Let this space be a reminder of how much I Hate Love You.

no more minecraftSix months ago I downloaded Minecraft for my kid, the 10 year old.

Five months ago I imposed time limits on it.

Four months ago I drastically reduced those time limits.

Three months ago I reduced those limits again.

Two months ago I reduced them once more.

One month ago I banned the computer altogether.

Yesterday, I packed up the computer and put into storage.

Then I said to my kid, “When you look at that empty space, let it be a reminder of how much I love you.”

To which he replied: “And let it be a reminder to you of how much I HATE you!”

But drastic times call for drastic measures.

Once upon a time I cursed the sound of scraping Lego in the box, I lamented the holes in my feet caused by trodding on bricks littered about the carpet. But until yesterday I hadn’t heard the sound of Lego in months, my heels blissfully smooth. Because when the kid wasn’t playing Minecraft, he was sitting on the couch wanting to play Minecraft. He was sullen, moody, agitated and completely lacking in motivation and imagination.

And then I realised: He was addicted to the thing. Minecraft was like a drug and he’d get his fix even if it meant sitting on the couch watching the clock tick. The other two aren’t like that – they self-moderate to a large extent. Screen time gets boring eventually. If it’s taken away, they find something else just as, or even more interesting, instead. But the eldest kid is different. Enforcing moderation, I realised, was not only futile but it was also kinda cruel. Like taking an alcoholic to a bar and saying “Now, you can have just ONE drink.” The computer was always there, as soon as he came home from school, as soon as he woke up in the morning. It represented potential. Opportunity. The fleeting chance that Mum might, just might back down and let him on it (not a misplaced hope since in moments of weakness or guilt I sometimes did relent.)

The night before I packed up the computer I had the same wrenching feeling in my gut as I did when I held him back a year at school. The same bread-knife-raking feeling I’ve had at other times in my life too. The feeling you get when the Right Thing to do is also the Hardest Thing to do. Anyway, I digress.

The point is, The Pied Piper had stolen my kid and I had to bring him back, by whatever means possible and before it was too late. I needed to breathe life back into the 10 year old boy who once built a go kart out of scrap wood and a broken push chair (well, it was broken after he took it apart, anyway). The same kid who could find a flat white 5 piece in a bucket of lego bricks faster than a gun slingin’ cowboy. The kid who wrote and performed his first song on the guitar at 7, who couldn’t read until he was 8 but could recite whole passages of books before he could properly pronounce the letter “D”. The kid who never came across a cardboard box he couldn’t use.

If it means he hates me, it’s a price I’ll pay.

 

*Postscript* There were tears, there was hair-pulling (his, not mine), there were outrageous accusations that didn’t exactly not-hurt. All of it inevitable. But then, life went on. There wasn’t enough milk for the cereal in the morning. The post came. The cat from next door shat all over the doorstep. The boys scrapped with their sister about a rubber dinosaur. They played on the trampoline. And then, the kid dug out his skateboard. He got down a recipe book and made pancakes. He sat at the empty desk and spread out, drawing pictures all over my expensive printer paper, leaving pencil shavings all over the floor and felts without lids. Then I stood on a staple. And it was bliss.

Minecraft = 1 Mum = 2

*** This post was written a long time ago but was recently reblogged and as a result has attracted a lot of new attention, most of it negative and some even quite aggressive – something completely foreign to me as a blogger. Apart from the offensive or anonymous comments which I have and will continue to remove, I have tried to reply to all of the comments.  It is, however, proving an impossible task… not to mention repetitive!  So I’m going to stop responding – instead, here’s a summary of what I’ve said to detracters below.

In taking away the computer and Minecraft, my intention was only to teach my son moderation in the long term. I had played Minecraft and I have a good understanding of what it’s about. My only goal was to ensure that he developed interests in other things as well. I am not scared of technology in fact, I’m pretty sure the kid inherited much of his love and fascination with technology from me. I’m always making cool stuff on the computer – building websites, videos, photobooks and slideshows etc.   So there wasn’t a huge divide between us – but as an adult I know it’s important for me to do other stuff as well; that reading books, socialising, working etc, are also necessary and enriching life experiences.

So We had a clean break from computer life (even for me) and made an effort to do a whole lot of other things: some of them old school (card games and the like) some of them sporty, we even began watching cool technology documentaries on netflix and old Steve Jobs talks, as well as seeking out YA fiction about IT and online life (there are some great novels on these subjects coming out now).  He read Steve Jobs’ biography (the kid’s version) and walked me through his life blow by blow, which was hugely entertaining.  So you can see, even when Minecraft wasn’t around I still found ways to support and endorse and share in his passion for everything technology.

