Fortnite - please don’t let my child become a zombie

fortnite fortnite kids Nov 24, 2018

I was talking with my son’s developmental paediatrician recently about gaming and how for ADHD children it is of particular concern.  She mentioned that increasingly children are getting up and taking to their parents or their own iPad's and computers and playing well after bedtime and sometimes all night.  They are relentless, hassling their parents non-stop for access to the games, not sleeping, not thinking about anything else.  There is a part of these video games that is extremely appealing to ADHD kids, it is often instant gratification, sets them into hyper-focus and can be a hard habit to kick.

I have blanket banded Fortnite for my 9 year old, who talks about it constantly.  We never owned the game but he became obsessed with it when he played it at his friends house.  I have never played it, but it has an age limit of over 12 so that is good enough for me to keep him away. 

To be honest I don't love most video games for my ADHD boy.  He is awful when I ask him to come off them.  Like most things I will give him a countdown (i.e. 5 mins more buddy, 2 mins left etc) but he really struggles to transition off them.  He becomes aggressive and difficult to handle.  So as a family we find it easier to just avoid these.  If he finishes all his morning tasks or has a particularly good day we might let him play a dirtbike riding game or Mario Cart for a short timed period.  These seem to be non-violent and he doesn’t have the same strong reaction to ending the game time.

So how do you set these limits in this world where everyone is playing these games:

  1. If you notice your child has difficulty transitioning off these games or is playing for too long and/or if it is taking away from their critical outside time - then it might be time for a gaming detox.  Get rid of the games/devices for a month or two and see if their behaviour improves.

  2. If your child has a sleepover or a playdate it is worthwhile contacting the parent or relative in advance and letting them know that you are restricting or banning screen time or certain games.  Most parents are happy to follow this through for you.

  3. Go to Harvey Norman or your local tech shop and do yourself a favour. Get a device that turns the wifi on and off at certain times, for example you can set it so wifi turns off at 8pm every night and doesn’t come back on till 7am each morning.  It stops midnight gaming in its tracks!  You can also parental lock sites like youtube and any other sites that you cannot control content and you can also monitor what your children have been watching.

Ultimately we grew up ok without all this stuff.  I want my children to experience the real world, bugs, dirt, snails the whole thing and not be stuck inside on some game.

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