in-game money, which they then resell in real life to players? It’s crazy, frustrating, and completely surreal. How anyone would enjoy playing games like that is beyond me, but an interesting tidbit.

        Reply
  5. Peter
    Peter says:

    Why not just cut off internet access to the room? Get the cable removed from that part of the house (the actual copper cable, not the service) and new passwords on the WiFi. If the son was unemployed, I would assume that he had all the utilities provided by his father.

    Reply
  6. Chomag
    Chomag says:

    The only way to get rid of an addiction is to try to “replace” it with something else. Either temporary or permanently. You can’t just go cold turkey and cut off all ties to that addiction without offering an alternative in its place. You go cold turkey and solve nothing, as a person WILL find ways to cheat their way back into it, which is going to be even worse.

    A child can’t understand why video game addiction is wrong, so such explanations are pointless.

    Reply
  7. Insane Mamacita
    Insane Mamacita says:

    Wow. That is quite impressive and interesting. Not sure I would go that route though.

    I try to limit my kid’s video game playing but run into trouble with the hubby as he has different ideas of what constitutes as a long time on video games.

    Reply
    • Chris Read
      Chris Read says:

      I wish I had never introduced my son to video games. On the bright side, he still enjoys playing outside with his friends more than video games. I wonder how long that’ll last though…

      Reply

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