Then, after about 6 months we reintroduced the computer and Minecraft.  The kid’s interest is still as keen as ever, but he’s much calmer and moderate with it. Time limits aren’t stressful to enforce. He willingly and of his own accord goes off to do other things.

All I ever wanted to teach him was the importance of moderation. It’s hard for a 10 year old to work that on their own – I felt like it was my job as a parent to try and show him.  A clean break to begin may have seemed harsh but we had exhausted all our other options, and I guess my post was simply a shout out to other parents out there like me…. because all of us, at some point, come to a crossroads and know we must do the hard thing, the difficult thing, in order to do right by our kids in the long run.  It aint easy, but no-one said parenting would be.   You may not agree with the approach I took and you are entitled to your opinion, but what I can tell you is that the solution worked for us.  Life is better, post Minecraft-wars.

Cheers.

Advertisements

324 thoughts on “Let this space be a reminder of how much I Hate Love You.

  1. Parenting is a whole lot harder now than it was a decade ago. Parent power is constantly at loggerheads with societies ‘tempt-bucket’ of ‘stuff’. Every one of us who gives in makes it harder for those hanging in. The cry of, “But Mum, all the other kids have one.” or “But Mum, all the other kids are allowed to …”

    All power to the parents who manage to weather the storm. Don’t despair if you give in now & then, there are kids with mega resistance – some parents do it tough. Hugs.

    • I know… Parenting should not be inconvenient, it’s a falsehood we’ve somehow come to buy into… It’s hard to go against the grain in even a mild way (like not owning a computer or iPad). Sometimes I think it would be easier just to move into the bush somewhere! its not as though A retro childhood is the idyllic image we might make it out to be though, parents have always had challenges – yes, the terrain may be different but the journey towards the end goal is as difficult and confusing as it ever was…

    • knee-jerk reaction: you made the WRONG choice!!
      regular reaction: you still made the wrong choice.

      In my life I’ve played countless hours of games and 100s of hours in Minecraft. I discovered it while I was deployed to Afghanistan, and it helped tremendously with my PTSD and my ADD. It gave me something good, something constructive, something creative to do. It has been one my favorite gaming experiences of my life and I wouldn’t want anyone to take it away from me.

      As a 28 year-old gamer, I ask you to reconsider your decision. Maybe play it with him and learn why he loves it so much. You might even be able to connect with him on a new wavelength. I wish my mom had spent some time learning and playing the game I liked.

      I hope you reconsider. 🙂

      • >Hi there, I did reconisder and reintroduced the computer after about 6 months, by which time the obsession had passed. I thought it was unhealthy for him at 10 years old to be doing just one thing to the exclusion of everything else. You as a 28 year old would understand that, but with children it is different. I believe it is up to parents to help their kids to learn these lessons. The same way we stop them from eating bags and bags of chips or chocolate just because they love the taste amd crave the sugar. Until such time as they can learn to make good decisions for themsleves, we have to help put boundaries in place. Thanks for your comment and glad to know you made it safe back from Afghanistan.

  2. I have a 10 month old and this is one of the things I fear I’ll have to deal with when she’s older. My husband is much more media-oriented than I am: he is a filmmaker and designer and so watching TV, movies, playing video games are all research to him and a big part of his life. I, on the other hand, prefer to read, make soap, knit, draw. Our kid isn’t even old enough to watch TV and play video games, and I worry we’ll have to deal with this. Moreso, I worry that my husband and I won’t agree on what to do, when the situation arises. I don’t know what his opinion would be, but mine is: you did the right thing.

    • Well the lovely thing is you’ll probably raise perfectly balanced children given your divergent interests! Anyway, it’s not so much that you may disagree on this technology issue (par for the course from everyone i speak to) it’s more how you resolve those differences. You’ll see what works for you guys, your kid, your family and make adjustments accordingly. And like all good parenting issues, Sometimes one will be right and the other will be wrong. Sometimes you will have to eat humble pie. And Sometimes, just sometimes, you will get to say (only with your eyes mind you) “I told you so, na na na na nahhhh!”

      • Only in your mind? Because “When you look at that empty space, let it be a reminder of how much I love you.” Was rude, unnecessary, and seems like it was said out of spite.

  3. Brava! Being the Momma and making the Right AND Tough choice is so much harder than they understand…but when he remembers this moment later on in his life he will KNOW it was all about love!

      • Kids aren’t loosing creativity. Games with building like minecraft are IMPROVING their creativity. Games cant just be looked at by a 2D perspective, you cant just say: “Games are making kids violent.” or “games make kids loose creativity.” you need to look in the perspective of the person playing, not the person looking over his shoulder. Games can teach creativity, just join any minecraft server and look at what people can build. Games can be good.

