@Leena Jumani Dear parent, your concern is very valid. Online video games can be very violent, have high addictive potential, and can also pose a security threat by making your teen vulnerable to being bullied. At the same time, online video gaming offers certain advantages-- help teens connect with people who share similar interests and are a good avenue for entertainment. However, lecturing the teen about the harms of online video gaming is hardly going to be effective; your teen will simply tune you out. Instead, try the following ways to help your teen strike a balance between entertainment and academics (and other pursuits): Cue in to their virtual world. Talk to your teen about the online games he plays, then spend time learning the ins and outs of the games to ensure you have an idea of his world. If you're up to it, play those games with your teen. Have open conversations. Have conversations with your teen about being safe while playing online games. This includes: Knowing that he should not use his real photos or full name (instead ask him to use an online nickname) to set up his gaming profile. Not sharing any personal information (e.g., his address, phone number) with anyone online. Knowing how to report, or block a player who engages in online harassment or any other inappropriate behaviour. For each game that your teen plays, and for each app he uses, check the age rating and ensure that the apps/games are age appropriate. Check out https://www.commonsensemedia.org for ratings and reviews. Make sure your teen has the right privacy settings. Let your teen know that youre open to having conversations if he feels uncomfortable, or is not sure about something he has encountered while gaming. Teach self-regulation. Encourage your teen to find effective ways to self-regulate her device use and online behaviour. Encourage her to reflect on the impact of her daily online habits on her personal, academic, and extracurricular goals. For example, could her goal be to cut down 15 minutes of gaming time every day? Encourage her to think about other judicious uses of her time, such as learning a new skill or pursuing an activity in the time she saves by staying away from all forms of social media, including video gaming. Limit time. Access to online games should be viewed as an earned privilege, not an automatic right. It is a good idea to limit your teens online gaming to 60 minutes per day. You can also negotiate with your teen on when she can play games everyday. For example, she can play online games after she cleans her room and completes her homework. Negotiate. It is important when negotiating the duration of online gaming to keep your tone empathic. Ask questions such as How can we help you manage your time and keep a limit on the time you spend playing the game so it doesn't interfere with your work or other activities? You could then listen to your teens suggestions and then recommend your own How much time should he spend playing the game? You and your teen could work out on a signed gadget use contract (when he can use the gadget? For how long? For what purpose? And so on), and discuss what the consequences would be if he breaks the contract. Then, it is important for you to stay firm and enforce the agreed upon contract. All the best!
@Team ParentCircle Great points to ponder upon. I agree with Leena when she says that at times it is so difficult to get our children off the virtual gaming world and no amount of cajoling, sweet-mouthing, reprimanding or animosity help. Thanks a lot for the suggestions!
@Meena P So true Ma'am. It's nice of you to think along these lines. I still remember many of my teachers, right from kindergarten to graduation, who have left a lasting impression on my mind. Students will never forget the teachers, who have been kind ,understanding, and set an excellent example for them. A math teacher, language teacher , dance teacher or any teacher can impart values and influence a child in so many ways. They shape a child's personality and build a foundation for their future. It's a blessing to have teachers who teach more than the subject they are assigned. Thanks and All the Best :)
@Meena P Dear Teacher, You're spot on about academic subjects being aligned with basic values that we try to inculcate in our children. Math can teach us problem solving, logical reasoning, and analytical skills. Social science subjects such as history can teach us about hope, courage, and resilience; civics about social justice; and geography about empathy toward the environment. As a teacher, you could focus on not only teaching the subject to your students but after each topic, initiating a class discussion on what they learnt from it and how they can apply it to their daily lives. For example, after teaching your students about the theory of relativity, you could encourage them to research about the life of Einstein- to not just make the theory become alive but also to derive important lessons from the life and work of a brilliant scientist. Encourage your students to read up on subjects beyond the text books. Give homework that does not entail simply answering questions from the text, but on reflecting about the meaning of the concepts they are learning and how these concepts can be utilised by them by applying them to their real world. Encourage your students to come up with more ideas- you'll be surprised at their creativity! That is how you'll be able to integrate life skills with academic subjects. All the best!