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How can I get my son to stop playing video games?

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How can I get my son to stop playing video games?

November 22, 2013

Q: My 10-year-old son plays video games or is on the computer so much so that he has no other interests. It’s also his only social outlet. I know about the 2-hour screen time limit per day and the importance of extracurricular sports and activities, but he’s not interested in anything else. How do I break him of this habit? 

A: I’d start by sitting down with him and explaining that playing video games and watching T.V. can actually be harmful to his body, brain, and even his eyesight.  Explain that you're going to make some changes together to make sure he grows up to be healthy. I would start by augmenting the 2-hour screen limit per day rule to 30 minutes per day, allowing for a little more time on weekends. 

 After his schoolwork is done, suggest he play a board game with you or go outside and play. It might be tough at first because he'll likely need you to play with, but hopefully with time he'll discover other interests. 

 And perhaps there's something out there that neither of you have ever done before that you could do together or he could do with one of his friends (like rock climbing, for example). You might look into geo-caching or letter boxing. How about purchasing a new Lego set or craft, or taking a class together? 

 If he refuses to participate in anything with you then offer that his only alternative is to sit quietly and do nothing. Given that option for a while he'll likely come to realize that the activities you are suggesting are more fun.

 -Answer from Dr. Ficus, MD, a licensed Doctor on JustAnswer