  4. Thank you for your post. I never thought I would one day be the “tough” parent who has to enforce strict limits on technology but my son’s obsessiveness leaves me no choice. He is not the “I hate you” type (yet? Puberty is around the corner.) but rather whines and looks sad… it’s a learning experience for all of us.

    • Yes, all children are different… Mine is definitely inclined towards technology in an obsessive sort of way. But even HE recognises that since the computer’s been gone, he’s less stressed out, happier, more relaxed. That he realises this is perhaps all I wanted to show him….

  5. Thanks for addressing this perennial issue. I am at a stalemate with my oldest son who has given his life over to his XBOX. Sure it’s summertime, and we recently moved and all his real friends are gone, but reachable through his XBOX, etc., etc., BUT I love him too much to let him stay this way. I don’t want him to lose his life through electronics! Thanks for confirming my intuitions about how to handle this. It’s time to fast, and pull the plug. He has too much to lose, and nothing to gain the way things are presently.

    • Hey good luck with it! Yeah you can only make so many excuses, eventually you either have to do something or live with the consequences. Plenty often enough I decide to let things slide, but this one was important enough I felt I would be remiss to ignore my responsibilities as a parent… Already, only 3 weeks later, I can see he’s happier, calmer, even coming round to our way of thinking. It’s worth it I think so give it a shot!

  6. Reblogged this on Maverick Mom and commented:
    Do you have these struggles? I am going through it with my oldest right now. The sentiments of mothers who care always seem to come down to the same conclusions. You’re the adult, the steward, and parent. Don’t be afraid to do your job. It’s the most important and toughest job you will ever have, but worth it all, even the pain and trials that have or will come. Do the right thing, and you won’t look back full of regrets.

  7. This is very inspirational. 🙂 i am stll in a battle with mykids esp with my oldest when it comes to using my computer. My 2 youngest are becoming addicted too. It’s like when they’re not in the computer, they use the ipad, if not the ipad, my mobile phone amd it’s really drving me nuts!! I dont want them to get stuck there and forget about being physically active. I think I’m like you who would see toys all over and still find it blissful because it’s normal. But..unlike you, i can’t take the computer down because that’s where I earn money.

    • Thanks for that! I’m surprised by the response to this blog I didn’t realise so many other parents struggled too. Yes I know I’m lucky in having had the option to box up the computer – it’s a hell of an inconvenience don’t get me wrong but it’s not my livelihood. It’s like I said in the blog, hard to enforce moderation when the temptation is always there whereas if you can remove it altogther the. out of sight out of mind applies… Still! Don’t give up! Keep fightin the good fight 😉

      • “It’s like I said in the blog, hard to enforce moderation when the temptation is always there” Have you ever heard of putting a password on computers?

  8. My little brother is obsessed with minecraft, in fact he is playing it right now.
    I don’t think you could get him away from this no matter how hard you tried!

  9. I’m so happy to hear that there is hope out there for the Minecraft kids of the world! My nephew is in the beginning-to-middle stages of forming an addiction to this game. I’ll pass along the good news of the “empty space,” just as soon as my nephew leaves off the computer long enough for my brother to check his email.

  10. My three-year-old, with all signs pointing to Autism, was difficult to get in the car, go places with and spend much time out and about with.
    His DSi seemed to be the solution, the distraction from change, the prevention of melt-downs. But he always wanted it. Now I have to decide how to balance using it to get through the day and using it for rewarding actual good behaviour. It’s a fine line. :/

    • I know, it’s hard, we never start out with the kind of warped situations we end up in in mind, it’s slow building and we almost don’t notice the changes taking place until we stop and say, hang on minute… What just happened! Hope it’s all working out for you.

  11. you’re a horrible person, and I’ll explain why. What if you developed an interest in something, that you make progress in, become better at, and really come to love it. You have learned much how to design forts, castles, and homes, and are eager to work on these projects as a testament to what you have learned. And then, at one point, someone close to you decided that all of the time you’ve spent on the game were a waste, and that, because they didn’t understand, take it away from you. Why would you do this? Do you even know what minecraft is? Its a different version of playing with legos except its a one time buy and you can have as many bricks as you want. you mention that he was ” sullen, moody, agitated and completely lacking in motivation and imagination”. This is because you denied him to something he developed interest in. I doubt you’ve ever even checked to see what he was doing in the game, because when you realize that his elaborate castles and forts are works or art, you would allow him to continue. Please please please, don’t be awful. Instead of taking the computer away, maybe express interest in what he’s doing? ask “let me see what you’re building” or “whats your newest project”. Unfortunately, all you’ve done is make your son resent you, because he developed a hobby in which you did not understand. All you saw was a boy sitting on the computer, but it was much much more. I feel ashamed for you as a parent because you didn’t even try to understand, you just restricted it more and more. Sorry things aren’t like they were when you were a kid where all you could do was play with plastic toys and stare out the window. Things have changed. We’ve developed wonderful technology that challenges the brain and entices the mind. But, alas, you saw a hobby as an addiction, which was not so, and took it away because you could not come to understand that this game was making him think, which probably scares you.

