We are a homeschooling family of 5 children. I (dad) work from home and mom is a full time mom, but she has some health issues that prevent her from being as involved in the family as she would like to be.
The problem is that we have let our children go online with supervision as a reward for good behavior, or completing school. My eldest daughter (13) does a lot of role play chats with her friends. We keep a somewhat close eye on this. For example I am an chat participant most of the time. Her role playing is related to Danny Phantom and Dragon Ball Zee.
The other problem is my 12 yo son who plays as part of a team on a game called Combat Arms. In this game he participates as part of a team which attacks other teams - they fire weapons, use knives, etc. He is very involved in this game and recently when he was banned he wept as he felt he was letting his team down. It seems that all of his friends are allowed to play these games (or worse) - which is no reason for us to let him - but he simply can’t understand why we don’t let him.
The problem is that the eldest two are consumed with these games and spend large amounts of time on them if we do not kick them off the games. They can only play on the weekends - which are Friday night, Saturday and Sunday. We will discipline them by banning them from the computer for weeks at a time.
I believe that we should restrict their computer access altogether as it is a gateway to more dangerous stuff, but in the 1/2 or so where they have been online, they don’t have any substitutes.
We also allow them to play the Wii - the most edgy game they play there is a Dragon Ball Zee game and a flight simulator game.
My question to you is - how do you are parents handle your children’s computer time. What do you do as a family activity? We have played family games from time to time, watch videos, occasionally have an outing. Our sons are involved in cubs and scouts.
Our big family thing we do together is school and church - which the eldest two are ambivalent about.