Why I am unplugging my kids from technology

Boy Playing a Video Game

It was a nice afternoon inside the house. My six year old kids rotated playing with Lego’s, dolls, coloring in their coloring books, and watching kid shows on Netflix. It was chilly and damp outside with enough wind to make staying in, a welcome and cozy activity.

“Mama, can I play a video game?” one of my boys asked. “I guess so”, I replied. “You’ll have to take turns, though, and not argue.”  ”Ok!!” they excitedly agreed.

It started out fine. I have learned, though, that this mature, polite, mannerism is just temporary.  What follows,  just 30 minutes later, is a child who is frustrated, emotional, and sometimes even angry. And what causes this behavior is the simple statement from me that it’s time to turn off the game, OR it’s time for someone else to have a turn.

The thing is, my boys are sweet, loving, caring, and a joy to be around. All of their exceptional attributes are compromised, though, when playing video games.  It’s hard for me to let a game system emotionally change my child. As parents we do not want our kids to be sad, hurt, or angry. And yet I have found that the thing I am presenting to them is causing just that.

So we are unplugging our children.

In place of the video games, they will color, cut, and use glue. In place of the games, they will build a fort out of Lego’s. They will ride bikes outside even when it is cold and they have to wear coats and gloves. They will get skinned knees, scratched elbows, and dirty faces. They will help with our outside chores and inside chores.

Instead of being sucked into a virtual world of animation that is controlled with their thumbs, they will start living in a real world controlled by their physical movements and mental thoughts. Instead of destroying a moving graphic, they will go destroy their rooms leaving a trail of mixed matched toy pieces in their wake, and then they will learn responsibility to clean up the mess. And I guarantee they will learn more about being creative and problem solving than they ever will fighting some green, slimy, virtual monster.

And sure, sometimes I second guess my feelings.  “Just lighten up –  it’s all good with moderation!”  I’ll scold myself.  But for us, these games do nothing but offer 30 minutes of happiness followed by the aftermath of sadness.

Is it their age? Absolutely. When they get older, will they be able to enjoy these games? I would say, probably?  But for now we have banned the games, in our home at least, for a long while.  Because they just can’t handle it. There will always be exceptions to the rule, but I’m taking the stand that not all modern things are good for our kids.  Just because someone makes a toy, it doesn’t mean it’s OK.

If you have young children and are faced with these issues, how do you handle it?


  1. Wow, I know what you’re talking about! Ben and Jen are 13 and I see a huge change in their attitudes when they are playing Minecraft on their computers. I’ve watched them go from happy to frustrated to screaming! So I limit the time they spend on that game. Sounds like you’re doing the right thing. I wish my kids would go outside and get some exercise. But now that they get up at 6 am for middle school, they are so tired when they get home, plus it’s STILL Winter here in MO.

  2. I applaud your thoughtful decision. I teach preschool and strongly feel some of my students could benefit from a move like this by their parents. Some of my little boys can talk of nothing else. So sad. At least they get glue and paint playdough at preschool.

  3. I think you have a wonderful idea going there! You would be surprised at how many kids will give you a blank look when you say something like: go outside and play. They come back with: there’s nothing to do outside. It’s boring outside. What do we play with, what do we play, and who is going to show me? In otherwords, who is going to keep me entertained because that is what they are used to! I drive a school bus, and one particular day all the kids were just in a bad mood. I told them I was giving them some homework. Boy that got their attention! I told them they all had to go outside and play for at least 30 minutes! And I meant it! All the above is what I got back. I had several that wanted to know if I would be picking them up to take them to the park :( It’s a shame that children can’t entertain themselves outside by themselves for 30 minutes! Alot of parents use video games and t.v. as baby sitters.

    • so true! It’s so different ( and not in a good way ) in our present age. When I was a kid we played outside using our imagination. Whatever we could find, we made a way to play with it. Whatever happened to Tag, and Kick Ball. Or Red Rover Red Rover? lol
      I think today’s kids are really missing out on good memories.
      Deb laughed psychotically while writingWhy I am unplugging my kids from technologyMy Profile

      • I agree! I grew up on a country farm where a tobacco stick became the fastest horse around! Tobacco twine was the reins. My Dad showed us how to make his favorite toy as a boy, a corn cob, 3 chicken feathers (that you found on the ground-I learned that one the hard way!) and ask Grandpa for a 6 penny nail. At the thickest end of the cob, stick in the quills with the feather ends pointing outward, the other end of the cob got the nail, throw it up as high as you can, instant whirli-cob! Poor ole Grandpa would have to go get more nails though because we would make as many as the feathers we could find and there were bunches!
        We would play roller bat. Remember Red-Rosie and Hot Potatoe?
        Give a kid a paper plate, a pencil and scissors, we had a steering wheel and drove around the world! Yep, they were the good ole days!
        I would love to see kids playing in mud today. Make mud pies, yummie! Or squishing the mud between your toes in a warm, watery mud hole. Just to see them lay on the grass, look up at the sky, see the clouds and figure what images they can see by the shapes. It IS really SAD to watch their childhood just disappear into today’s technology.