    • Very well put. When i was in middle school, I had started teaching myself html, css, and javascript. Making friends with people online and learning through forums until i actually started running my own layouts forum. My parents were never very interested in what i was doing, since they did not understand what all these jarbled letters where. But fortunatly they were not as restrictive and although they did not agree with the way i was spending my time, recognized it was what I wanted to be doing and what made me happy. I spent just about every free minute i had on my family computer for most of my middle school years until my interests started to naturally change. Ten years later I am a fully adjusted self sustaining adult who makes a living on graphic design over the computer and playing minecraft on twitch.tv in my sparetime. I know many people that have been inspired to do choose their career paths based on games they played when they were younger. Minecraft is a great opener for many into the world of java. If you keep pushing him away from the things he loves he is more likley to end up on the path of actual addiction. I think you have a very misguided idea of what addiction truly is.

      • In reply to this, same here! My parents did restrict my computer use at the start but gave up quite fast. Right now I have a degree as an electrician, but hate that kind of work.

        So, what do I do now? I’m a webdeveloper and webdesigner with a really nice income even though I’m only 24. I have developed my own game and made numerous websites. I now work fulltime at a company developing digital tools for the elderly and people with special needs.

        How did I get this job? Because I learned everything I know through the internet and online games. I never went to school for what I do now. I played a lot of Call of Duty (yes, the original) and our team wanted a website. So I googled and googled and eventually was able to set up a simple website. When I wanted to change a button I had to learn a bit of Photoshop, etc.

      • Forgot to add something:

        My parents are now very glad that they let me do my thing. I was always very much into computers and such. I have to help them daily with simple tasks like entering taxes, helping my dad with his bills, setting up netflix, you name it.

        You don’t have to believe me but I earn more than my parents (not combined). Computers are the future and anyone with affinity for them will probably end up with an easy job that pays a nice wage.

    • I second this. I’ll explain minecraft to you:

      The game generates a fully unique world that is miles/kilometers big and virtually endless. It generates lakes, woods, cliffs, caves, anything you find in the real world. Just that should be enough to be an endless wonder to a child. But it gets even better. That child can then manipulate the world as he wants it. He can build huge castles, bigger than any castle on this world. He can use the limited in-game objects to create new things, give a different meaning to existing things and even build things real life architects would be jealous of.

      It’s a game that can teach kids creative thinking, geometry and even a bit of geology, and research shows they can learn experimentation, teamwork and problem solving skills, as well. It’s a game that actually helps your kid in developing skills that are very useful in their later life.

      I’m not saying he didn’t play too much, but it’s a game that demands attention simply because what you do in the game takes a lot of time, just like in the real world. It learns children to build efficiently and I can only expect kids to _want_ to play more and more because to them it feels like they are actually making that kick ass castle in the real world.

      Denying him any playtime will leave lasting scars. Talk to your kid, what I understand from this article you have only blamed him and lessened his playtime each time. Did you even listen to his arguments and why he wants to play so much? Have you seen the kind of stuff he made in the game? Even though it’s all blocky and ugly, understand that each little block of that massive structure was placed by him one at a time and understand the time it must have taken him to build that.

    • wow, such venom for someone you don’t know. anyway to answer your points, I can let you know after a period of “abstinence” (about 6 months) the computer was eventually brought back to the house and my son gradually returned to playing minecraft – always with time limits (an hour each day on the weekends). He still enjoys Minecraft a lot and I certainly have played with him. But if you ask him about that period when he was obsessed with it, even he says he wasn’t really that happy. “I was missing out on a lot of other stuff” was his quote the other day. He was too young to know how to strive and achieve balance in life – he’s more aware of the need to do that now. Thanks to time-off minecraft, he now also plays 500, yuka, chess, has built a lego bi-plane, and read more books than I can count. Balance is everything and I like to think that I went out of my way and did the difficult thing in order to teach him moderation. Moderation and balance is a good thing – even in the blogosphere.

