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fixation on video games

Posted by on Jan. 21, 2013 at 4:00 PM
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1 mom liked this

Does anyone know how to stop a child from fixating on video games to the point where it is all they can talk about? We have taken away all video games except totally safe ones and our son continues to throw tantrums over it. He hears his friends at school talk about the newest violent game they have played and I don't allow those in our home. Any creative ideas to redirect? I am at a loss. He stayed up until almost 11 p.m. last night obsessing over it and throwing tantrums. Help?

by on Jan. 21, 2013 at 4:00 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Confused122
by on Jan. 21, 2013 at 4:03 PM

How old is your son? 

NJMommaK
by on Jan. 21, 2013 at 4:17 PM

fixations, and obsession are part of Autism.  My son is addicted to youtube and music, his iPad and spends alot of his time repeating the videos he's watched word for word. Its become quite bothersome, but if we limit the amount he watches the less fixated he is.

You could set up certain hours or just an hour a day, limit his time.   If he throws a tantrum, tough cookies... let him cry. He will eventually stop. but if he knows there is a specific time he can play the games and the duration, things may just go a bit easier instead of cold turkey" no you cant have it.."

Crocopooh
by on Jan. 22, 2013 at 8:22 AM

I have a 12 year old obsessed with video games.  We do not allow the violent ones either.  But, I know what you are speaking of when you say it is all he talks about.  We redirect but what seems to work is to limit the time he can talk about them to us.  It is almost like he has to get it all out--that's autism.  We limit the amount of time he gets on the video games or youtube.  And, when he starts talking about them, we have to say, "we would love to hear about it but you have 5 minutes and that is it, or 15 minutes and that is it".  I usually let him talk away when we are the only 2 in the car but the therapist said that may be too confusing.  He may not realize in the car for 1/2 hour drive is okay to talk about it and then at home he is limited to 10 minutes or so, too confusing.  So, I have to start being more consistent.

We used to set up a timer for him.  When that went off, time to turn off the tv/video games or finish your statement because time is up for talking about the game.  It works well for us.  He is a bit older now so does not always need the timer but he will push for a few more minutes if he is left to turn it off at a certain time on his own, but other times he sees it is time and stops.  Consistency is the key I am told, so I am working on it. 

Good luck with it.

busymommy98
by Member on Jan. 22, 2013 at 9:38 AM

Thank you so much everyone! I have something to run with now. I am going to see his psychiatrist tomorrow so I will mention the problems we have been having. Maybe a meds adjustment? He is 10 and that is usually when puberty starts kicking in. I appreciate everyone's time to answer me. It is good to know I am not alone. Have a great day, everyone!!!

Sheriff6
by Bronze Member on Jan. 22, 2013 at 9:49 AM

I would totally remove them.  He will find something else to ism with but it is hard to compete with technology.  We also join in our little guys isms which forms a bond with him.

kajira
by Emma on Jan. 22, 2013 at 10:51 AM
2 moms liked this

Im an adult with autism who's special interest is video games. 


Those games are the only reason I ever made friends....

I would see if you could find special groups for him to be involved with.

I played violent video games, and still do occasionally, though i've moved on to MMO's these days since they are more social.

Ironically, I used to attend lan parties as a teenager at a church.... where we all sat around hanging out playing those violent video games.. in a church.

removing them altogether may backfire...referring to sheriff's post. My grandparents tried that and it made me less cooperative in every area of my life. Why bother when the only thing I liked they took away from me?

I took stubborn to a whole new level.

Frankly I DO limit my son's movies, tv and video games, but i let him earn game time. He does his school work and chores, if thats what he wants to spend his time on, so be it. I know how important a hobby can be and while I'm careful what I let him play due to his schizophrenia - i understand how important it is to have access to the things you care about... that's were the motivation to even try would come.

What's the point of even trying if you never get what you want or the only thing you care about is taken away from you.

Living with Autism - The quirky kitty.

Our autistic Family - A Dad's point of view on living with Autism

austin_mom07
by on Jan. 22, 2013 at 11:07 AM

My son is obssed with is xbox..however it is the only thing that he can concentrate on and that he can sit and do for a period of time.Howeveer he gets extremly fusterated with it and starts banging the controller and has meltdowns when he does something wrong on the game.He has a total meltdown when i turn it off when it is time to go to school or go to bed.

oddgirl
by on Jan. 22, 2013 at 12:40 PM
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My now 12 year old DS with Aspergers loves video games as well.  We do place limitations on the time spent playing, but then I encourage him to explore his obsession with his games through other outlets. We make clay figures of his favorite characters, he creates a comic book about the game or maps out a level on graph paper.

 I'm a very creative person and I value my own "obsessions" as inspirational tools so I'm trying to help my son use his obsessions as well.   Often we work on these things together and we enjoy the time spent together.  Plus, I'll sometimes watch him play a level or two and that really makes him happy.


A_McCool
by Bronze Member on Jan. 22, 2013 at 4:43 PM
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Whoa!  I got all anxious and agitated just reading some of these replies, and they say austistics aren't empathetic. lol  

Anyway, special interests and fixations (I hate that term) are not something to be fought against.  They are and  shoud be a positive part of an autistic individual's life.  Now, I'm not saying let him play whatever he wants for hours on end or without limits.  However, I think allowing him to earn time engaging in his special interest is a good approach.  That way he has some control over the situation.  One thing that drives me insane is feeling out of control.  If violent games are out of the question, help him research and look into some other type of game that he might enjoy. I do play some violent video games with my husband, but I mostly prefer RPGs.  I love getting lost in the story and the characters.

I, also, like the suggestion that was made about incorporating his interest in video games in other ways such as art, writing, or simply reading about the game that he is playing.  I just really don't like the idea of treating the interest as something negative.  Special interests are a source of comfort and anxiety relief; I really think they should remain positive.  

dommad2
by on Jan. 22, 2013 at 5:13 PM
Sky landers fits the "safe" zone idea

Quoting A_McCool:

Whoa!  I got all anxious and agitated just reading some of these replies, and they say austistics aren't empathetic. lol  

Anyway, special interests and fixations (I hate that term) are not something to be fought against.  They are and  shoud be a positive part of an autistic individual's life.  Now, I'm not saying let him play whatever he wants for hours on end or without limits.  However, I think allowing him to earn time engaging in his special interest is a good approach.  That way he has some control over the situation.  One thing that drives me insane is feeling out of control.  If violent games are out of the question, help him research and look into some other type of game that he might enjoy. I do play some violent video games with my husband, but I mostly prefer RPGs.  I love getting lost in the story and the characters.

I, also, like the suggestion that was made about incorporating his interest in video games in other ways such as art, writing, or simply reading about the game that he is playing.  I just really don't like the idea of treating the interest as something negative.  Special interests are a source of comfort and anxiety relief; I really think they should remain positive.  

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