Being in charge of the care and well-being of our 12-year-old grandson means we have been thrust head-long into the pitfalls of parenting in the 21st century. Our biggest problem has been coming to terms with and controlling Sam's access to modern technology. As he is not interested at all in girls or matters sexual (yet) we have at least not come across any of the problems as mentioned by one of my favourite bloggers, John Gray today...
We have had a problem of another sort. I would call it Addiction to Games. In our house, he has had access to two gaming machines: an X-box and a portable Sony Play Station. Both of these have been confiscated. An I-Pad, which was given to him by one of his aunts in Korea just before he left to join us, has also been taken away from him and he is given only very limited access.
When Sam plays a game he becomes transfixed, mesmerized. If you speak to him, he does not hear you. His face becomes beet red and the eyes glassy. If he plays for much longer than an hour he will develop a headache and he will vomit. I think it's a kind of allergic reaction.
For the first few months Sam was here we wanted to show that we trusted him and we also wanted to allow for some 'mistakes' in order for him and us to learn about each other and our boundaries. When it comes to games, we can not trust him as far as we can throw him... A few weeks ago, I caught him red-handed at night when he was supposed to be in bed -- lights blazing playing the X-Box. I later learned that he had been doing this for quite a while. I removed the 'controllers' and they are in a place where he can not get to them. It will be a long time before they will be available to him again.
As for the Sony Play Station -- I/we told him that he would be allowed to play with that when we went on long journeys in the car. As a matter of trust I kept it in the bottom drawer of my desk. I later discovered that rather suspicious behaviour on his part was because he was plugging the damn thing in from the bottom drawer and playing his little heart away when I was busy elsewhere! I thought he was watching television. Well, the Play Station is now where he can't get his little mitts on it! He can now spend more time looking at the scenery!
I asked him one day, if he felt he wanted a cell phone. He said he used to have one in Korea, but that his parents had taken it away from him --
'I got in trouble', he said.
'Games?', I asked.
'Yes', he replied, with a sigh...