    • wow, such venom for someone you don’t know. anyway to answer your points, I can let you know after a period of “abstinence” (about 6 months) the computer was eventually brought back to the house and my son gradually returned to playing minecraft – always with time limits (an hour each day on the weekends). He still enjoys Minecraft a lot and I certainly have played with him. But if you ask him about that period when he was obsessed with it, even he says he wasn’t really that happy. “I was missing out on a lot of other stuff” was his quote the other day. He was too young to know how to strive and achieve balance in life – he’s more aware of the need to do that now. Thanks to time-off minecraft, he now also plays 500, yuka, chess, has built a lego bi-plane, and read more books than I can count. Balance is everything and I like to think that I went out of my way and did the difficult thing in order to teach him moderation. Moderation and balance is a good thing – even in the blogosphere.

  12. You should not be proud of what you have done. Instead of taking the time to understand your child’s constructive hobby, you have caused your child to resent you. As an educator, that child is going to become my problem.

    Instead of forcing your child to go cold turkey, you need to teach him the concept of moderation. Just taking it away is lazy parenting. This is a new generation of kids with a new set of hobbies. As a parent, you need to adapt, or you will be left behind.

    • Hi Pete, thanks for your comment. My intention was always to teach him moderation, but I felt that a clean break for awhile was the best approach to begin afresh. Moderation was a kind of torture for him and made him grumpy and moody when his time was up. So we “quit” for around 5-6 months then slowly reintroduced the computer and minecraft. As i said elsewhere he now still enjoys Minecraft a lot – but he plays and does other things as well – chess, card games, taking old ipods and stereos apart, designing new technology with bits of cardboard. Prior to taking away the computer he was too young to know the importance of moderation, let alone how to strive and achieve it in life. I’m pretty sure I’ve helped him with that – he’s over there right now reading a book – on I.T./online life, of course! It’s called “Web of Darkness” and it’s absolutely uputdownable. Hardly lazy parenting, I go out of my way to look for things that are related to his interests.

  13. I see this type of thing all the time, and it really annoys me. You see a kid sitting on a computer for hours on end, he sees something entirely different. You say that a kid staring at a computer screen is so unhealthy, but really, are TV & books any different? With gaming, you’re staring at a screen, doing things on the screen. With TV, you are staring at a screen, watching things on the screen. With a book you’re staring at a piece of paper, reading things on the paper. They’re all very similar in a way. Learn how to broaden your point of view instead of “V1deeoh gaemzz ar bahd so i teak awy! I so gud parent, gib mee atenshun.” He’s not just staring at a screen doing nothing, he’s in a whole ‘nother world, using his creative & problem solving skills in ways you could never imagine. Also, another word of advice, just because it was the way you did things as a child doesn’t mean it’s the way THIS generation of children needs to do things. Gaming is a bigger part of this generation than ever before, & I suggest embracing that.

    • Hi Josh, as I’ve said elsewhere in the comments, it was just about balance, that’s all. I’m not one of those “back in my day” kind of parents – I’m pretty sure the kid inherited much of his love and fascination with technology from me! I’m always making and building websites, videos, photos etc. So there wasn’t a huge divide between us – but as an adult I know it’s important for me to do other stuff as well; that reading books, socialising, working etc, are also necessary and enriching life experiences. We had a clean break from computer life (even for me, because I too lost the computer remember!) for 6 months and we did a whole lot of other stuff. then we reintroduced the computer and minecraft and life’s been pretty plain sailing. I think it worked out ok for us in the end. Cheers

    • I wasn’t ignoring the comments – I’m just not a frequent blogger as you might tell if you have a dig around on the site. A friend alerted me to the recent interest so I’m doing my best to reply – but frankly, I’m not too inspired as the tone of some of them are quite nasty.

  14. Minecraft is probably more creative than drawing. Take a look at some of his worlds and see how creative he was being, youre just another parent thats , stupidly, scared of technology. Embrace the fact that he likes minecraft and ask him to build something for you, he’ll show you that minecraft isnt bad.

    • Hi Armand, what you say is true – I have played Minecraft and I have a good understanding of what it’s about. My only goal was to ensure that he developed interests in other things as well. As I said in another comment, I am not scared of technology in fact, I’m pretty sure the kid inherited much of his love and fascination with technology from me! I’m always making and building websites, videos, photos etc. So there wasn’t a huge divide between us – but as an adult I know it’s important for me to do other stuff as well; that reading books, socialising, working etc, are also necessary and enriching life experiences. We had a clean break from computer life and then we reintroduced it and life’s been pretty plain sailing after that. Cheers

  15. I kind of feel that you over reacted here. There will be times where all kids want to do is be on a a game, then after awhile (maybe a day, maybe a year), they will get bored of it, or at least not find it as entertaining. As a parent, you need to realize that your kid will have these periods in his life where he will seem to be addicted to something, you just need to sit back and let these times pass. If it goes on for awhile, maybe put small limitations, but never take it all away. Kids will not understand, no matter what you try to tell them. It will cause them to hate you, and do anything to play it again. Kids may go as far as to buy a new PC to play it. If anything, all you did was ruin your kids idea of you, as well as prolong his addiction to the game.