  4. LOVE this post. Great idea. I hate video games. I truly believe they are borderline evil, lol, as crazy as that sounds. They are addictive and make your real life seem like nothingness, which robs people of their meaning and leaves them empty and struggling to adapt. Hate them, hate them, hate them. EXCEPT THE SIMS IN MODERATION…dang that game is fun. Heheheh. Love you ma!

  5. I know exactly what you mean! The boys’ personality changes for the worst when they have played video games. They are cranky, grumpy, rude, nasty, weepy, and angry! We let the boys play only on the weekends and even then it is for a limited time because the attitude is AWFUL afterward!
    Tracey laughed psychotically while writingMenu plan for March 3My Profile

  6. My girls are still pretty young, but I do see this even when they have to stop playing and go to bed. They get upset and frustrated, but thanks for letting me in on that this may be there fate if and when video games do come into play. I will try to remember to limit it or ban completely if that is the case.

    • Thanks Janine. I think it is important to start out with limitations. Maybe if I had done that, things could have been better. I pretty much let them play whenever they wanted instead of a rule of 30 minutes, or whatever, a day. In other words I didn’t condition them to the rules when they were first introduced to these type games. It may have changed the way things turned out.
      Janine laughed psychotically while writingWhy I am unplugging my kids from technologyMy Profile

  7. We didn’t have video games in our home until my uncle bought us a game system. I think we(my brother and I) were around 10 or 11. We didn’t play too much though. Living in the Colorado Rockies made outside play rather fun. When we got older my mom made my brother and I time charts. We only had a certain number of hours a week to play video games,watch TV or movies. Any electrical entertainment basically fell into the time chart. So if we wanted to use up our few hours on movies we could, but then we couldn’t play video games that week. My brother and I would just save it up for maybe a Saturday while the rest of the time we would play outside or do puzzles and such. :) Its something I’ll probably do with my kids when they are old enough to understand it.
    Sarah laughed psychotically while writingBaby Bump – 37 WeeksMy Profile

  8. Man, I find the same thing with my 8 yo. He’s so excited to play, but then, usually, if he doesn’t do as well as he expects in the game, he gets so mad (I used to do the same thing as a kid – ok, maybe as an adult too). We only allow our sons to play for one hour on the weekends WITH my husband – they usually play Angry Birds. But, occasionally, I will let my sons play some educational apps on my iPad. But then we have the issue of “it’s time to finish up” and it’s followed by whining and complaining and frustration. But then we have that with the TV too. Ugh. You know, now that I think about it, before my husband and I were married, we used to play video games together. I would get so mad and frustrated because he beat me all the time, so much so, that I quit playing against him. It was just too much for me to handle. Boy that sounds immature…but I guess at least I knew to stop playing.
    Kate hall laughed psychotically while writingCaption That! (Round 23)My Profile

  9. You’re making an unpopular choice, but the right one, in my opinion. When my children were younger, playing video games always led to crankiness and irritability and sniping at each other. They were much happier playing with their legos and action figures, or running around outside with their light sabers and blasters.
    Ginger Kay laughed psychotically while writingDaylight Savings with DogsMy Profile

  10. I see the moods change too. I have to gently remind them that it’s a game, not reality, and that it is time to shut it off and go do something else. Fortunately we have a neighborhood where there are lots of kids playing outside all the time, so going outside is usually a more attractive option for them anyway. Good for you for completely unplugging!
    Lisa laughed psychotically while writingMake Sure You’re UpwindMy Profile

  11. It is appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to
    be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you few interesting things or tips.
    Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article.
    I want to read more things about it!
    Anthony laughed psychotically while writingAnthonyMy Profile

  12. あと眼にも負担掛かるからサイズ合わないなら着けないで欲しい こういう気取ったオネーチャンが飲むのは大抵ベルモットとかだって決まってるよな カラーコンタクト販売を始めた理由は?「関東の不良グループから話しが来たんですわ。凄く儲かるって」
    今みたいに通販で安価に~なんてなるはるか前からの、 こいつが不細工で顔デカでエラはりで目細な事には変わりがないんだからさ!
    れいなくらいひどい斜視だとあんまり大き過ぎるカラコンは余計ひどく見えるからやめたほうがいい 煽り方が超汚染臭がするんだよなあ

    ハイパー腹筋タイムきてああああああああああああああああああああああああああああああああ 継続
    カラコン レッド 度あり 風船きたあああああああああああああ
    継続 laughed psychotically while writing継続My Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge