My son discovered this GTA 5 video a week ago and he has been ABSOLUTELY HOOKED! So hooked that he asked me to wake him up at 3am in the morning so that he could watch more live videos before going to school . . .
Of course I did not do this, I mean really now – I’m all kinds of crazy, but that would be taking parenting to a whole new level!
Now my son submerges himself into the world of cars and driving for 30 minutes before he leaves for school in the morning and for an hour or two after school. His typical daily routine looks like this.
- 5:30 – Read Harry Potter
- 6:00 – Tablet (anything cars)
- 6:30 – Breakfast
- 6:35 – Get dressed
- 6:55 – Brush teeth & wash face
- 7:00 – Check school bag
- 7:10 – Walk to school
- 7:25 – HAVE FUN AT SCHOOL
- 14:30 – Meet Ma at school
- 14:50 – Arrive home and unpack school bag
- 14:55 – Tablet (anything cars) & eat
- 16:00 – Ride bike outside/bounce on ball inside
- 16:30 – Read a book
- 16:45 – Tablet (anything cars)
- 17:00 – Homework with mom
- 17:30 – Tablet (anything cars)
- 17:45 – Homework with mom
- 18:00 – Kai’s Driving Class (mom’s turn to learn about road rules, etc.)
- 18:15 – Supper
- 18:30 – PJs
- 18:45 – Tablet (Arthur’s Cartoons)
- 19:15 – Get in bed, mom-son chat
- 19:30 – Harry Potter
- 20:00 – Good Night
If it’s not on the whiteboard, then chances of getting anything done is almost zero. However, since he discovered this YouTube
channel, things have been a bit more challenging for all of us.
To put this post into perspective, you need to understand that my son has already planned how he will ensure that he gets his driver’s license when he turns 18. He looks at route maps, speed limits, etc. when online. Riding his bike outside means that my mom has to pretend to be the Tom-Tom and traffic light. She must give directions and tell him when the traffic light is red, orange or green. I’ve done it a few times, but I’m just not patient enough for this, and can only manage about 10 minutes of this game.
SO, back to this YouTube Channel. I know very little about the online gaming world, no wait, I know NOTHING about the online gaming world. I’ve been at my wits end this past week in trying to figure out what to do. Confiscating his tablet is not the answer – the virtual car world is his coping mechanism, and taking this away from him will just make life a lot less manageable for all of us.
So Saturday evening I told him that first thing Sunday morning I want to check out this YouTube channel on my laptop, because his tablet has a massive crack in it and half the screen is messed up.
We logged on and he said mom type in “GTA 5 real life #23 the world’s best stunts” and I started checking out the About section of someone going by the name of Typical Gamer. The content seemed okay, and the commentary engaging, which I already knew this. I’ve been listening to, and checking in on the video since he discovered it.
I soon realised that this guy is not just any YouTuber. No he has over a million followers, and is a professional gamer (I think). Of course I needed to know more, and I started Googling. I checked out some of his interviews and he seems okay. But still the big question for me was whether it is okay for my son to continue watching his live gaming streams/videos. Yes, sure it is, BUT I need to moderate his access without making his life a living hell, because this is what it will be if I take it away from him completely.
I read some of Typical Gamer’s interviews to him, we checked out his social media accounts and even watched some video interview of other Gamers. Now my son is really not specifically interested in the actual gaming, it is more about the cars and the virtual world.
Since Kai discovered Typical Gamer his daily routine has become null and void. It escalated so quickly that all havoc reigned when his battery died and someone else was using the fast charger. He comments on commentary and advices Typical Gamer and laughs out loud at all the funny things, and expresses a complete lack of tolerance for horrible driving, etc. He really enjoyed going on Typical Gamer’s most recent house shopping adventure.
I am kind of happy that my son found something that he is really interested in watching and I think it is really cool that I can explain to him that Typical Gamer is not just a gamer, what he does online is an actual career! He was so amazed by this, that he convinced me to help him set up his own YouTube channel, Ausome Kai – check it out!
So, to try and help my son manage his new found relationship with the online gaming world, I’ve decided to do the following:
- I’m following Typical Gamer on social media so that I can be in the know – I’m going to manage this like you would if your child shows a particular interest in a school sport (you attend their games and practices), makes a new friend (you want to learn more about the friend’s family), etc.
- I’ve emailed him and asked him for some help to encourage my son to limit his online video time during the school week (I hope he replies).
I know that some people may read this post and think that if this was their child then they would take the tablet away or disconnect the internet or limit online time, etc. Some may even refer to me as a bad mother for allowing my son so much screen time during the day. And you know what, each to his own.
I’ve considered the aforementioned options and it does not fit with the way I parent my child. Even though I must confess that I threw the tablet in the bin on Thursday, because I finally ran out of patience and I counted to 5 (this is usually my last resort and he knows that when finger number 5 goes up then there is no turning back!). About an hour later he found his tablet in the bin and it remained switched off for the rest of the evening and the last few days he has been relatively good with sticking to his “tablet time” routine. Taking this drastic step was like living in a house full of explosives!!
Since then I’ve also made the decision to accept that he has a new “best friend” – not the actual person behind Typical Gamer, but the virtual world where he no longer has to play a free car game or pretend to drive his car to school. No, the new “best friend” is his virtual escape into a world that he loves, a world where everything makes sense to him, a world that he can relate to. Cars. Driving Cars. Buying Cars. All things Cars.
To put this post into perspective you may also want to read, I Found My Perfect Puzzle Piece.
Do you follow Typical Gamer? Do you know more about the online gaming world? What can you tell me?