    Minecraft itself is also a rather beneficial game. It can force kids to be creative and use their imagination to come up with great ideas. Games like Call of Duty can’t teach or improve kids the way minecraft can.

    While a lot of comments are saying you’re a good parent for doing this, I would have to disagree. I also have to disagree with the comments saying you are a monester, you did what you thought was best for the kid. It wasn’t best for the kid though, and I suggest you try to make amends. Make a deal with the kid, saying that if you give him back his minecraft, he will need to limit himself to however long a day. If he doesn’t limit himself, then you can take it away again. This should help him learn to manage his time better, and prevent your feet from stepping on Legos.

    • Hi there thanks for your reasonable and thoughtful comment. I have never been the recipient of such hateful blog comments before and I seriously considered taking the post down. I guess I should have written a follow up to say that, 6 months later, we reintroduced the computer with time limits and that the whole experience has been very positive. Even the kid would tell you that. He is no longer moody and grumpy when his time is up – he happily turns it off if I ask him to come and play a game or do something else. I really think he was just too young to know the importance of moderation, let alone how to achieve it. That’s my role as parent, to teach him that. As a result of our time-off Minecraft, he now does a whole lot of other things as well; chess, card games, touch rugby etc, socialising with friends etc. On my side, I go out of my way to find things that appeal to his interests in a way that furthers and supports them – I just found a great book “web of darkness” (about online life) and he’s as engrossed as that as he was in minecraft. Anyway, it’s all worked out in the end, I think. Cheers

  16. Wow, that is just bad parenting. I am 15 and when I was 12 I will admit, I was addicted. I dealt with bullying in school, I had no real friends. I was an outcast, I turned to minecraft as something to help get me by. I made friends through minecraft, I became more creative. It was the first time I was truly enjoying life in a long time. When my mom realized how much I played she put a limit on the amount I could play in a day. I was upset at first but I got over it. I would get home from school, finish homework, and play minecraft for 2 hours then go do my own thing. MY addiction slowly faded as I got a little bored with the game so I decided to spice it up. I started modding, programming my own content for the game. From there I got into programming, animation, and video game design. Those are all well paying jobs that are in high demand. Are you happy that you are denying you child the chance to take interest in those particular fields? Think about that for a bit.

    • Hi there, you might read my replies to other comments below – there are too many now to reply to all of them but if you are really interested in my actions and reactions, i welcome you to read the comments above/below. – in summary, I was simply trying to show my kid the importance of balance in life, and how to achieve it. He now plays minecraft, with time limits, and does a whole lot of other things as well. Life’s good, he’s ok. Cheers

  17. This article was linked on a popular website for fans of Minecraft. This is why you are getting such negative replies right now. Some of these people are kids themselves and most of them have never had a child and do not understand.

    Please don’t take all of these comments to heart.

    I do agree with the sentiment that maybe you should try to see what it is your child enjoys so much about this Game. Perhaps you can find another outlet for what it is he loves so much about it?

    It’s obvious you care about your child and worry about his future. That’s never terrible to see.

    • The comment above by someone is extreme speculation about reddit and its users, which are mostly adults, so please ignore it.

      This was posted on reddit, where you are required to be 18 to have an account. Also, almost all redditors are adults, so they’re allowed to formulate their own opinion about this situation. You should take all of these comments to heart and listen to what people have to say, because many do think that you did not handle the situation well at all.

      Your general lack of showing any interest in the game you bought for your son is troubling. Instead of trying to understand, you just brushed it under the table, getting more and more agitated when it creeped back out. You say in the article that you love your kids, but this reads out like you wouldn’t tolerate his computer use at all, as well as not even bothering to ask him about the game once.

      • Mike is right, it was extreme speculation on my part. You should definitely take all of this to heart and make sure to take the advice of reddit. It has never gone bad for anyone. As a whole they are a proven group with an outstanding track record.

      • Hi there, I welcome you to read my comments to others below – there are too many for me to address each one directly, but your sentiment about balance and moderation is precisely what I was trying to achieve, and 18 months down the track, I think we have done that. Cheers

    • THanks! I haven’t ever had to deal with such negative comments before – it’s truly awful. I have tried to reply to them but there are too many and I am simply trashing the outright offensive or anonymous ones. Please do read my other comments below, we eventually did find a compromise to the minecraft-wars! Cheers again

      • You handled the negative comments very well! There is a lot of passion in the Minecraft community (deservedly so). People love that game and felt this blog was a direct attack on it. They lashed out. They didn’t care about the child – they cared about the perception of Minecraft. They too could use a little moderation.

