Electronics and Trust Issues

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    • #40140
      Penny Williams

      This discussion was originally started by user 2SKboys in ADDitude’s now-retired community. The ADDitude editors have included it here to encourage more discussion.


      My 12 year old son has ADHD/ODD. We have been going to counseling for about 7 months.  Our biggest issues are his addiction to electronics and trust.

      He is given 20 minutes 3 evenings a week, when one of us are home, to play on his iPad or Wii.  If he puts the electronic up when his 20 minutes are over (we use a timer and don’t remind, he has to do it himself), he is given another 20 minutes on another day, if he puts it up without us reminding him.

      Lately he hasn’t had ANY extra time or play time because he has been hiding his phone and ipad in his room and plays on them when he should be sleeping.  We have had to resort to taking all the electronics to our bedroom and locking them up.  Recently he was doing better but fell back into his old habits.

      He constantly lies to us and feels like we don’t trust him.  How am I supposed to trust him when I ask if he is playing on his phone (tracfone), he says NO but I can tell that he has bought games and played them?  He tells me he likes his dad better because dad trusts him.  Dad has been the one taking the electronics out of the room after he is asleep (son doesn’t know).  I take them when I catch him and he is awake.

      It’s bad enough that our son is lying about using his electronics but now he has taken my Kindle and downloaded games on it and then hid it from me.  I’m at the end of my rope.  Any suggestions at all would be greatly appreciated!!!

    • #40503
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user curlygirl in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      Have you ever tried playing a video game? By the time you log and actually start playing—you have just lost up to 10 minutes. Then to shut it down, that loses more time………so your son is probably only actually “playing” for 10 minutes or so.. My recommendation is to allow 30-45 minutes per session so at least there is time to just relax and enjoy a bit.

      In my experience with my son, if he is on electronics for a very short time-its much tougher to get him to stop than if i give him a decent window to play. Just a suggestion.

    • #40506
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user 20Beth13 in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      I have my guys earn the ipad by doing school work first and earning tokens (which includes tokens for amount of time off all forms of screen time, exercise, schoolwork, random good behavior,etc). They turn in tokens for ipad time. I have to use some limits available on ipad to help them stay true to allowed time. I set a pass code on the ipad which solved finding ipads under the pillow after bedtime. I can set a time limit with guided access. This only works if they are working on one site though. I also encourage them to set a timer themselves on the ipad. When they turn the ipad off when the timer goes off, they get tokens for that as well. Good luck.

    • #40507
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user MrNeutron in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      It shouldn’t be surprising that kids today can get addicted to electronics, whether they’re ADHD or not. Maybe we should be explaining to them exactly what an addiction is, and the negative effects it can cause anyone with one.

      I know that when I was a kid, I always wanted to know the why to many things, and sometimes I felt like I was getting the convenient truth but not the whole truth.

    • #40508
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user adhdmomma in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      First, I agree with @curlygirl that 20 minutes isn’t enough time to feel satisfied in playing a game. That is likely requiring him to quit in the middle of the game and never finishing.

      Second, I think it’s really important to understand WHY your son is so drawn to electronics and gaming:

      1) Electronics are stimulating, which is what the ADHD brain lacks and craves. Stimulation helps with focus and feeling more calm (I know it sounds counter-ituitive, but it’s true for ADHD).

      2) Kids with ADHD usually have a hard time fitting in. They want more desperately to be like their peers, and their peers are mostly online, playing games.

      3) Kids with ADHD struggle with social situations, especially in person. But, in online games, they are surrounded by like-minded kids and social interaction is a lot easier.

      4) For my son, gaming is something he’s really good at. It is a time when he can feel successful and confident, and he needs that.

      Scientific research actually shows that video games can HELP the brain. https://www.additudemag.com/adhdblogs/11/11365.html

      Games like Minecraft are being used in education a great deal now. And there are games for neurofeedback to improve ADHD now too.https://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/798.html

      Now, can kids be playing electronics too much? Sure. And if they are “craving” it, that’s not good. https://www.additudemag.com/adhdblogs/11/11303.html.

      Rather than lay down a mandate on the time allowed, sit down and talk to your son about gaming. Ask him why he likes it so much and what he sees as the benefits. Explain your perspective to him and why you feel limits are important. Approaching it from a collaborative standpoint will reduce the “battle.”

      ADDconnect Moderator, Author on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen boy with ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #40509
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user 2SKboys in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      Thank you all for your input and suggestions! Our counselor was the one to suggest the 20 minute time frame. Most of the time, he is playing Minecraft. I think my husband and I need to have a one-on-one with him again to understand his “obsession” with electronics and hopefully we will all come to an agreement. Thanks again!

    • #40530
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user ButiamCalm… in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      I also think 20 mins is too short to get any satisfaction from the game, and at 12 years probably not really fair in comparison with friends at school – this could lead to him losing “street cred” and being left out – esp if he already has social problems.

      That said, the third time I found my now-13 yo son sneaking gadgets in the night (he lost 2 or 3 school days from being too tired to even eat breakfast). Now, everything is password protected, and everything that can’t be is locked away at night. Teens will be teens!

      I’d talk to him, show you are willing to consider extended times (within limits) – could be a big boost to him, and massive bonus points for you.
      As for using them at night. They all will, if they can. Lock and key!!! smile

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