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How to reintroduce electronics after 90 day detox?


Loftyerd
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My 14 year old son has almost finished a 90 day detox from video games. He had attempted suicide in August after losing access to them for breaking the rules around time limits. He has been hospitalized inpatient and is generally doing a lot better.  We also found out he is on the autistic spectrum and the screen (unfortunately) is his “preferred activity”.  His therapist and Behavioral Team both say it is wise to reintroduce access to the games, on a limited basis, otherwise not having access for so long will backfire and bring him back to where we started. I am so afraid of losing the progress we have made but I can also see what they are warning about beginning to happen. I feel like we’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t reintroduce the games.  Does anyone have any advice or suggestions on how to handle this?  Is there a general “schedule” for reintroduction that seems to work best? TYIA!

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On 10/29/2021 at 7:59 AM, Loftyerd said:

My 14 year old son has almost finished a 90 day detox from video games. He had attempted suicide in August after losing access to them for breaking the rules around time limits. He has been hospitalized inpatient and is generally doing a lot better.  We also found out he is on the autistic spectrum and the screen (unfortunately) is his “preferred activity”.  His therapist and Behavioral Team both say it is wise to reintroduce access to the games, on a limited basis, otherwise not having access for so long will backfire and bring him back to where we started. I am so afraid of losing the progress we have made but I can also see what they are warning about beginning to happen. I feel like we’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t reintroduce the games.  Does anyone have any advice or suggestions on how to handle this?  Is there a general “schedule” for reintroduction that seems to work best? TYIA!

I'm sorry for the issues your son has had and I commend you for your parenting. That is not easy. 

I've been on this website for years and every single person I've seen who has tried to moderate their gaming or screen time has fully relapsed within weeks and completely failed at overcoming their addiction. 

I strongly suggest discussing the power of this addiction with his doctor because I feel unless he's severely autistic,  like the children who NEED to listen to music all day for example or else they become uncontrollable no matter what, then I'd not allow it. 

Even if you got him to play in moderation the cravings would fester and he'd find ways to play for hours at a time. 

If he's just doing the detox to reach 90 days and then game again then the detox did nothing and he's going purely off of willpower. It took me 180 days to stop craving every day and after 3 years of not gaming I still encounter triggering situations that I was unaware of and face a craving. 

I'm sorry to sound cynical but I don't think doctors relate gaming to the same style of addiction as gambling, drugs, drinking, sex, and porn. But it is.

I suggest doing research with your son on what his cravings are, why he likes to game, and figuring out ways to substitute gaming. 

I gamed out of loneliness, tracking progress on stats, escaping bullies, hiding from parental abuse and neglect, and having a sense of control in my life. 

I replaced it by doing therapy, group sports, professional organizations related to work, being more involved at work, and building friendships through hobbies. 

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Welcome. I hope your son recovers.

On a fundamental level this sort of issue requires critical thinking about the needs that particular video games serve for him. There are slight variations, but the most common is to escape from a reality that induces fear and stress to a young person, to feel accepted by a group in a setting where chances for rejection/bullying are much less, to have a sense of achievement and progression.

the history of the son’s interactions with his family members, classmates and teachers, other persons (crucial) in his life, media sources will better bring out the history of what stresses he faced and how video games became an unhealthy activity for him. This should be done discretely, in no way to offend the son or anybody else with attacks.

There are many things that can be undervalued or overvalued in the course of life. This then leads to blinding parents/guardians to critical situations that can change the attributes of the child’s character. I have read so many things in journals over the years:

1. Endemic bullying at schools where one pupil attacks other pupils due to his personal stresses and sets off a chain reaction.

2. Bullying by teachers done to pupils due to personal stresses that they have not found a method to effectively tackle .

3. media platforms causing stress to youngsters by showing violence and indecency.

4. media platforms convincing the target that his race or nationality is inferior.

5. Parents’ confusion about their goals in life will transmit into limited understanding of their roles and the needs of the child. Child feels anxious from the conflicts he sees, or lack of attention he gets, or lack of interaction with his close ones.

sources (Well worth reading and re-reading):

“Atomic habits” by James Clear

“Power of Habit”

“Systems thinking” by Donella Meadows

A complete change of environment, like moving to a different place where the old factors (like a person who has firmly developed a habit of abusing a youngster and cannot do it anymore) may not be enough, because a new harmful activity has already firmly established itself- gaming. The gaming addiction is in full force without external stimuli now. What truly wages war on old habits is both a physical new place and a new person (or group of persons) that:

1. Interests the youngster with a beneficial subject of study.

2. Teaches that youngster the new subject and his craving to learn starts to effectively distract him from old thinking ways.

3. The new subject , people, place isn’t just a distraction anymore, it now intrigues the youngster and becomes part of his new life.

4. New people that enter the life od the youngster have to be healthy themselves and be interested and happy in teaching the son.

Hope this may be of some help.

 

 

Edited by Amphibian220
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On 10/29/2021 at 1:59 PM, Loftyerd said:

He had attempted suicide in August after losing access to them for breaking the rules around time limits.

Severe addictions very often have this life/death quality. A friend of my father once threw out his 25 year-old son on the street, because he wasn't doing anything else besides gaming and eating. His son got his stuff together, got a job and a place to live, but there was no guarantee that he would not just become a homeless junkie.

14 hours ago, BooksandTrees said:

I suggest doing research with your son on what his cravings are, why he likes to game, and figuring out ways to substitute gaming. 

I gamed out of loneliness, tracking progress on stats, escaping bullies, hiding from parental abuse and neglect, and having a sense of control in my life. 

I replaced it by doing therapy, group sports, professional organizations related to work, being more involved at work, and building friendships through hobbies. 

As @BooksandTreeshas pointed out above, what you need to figure out is why your son attempted suicide and help him work on these areas. Excessive gaming is a symptom, not the root issue.

14 hours ago, BooksandTrees said:

I'm sorry to sound cynical but I don't think doctors relate gaming to the same style of addiction as gambling, drugs, drinking, sex, and porn. But it is.

I don't think it's cynical. I think it's true.

On 10/29/2021 at 1:59 PM, Loftyerd said:

We also found out he is on the autistic spectrum and the screen (unfortunately) is his “preferred activity”.

If the "screen" is his preferred activity, it doesn't mean he can't do other things. Plus "screen" doesn't necessarily equal "gaming". He can do other things on the computer too. In my case, while I was gaming, I learnt English on such a level that it led me to start teaching English. I tried to make the most out of a bad situation and two and a half years later, I can surely say I am in a better place.

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On 11/9/2021 at 11:04 PM, BooksandTrees said:

I've been on this website for years and every single person I've seen who has tried to moderate their gaming or screen time has fully relapsed within weeks and completely failed at overcoming their addiction. 

Powerful.

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