        I’m glad to see that everything turned out well in the end. My fondest memories of when I was young was taking things apart and putting them back together. It definitely helped me with my career choice.

        Good luck in the future!

  18. ugh, kids using the computer playing creative games, yuck. back in my day kids used the anarchist cookbook to cook gasoline on the stove. THOSE WERE THE DAYS..

  19. I wrote a whole paragraph about my experiences with parenting, but it came off as too aggressive. I’ll just say this: The problem is you, not the child. Learn to balance his outlets. Creativity can be fostered through these types of games.

    • Hi there, I welcome you to read my comments to others below – there are too many for me to address each one directly, but your sentiment about balance and moderation is precisely what I was trying to achieve, and 18 months down the track, I think we have done that. Cheers

  20. You did the right thing.I myself is still in the process of detoxing my addiction to online gaming,and internet in general.

    My word of advice,if you want to expose your kid to internet later on,do it together with you.Internet is powerful tool
    Give it to the right hand with the right attitude,you even can change the world.The thing about kid is,their possibilities is limitless.And leaving your kid’s alone with internet (gaming,surfing etc),can lead your kid growth,both in bad and good direction.By bad I mean porn,or extremist thinkings and etcetera.

    Speaking from my experience,my parents both working,and they just leave me with my computer.I was just eleven when internet came into my life.Out of curiosity,I searched for naked woman,which later develop to extreme dependent on porn.By internet came video games,I would spend hours at home playing game while my siblings begged me to play with them.My siblings lost their big brother,for a very long period of time too.Not to mention I barely made friends during that period of time.

    Without doubt,I grew as an awkward person later on.Fortunately for me,I’m blessed with good brain.I can cram a lot of things into my brain and took the test with ease.However,the effect of being awkward came later on in life.

    As I went to college,frustated by not having friends,I succumbed to internet.But college is different than school,it’s not the teacher that giving you the knowledge,you need to get it yourself.Not having friend to talk about studying,later on I dropped out of school,despite everybody thinking I would be ‘somebody’.2 years I fall into depressions,now I’m just barely try to walk up on my feet again.

    You don’t want your kid to be like me.You did the right thing that my parents didn’t do a decade ago.

    • Hi Luqman, thanks for your comment. Sounds like you went through some hard times growing up amd it sucks you feel let down by your parents. But you are very self aware and that counts for a lot. Im not sure how old you are but I suspect still young enough to turn things around, to be the older brother you always wanted to be, to have the future you saw for yourself and know youøre capable of. Chin up!

  21. I never post on these kind of websites, but I feel I need to. I just have a couple of things to say. One, you’re wrong about all of this, and the only people who are gonna agree with you (the top comments) are all the other middle aged technological illiterates around here.

    Two, a quote I read one time:
    Raise a child in THEIR generation, because they weren’t born in yours.

    • well that makes two of us… I never post on *these* kind of websites either!! Dont quite know how my humble blog got hijacked in this way…. i will be glad when interest dies down. Nice quote, albeit a bit obscure. You didn’t credit its writer?

    • Hi there, not afraid– just didnøt know they were here as I am not a frequent blogger. You might have noted this post was written more than a year ago? It was reblogged yesterday and I had no idea it had drawn all this new attention + a friend alerted me to the fact.

  22. I feel this mother took the wrong approach to this. Time limits and all that are good, if you enforce them and never let it slip, or else they try to always fight it. But my approach would be a little different. Make him/her teach you Minecraft, turn it into something you do together. In my opinion packing up the computer was a bad idea. Sure it worked, but it wasn’t the best way. (S)He will go back to it eventually. But now he will miss so many things, and lack inspiration to some many things. I learned I wanted to be a writer when I started reading short stories on the internet. I learned to program because of minecraft. So many things are decided from a computer. You’re son/daughter may move away to live with strangers on a college campus, or take a class over the internet. I know I have rambled but hopefully you didn’t mind.
    Edit More opinions – Saying holding them back to school was the Hard yet Right thing to do, no. Taking them to a tutor or helping them yourself. Couldn’t read before they were 8? Teach him to read! In the postscript all activities you described had nothing to do with you. All of his interaction he had with you that day were negative. Minecraft isn’t the problem Minecraft – 0, Parent – Negative 1
    Last Edit Notice how caught up the mother is in thinking she made the right decision. She only replied to comments complimenting her. She never replied to comments explaining how she needs to change her parenting style. Also I looked through her other posts and found >Dear Teacher, I don’t care about my kid’s grades.
    While she does bring good points she doesn’t seem to remember that part of grades show effort. Not necessarily effort from the kid, but from the parent. Effort to make sure he is doing homework, effort to make sure he doesn’t have questions.
    All signs point to a bad parent.

