A Different Perspective on Addicted to Computer and/or Video Games
© Beverley Paine
On the Homeschool Australia FAQ list recently a mother lamented about the time her children spent playing with their Xbox. Addiction to computer and/or video games is an issue that arrives frequently on homeschooling forums.
The way I see it, the bit that kids get addicted to is the fiction. That happens to kids who can't get their noses out of books, but noone bugs them as much as kids who watch telly or play computer games all day. We like computers rather than xboxs and playstations cos you can use them for other things. Thomas and Roger would spend ages on the game, but then they'd also be using the paint/draw programs, word, publisher, design and fiddle with webpages, etc. That led to making and editing movies, music, writing emails, responding to forums, surfing the internet and so on.
Even writing on forums is addictive and thomas reckons it's because it's sort of a fictional world. It's not as real as being there actually chatting to someone. It can eat up a lot of time every day too!
I don't want to downplay the other aspects of computer or video gaming that are addictive - such as the cleverly crafted plot that resist your attempts to shut the game down after you've levelled up (or cliff-hangers that stop you from closing the book at the end of the chapter). Games which are little more than click-fests tend to mesmerise me. Doing the same thing over and over again, until we get it 'right', is a component of many computer games. For some reason the game creators have cracked the secret to motivating children to learn in this manner. Try motivating them to do maths by repeating the same sum over and over again!
There's no getting away from the fact that if something 'looks' educational then as adults and parents we're generally happy. If it looks like fun, then we're not, yet as parents and educators we're forever trying to make 'lessons' fun for kids! Go figure!!
Kids live in a fantasy world most of the time. Unless they get hooked on books (fiction) most kids used to lose the ability to wander in this fantasy land, especially in the pre-telly days. Artists and writers always got to hang around in fantasy land, but their art was never considered 'real' work. You couldn't make a living out of it, unless of course you had a patron... I hated growing up and leaving my fantasy world behind. I hated the idea that growing up meant always being responsible. I was a reluctant teenager!
Nowadays kids can stay in fantasy land just about forever. They seem to grow up just as fast though, and embrace that responsibility we all have to eventually. Homeschool kids don't seem to have any problem with growing up, though many are very happy to take their time.
There are real issues to be dealt with when kids play computer non-stop. Like wearing their eyes out (same trouble with readers). Some kids get headaches, especially with VCRs: LCD screens may solve this problem, but eye strain is a huge issue. Dry eye can develop - remind kids to blink lots and to focus long distance. We have a window behind the screen, though this can set up glare problems that need attention. Drink lots of water - not cordial, pop, or juice. Water. Keeps the brain going, and to score well you need lots of water... Keyboards don't cost much if it's spilled (so long as the kid pays for it so s/hes careful next time!) or use water bottles.
Balance all day/night computer playing with lots of physical activity outside. My guys would play for four days and then they'd be outside for four days, climbing trees, playing war, chasey games, etc... They seemed to know instinctively that they needed to stretch. Especially when they were younger. Older teens can easily forget, but then think about those guys hunched over school desks all day, five days a week. No one complains about that!
Was this article helpful? Was it worth $1.00 to you?
Your gift of $1 or more helps to keep this site operating
and reassurance to families
better outcomes for their children.
Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.
Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
"You've been an inspiration to me, I love the way
you really listen to people." Vanessa
"Whenever I read your writing I always come away
with increased confidence in my ability to provide and
share a wonderful learning journey with my family!" Davina
"Your guidance, understanding, support and words of
wisdom changed our lives. We now offer support and
organise many homeschooling events for others." Lesley
"Thank you once again for your prompt and friendly service.
I am convinced that your books are going to add
quality and peace of mind to my journey of teaching my kids
at home! Just from studying your website, until almost
in the morning, I 've been encouraged!" Louisa
"Thank you for all your many,many reassuring words
over many, many years. You probably don't know exactly how
valuable you are to the Australian Home Education community.
I've been reading your stuff for maybe 8 years or more now.
And I'm very grateful." Gythaa
Want to learn how to write your own education plans to suit
your unique children's
individual learning needs?
Looking for quality curriculum and teaching tips ?
Over 1000 reassuring and
informative articles to help
build your confidence as an Educating Parent
You are invited to join Home Education Australia!
One well-organised space to find and share information,
resources links and
more to support all home educators
across Australia, including a directory of posts and threads , where you
can source all your needs related to home education and
find what others are seeking and finding within Australia.
Welcome to the World of Home Education
and Learning without School!
We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine
The information on this website is of a general nature only and is not intended as personal or professional advice. This site merges and incorporates 'Homeschool Australia' and 'Unschool Australia'.
The Educating Parent acknowledges the Traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Owners, the Custodians of Australia, and pay our respects to Elders past and present and extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people viewing this website.
"Your guidance, understanding, support & words of wisdom changed our lives." Leslie
"I feel specially inspired by Beverley's words and, the more I read her comments, the more inspired I feel, since
my need for support, respect for different parenting styles, and information are fully met." Marijo
and Unschooling Pack
Each Pack contains a copy of the following:
Natural Learning Answers
A5 or A4
Learning Naturally Diary
Learning Maths Naturally
A Sample Approved Natural Learning Program and Review
Only $29 or $33
Home education is a legal alternative
to school education in Australia.
State and Territory governments are responsible
for regulating home education and have different
requirements, however home educating families
are able to develop curriculum and learning programs
to suit the individual needs of their children.
Without revenue from advertising
by educational suppliers and Google Ads
we could not continue to provide information
to home educators. Please support us by letting
our advertisers know that you found them on
The Educating Parent. Thanks!