Saturday, February 6, 2010

Turning off

Sometimes I feel I have to be a computer geek to get Frost to turn off his computer. Here's how it goes:

Me: Frost, its time to turn off your game. Wind it down within 5 minutes.
Me: No, the time is up now. You have five minutes.
Frost (apparently cursing under his breath without the use of discernible swear words)

10 minutes pass.

Me: OK, turn it off.
Frost: I CAN'T
[He turns his back to me and cowers closer to the screen as if to protect the power button from me]
Me: You can, just QUIT or PAUSE.
Frost: I CAN'T. I will lose ALL MY PROGRESS and I have [earned 3 billion golden coins / gained eternal life / beaten the boss / discovered a secret level] and DO YOU WANT ME TO DO THAT????? DO YOU???
Me: Yes, you knew you had 5 minutes...
Frost: Well, there is no exit from this level. This STUPID GAME doesn't have a save / end / quit / pause button. I DON"T KNOW WHY. Can YOU see it?
Me: There must be one.
Frost. NO, there is NOT.
Me: Well, lose your progress then.
Frost: You want me to lose my progress (sad voice with strident undertones)
Me: I want to stop talking about it... and turn it off.
Frost: Ok Ok... I will turn it off.
Me: Ok.

[I turn away to attend to Wren who is trying to watch the game hero [goring a bear / flying through the sky / talking to a penguin] while [shrieking about candy / needing to poo / wanting a snack / wanting to watch Zaboo / needing me to DRAW A TANK RIGHT NOW. I draw a tank while making dinner, a snack, putting on the dishwasher and answering the phone.] In this way 5 minutes pass before I notice that Frost is still playing his game.

Me: What? The game doesn't jsut attack.
Frost: I was going to the exit and this guy attacked me!!! Now I can't quit.
Me: Well PAUSE and Daddy can figure out how to quit later [I often have to call Josh to counter this argument that "I can't quit". There is no PAUSE. I will be just a second.....
Me: You can't quit? Well, I can.
Frost: NOOOOOO!!!

[I stride over and grab the mouse, intent on TURNING IT OFF. My dramatic flair is compromised by the lack of an obvious control menu in the game. I can't find the browser. Argh! My eyes flick to the computer power switch which is covered by a plastic button because Wren used to turn it off at willl and anyway, you know you shouldn't hard power it down even in a moment of parental tantrum. I fluster around while Wren shrieks because I am now delaying in drawing the BOMBS for the TANK.

Eventually, I find a way to close the browser / game and it is gone.

Frost is belligerent and accusatory. I am belligerent and louder. I yell at him that he had many warnings and it is time to do his reading / game / hang out. He tells me to stop lecturing him and walks to his room sniffling and dejected.

I am once again the BAD GUY.



nautilus said...

Ok. Why not make the computer games story self regulating. Put a clock next to Frost - say he has 20 minutes. If he shuts down after 20 he gets to earn minutes for the next day. if he goes over then he loses all the time for the next day. how many days of this before he would shut down within the required time? i know it sounds easy and wont be - but with the current way you are always the judge and jury, not the time itself.

Linda said...

You did the right thing. :)

Rebekah Denn said...

I'm so glad to know we are not alone in our experiences! Switch the names and you could have our house. What has helped us hugely is learning that the Mac has PARENTAL CONTROLS -- therefore Benjamin has his own logon, and one hour a day of computer time to use as he pleases... at the end, the computer logs him off, so it is the computer's fault, not ours. It nicely takes us out of the blame cycle.

Shannon said...

Mum, the idea of a clock is a good one. It would have to be a timer so he sees the minutes remaining and can anticipate.

I like the results but I think that losing all the time for the following day will be hard to enforce.

Shannon said...

Rebekah, I am relieved that I am not the only one. Unfortunately Frost plays on a Windows box and I am not sure it has a parental timer. I shall see if such a thing can be imposed.

hschinske said...

We use TimesUpKidz (see, amazingly enough, It's by a Seattle guy (no connection to me) and works very well. There's a free trial and I think it's $30.


Anonymous said...

This sounds just like our house. I was laughing so hard tears came out!