Let’s say you’re north of age 50 or 55. Unless there is a boy who is about 8 years or older in and around your world, chances are the word “Fortnite,” doesn’t mean that much to you.
Part of what I do in working with kids is to try and understand their personal landscape, that is, how do they spend their time? What do they do with themselves?
Boys tell me repeatedly about playing “Fortnite,” a video game that they say they are “obsessed” with.
That’s how I learned about “Fortnite.”
Let’s take Nick, age 11, a low motivated, fifth grader.” I ask him about his day and what he does when not in school or on-line school.
Mumbling through his mask, he says something to me like, “Play Fortnite.”
In a slightly teasing, mock tone of surprise, I say, “Really????? I’m shocked. How many hours do you think you play a day?”
Shrugging and mumbling, Nick says something like, “Don’t know.”
(This type of interaction is how many of the sessions go with these boys – pulling teeth does not describe it.)
I don’t let up. “Come on. Let’s take a guess. It doesn’t have to be exact. On average how much do you play every day? One? Two? Three hours? Four? More?”
“Maybe about seven, “Nick says. (Keep in mind his mom is sitting by and she is not disagreeing.)
“Seven hours!!!!!!” I shout out for effect. “ Do you know how many days are in a year?”
“No,” Nick says.
“Well, there are 365 days in a year,” I tell him. “So, let’s figure out how many hours of Fortnite you play in a year.”
On his phone (yes, an 11 year old has a phone), I have Nick multiply 365 X 7.
Nick tells me the answer – “17,885 hours,” he says.
I continue with my over the top shock, although I am really not that shocked.
I turn to his mom. “Mom. What do you think? About how many hours does he do anything that would represent something like academic work?”
Mom notes they fight all the time about school work, but it goes nowhere. She says, “At best he maybe puts in about a half-hour, three or four days a week – nothing on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. He never reads.”
Turning back to Nick I say, “OK, so your mom says you put in maybe two hours a week on average with school stuff. There are 52 weeks in a year. So, let’s multiply 52 weeks X 2 hours on your phone. What’s your answer?”
17,000+ hours vs. 104 and parents want to understand why things are not going so well.
It’s simple math.
Get out your calculators.
Set your boundaries.
Set the limits.
Copyright, 2020 www.shutdownlearner.com
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(*** Please note: Dr. Richard Selznick is a psychologist, clinician and author of four books. His blog posts represent his opinions and perspectives based on his years of interacting with struggling children, parents and schools.)