one ninety

Teen Boys & Gaming: The 10 Agreements for Healthy Balance

Increasingly over the years, parents have raised concerns regarding their child’s (particularly their teenage boy’s) over-commitment to the computer and/or gaming device. These concerns have centered on the adolescent’s time and energy dedicated to ‘gaming’, to the seeming detriment of their physical and academic health. We are all firmly aware that this topic and concern is not limited to the Pulteney campus. Rather, it is something discoursed widely and often. The cries of parent concern have grown ever-louder due to the mandatory home isolation enforced by COVID-19 and the consequence of adolescents playing games\ even more. 

It is important to recognise that there are some benefits of gaming. It cannot, and should not, be seen as total bane on teenage development and therefore abolished. Rather, it is an activity that needs to be carefully monitored and a joint understanding between parent and child established. I therefore share the following ten agreements for a healthy balance as written by Maggie Dent.

Dent asks if you and your child can agree to the following terms:

1         No computer or device in his bedroom – without permission.

2         Be actively engaged in outside of bedroom/home activity that builds emotional and social competence at least twice a week – preferably group activity.

3         Be playing some form of sport/martial arts/surfing (anything!)  at least three times a week.

4         Complete normal chores around home.

5         Ensure school grades are maintained.

6         Be at family meal times and have an agreed bedtime.

7         Have a friend/mate visit or they go visit weekly (when appropriate based on COVID-19 regulations)

8         Be responsible for any excessive data expenses.

9         Not disable the parental controls that are in place.

10       Avoid porn sites and viewing MA 15+ or R 18+ or showing anyone else. Please stress they are NEVER to show this material to anyone even if they ask.

Dent is of the belief that “…if these things are all happening, your child is managing his gaming in a way that is not going to cause long-term damage. It is called healthy boundaries.

When boundaries start slipping, I suggest they simply lose the privilege of access for 24 hours the first time, 48 hours the second time and an extra 24 hours each time. Our children need our help to maintain this freedom to ensure they stay healthy on all levels.

Allow some flexibility if your child negotiates small changes occasionally – this encourages cooperation and fairness rather than resentment and rebellion.

Please be mindful of the doomsayers who tell you that gaming will be disastrous!

It is excessive usage that can create serious problems and the 10 Agreements can help keep everyone happy!”

Nicholas Brice

Head of one ninety