About a year ago I found my kids playing Pubg, (an online game) on their cellphones. After sometime I found that they were neglecting their studies. So we sat down and had a talk. I gave them an option of giving away their cellphones and instead getting a PS4, but only to be used on weekends, up to maximum of 3 hours a day. They readily agreed as PS4 was the next big thing according to them. They had an XBox 360 then in which they had lost all interest. So we went to the game shop and I got them a PS4 with all the shebang attached to it. Things were going ok, as they were playing three hours a day each on weekends only. Then came summer vacations and they talked me and my wife in to allowing them to play daily, 2 hours. Since it was summer vacations we had to agree, and they started playing it daily. After a week or so I started observing strange behavioral change in both of them. The things I noticed are:
- Wanting to play more and more of Fortnite.
- Refusing to give up the game when asked to.
- All activities started centering around Fortnite.
- Food, outdoor games, studies were neglected.
- They refused going outdoors to friends, relatives place.
- They would remain awake all night.
- They wanted to buy Fortnite cards, thus asking for more money.
- They became isolated from the family.
- A number of times my kids misbehaved with me and my wife.
- When offline they would show withdrawal symptoms.
This went on for sometime until I decided to talk to them. It worked only for a short time. When schools opened, the weekend only Fortnite sessions resumed, but then I found them remaining awake whole night and sleeping whole day. The worst was, they way my kids started misbehaving with us, something which they had seldom done before. They had online friends only now. My younger son stopped playing soccer altogether, he put on weight, would not socialize with us. This was high time, me and my wife had been observing the changes in their behavior and decided to put a stop to it. One day I just took away the PS4 from them and locked it in my office cupboard. When I came back there were questions and more questions. My elder son refused to speak to me, the younger one was still talking but sad. But I held on, and also told my wife to be strong as their withdrawal symptoms would now get bad for a few days and then finally subside.
It has been a few weeks now and things have become normal. They have started playing football, going out, having dinner and socializing. I signed up my younger son in a football club and he’s ok with it. This post is for all those parents who think that buying a PS4 or XBox they are doing their kids good. Well the answer is NO. It is simply not controllable. The addictive effects of these games are destructive in every way, something I learned the hard way. I felt sorry for a time for not being able to control them, but then later I realized this thing is not controllable, simply because there is no end to it. Please be wary of it, it will destroy their lives. It is addictive and the withdrawal symptoms are worse than anything I have seen so far. Please post a comment if you have observed any such behavior in your kids. Good luck.