    • I made a big effort to respond to all the comments both positive and negative, I wasn’t afraid to engage with people although I don’t see the point in responding to people who are aggressive or attacking. As for keeping the kid back at school, this was actually due to our moving countries (southern to northern hemisphere calendar) and the school mistakenly put him in the grade above where he should have been when we first arrived. We realised this about 2 months into the term and the decision to move him into his correct year group was difficult but necessary and proved to be the best decision ever + he ended up in a class with a teacher who I am sure changed his life (see posts on this blog that relate to Mr Pearce). As for the delay in learning to read, this was due to a problem with his eyes, he needed special glasses, it took some time to diagnose and treat. Do you really think we wouldn’t commit ourselves utterly to teaching him to read? I’m sure the reason he is such an avid reader today is thanks to audiobooks (that he memorised!), which kept books accessible to him when reading was such a struggle. As for the tutor, you can tick that off the list too.
      I could have given all this background in this original post but it would have made for pretty boring reading. I dont flatter myself with thinking regular people (unlike yourself) care so much about the minutiae that is my life!

  23. If you’re asking why so many posts on the 16th, it’s because this was reposted in a place where people actually know what Minecraft is. Have you ever tried playing WITH him?

  24. BTW, Marc (Mojang Support) posted his mother’s view about this:

    > I can completely understand this mother’s frustration and, on some level, fear. You think to yourself, “What is going to happen to my wonderful child?” You don’t understand HIS anger and frustration, and you wonder what happened to your sweet little boy. I believe ANYTHING that causes that type of reaction should be limited… Limited, not eliminated. I fought this battle too long with my son. I SHOULD have calmly told him a time limit for each day- perhaps 30 minutes a day after chores and homework were done. I should have worked out a way for him to monitor that time himself, let him know there were no arguments, and calmly walk away. I also SHOULD have actively searched out additional interests WITH him. He was a kid, what did he know of all the other great opportunities life affords?

    > As a teacher, I have similar conversations with more and more parents each year. It is dismaying…the amount of lost time, arguing, fighting, and general chaos caused by a kiddo (almost exclusively a boy) who simply wants to do something he loves. The flip side of this is we are the adults, the parents, for a reason. We know things he doesn’t. My advice after 29 years as a parent and 26 years as a teacher? Love your kiddo, set limits like a good parent should, keep your cool, find things to do together, let him play some games, and relax and enjoy your son. Time passes too quickly. Suddenly, your baby boy is grown up, married, and moving to another country… Ironically to work for a video game company!

    Permalink to source: http://www.reddit.com/r/Minecraft/comments/2auqd3/minecraft_addiction_how_would_you_feel_if_your/ciza6v6

    (I can’t hyperlink/source. Sorry.)

  25. We went through the exact same thing. It all came to a screeching halt when he refused to get off his game and we said, get off or we’ll take it away. To which he replied, “YOU WOULDN”T DARE!!!!!”

    With that he lost Minecraft for over a year, we deleted the whole thing from our pc, worlds, texture packs EVERYTHING. Then we went to every device and deleted it from every iPod, Kindle, etc. in the whole house.

    Eventually, his attitude improved, he goes outside now (something he refused before), he understands limits and over a year later, he’s got Minecraft back but only on the pc (which has a password lock now), and only for an hour per day…he doesn’t give any fuss when it’s time to turn it off now.

    What I think people need to understand is everyone is different, playing games causes your brain to Dopamine which acts like a drug. Some have addictive personalities (like me and my parents and probably my son), which makes the problem even worse.

    For the people challenging this parent I caution you to understand what it’s like to have your kid ignore you and have their face in a game for hours upon hours and refusing to eat or have any family/social interaction. It’s tough and as a parent you don’t want your kid to turn into one of those 30 year olds who plays games all day and lives in their parents basement.

    • Thanks for your comment, sounds like we have a bit in common! I have found exactly the same thing since reintroducing the computer and minecraft – now, when I say time’s up, he heads off to do something else without sulking or getting angry and upset. I totally agree with you that some people are more susceptible to the addiction, for want of a better term. Or perhaps the ability to self moderate is less well developed. I just feel that, as a parent, itøs my job to ensure they do develop that skill over time. And I want my kids to learn that you should never do just one thing, to the exclusion of all others. We need variety and a whole range of skills and life experiences – you canøt get it all from a computer. Thanks for posting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s