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Help, my child is addicted to freemium shovelware

kenta

Has no PEINS
Jan 27, 2005
8,490
0
0
I know exactly what you're feeling, I've got kids (one of them also 9) and it's one thing to say "let them play what they want" but it's another story when you're seeing just how much time they're spending on stuff that is just hollow and exploitative. Honestly it makes you feel like it's your responsibility to help your kids understand that they're being manipulated.

On the other hand, I look back at the games I played when I was their age and while I did play the classics we revere today I also played a bunch of licensed/lazy junk, and being able to play the bad stuff is what helps a person form an opinion and make their own tastes and determine what they like/dislike. So yeah, we know that YOU know better, but sometimes you need to let kids experience for themselves. Try to tell yourself it won't last long
 

DeaviL

Banned
Sep 11, 2013
3,184
0
0
Belgium
I get the OP, this isn't about not letting the kid play things he enjoys and the OP doesn't.
(He played Minecraft which OP didn't enjoy, and he did)
These are shells of games made to be addicting.

To me OP is asking us how he can get rid of his sons gambling addiction, cause that's what F2P mobile games are imo.
 

Muzicfreq

Banned
Dec 16, 2014
4,007
0
0
Get him a Vita. Great classics, PS Mobile games to get him initially interested, a console quality Minecraft... hes gotta choose, but my 10 y/o's ipad collects dust since I bought him a Vita
There is this as well. Also getting ps+ will bring in a good flow of free games... freeish since you still need to spend $50
 
May 4, 2014
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I agree with the sentiments of the OP regarding the passive idleness of F2P games. They are the opiate of interactive entertainment. There are spectrums for all entertainment, there is brain-dead television just like there is engaging television, and anybody regardless of age should moderate their consumption in a way that benefits them as opposed to placating them.
 

Pancakes R Us

Member
Aug 24, 2007
6,711
2
0
Let him play what he wants. If he is having fun, isn't that all the matters?
This. I've learnt to live with the fact that one of my nieces loves to play licensed games. If she's enjoying them, I'm happy. Obviously I try to avoid getting her any totally broken games.
 

mrklaw

MrArseFace
Jun 10, 2004
59,891
2
0
Windsor, UK
I know exactly what you're feeling, I've got kids (one of them also 9) and it's one thing to say "let them play what they want" but it's another story when you're seeing just how much time they're spending on stuff that is just hollow and exploitative. Honestly it makes you feel like it's your responsibility to help your kids understand that they're being manipulated.

On the other hand, I look back at the games I played when I was their age and while I did play the classics we revere today I also played a bunch of licensed/lazy junk, and being able to play the bad stuff is what helps a person form an opinion and make their own tastes and determine what they like/dislike. So yeah, we know that YOU know better, but sometimes you need to let kids experience for themselves. Try to tell yourself it won't last long

exactly.

I played some absolute trash when I was young. How are you supposed to learn what you like without tasting lots of things?
 

Lord Azrael

Member
May 23, 2013
1,158
0
410
IL
Let him play what he wants; different people have different tastes. Why are you trying to appeal to a 9-year-old's sense of reasoning? If anything it might make you seem elitist in his eyes, denouncing his taste in games as inferior.

Now if it becomes a REAL problem, as in he actually shows signs of addiction or resistance to bedtime, then you should cut him off. Just don't try to veil it as a concern over the quality of the games, because then he may rightfully denounce your regulations as unfair.
 

silvermember

Banned
Feb 16, 2014
2,502
0
0
If I was you, I would abandon that little bastard. Or you could realize that the child has a different interest in games than you and simply let the child be. Obviously, don't give him your CC.
 

Polioliolio

Member
Aug 30, 2012
7,206
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I had a somewhat challenging time making my case, but my main complaints were about the overall sameness of the games, the countdown/timer/pay to win mentality that keeps a player coming back at regular intervals to maximize actions, and the lack of real testing of skill or creativity in the gameplay. I told him one or two of these games would be fine, but more than that is an unacceptable amount of time dedicated to what is essentially a casual time wasting activity.

You're right in thinking these games are garbage.

But what would YOUR father or your father's father told you about the games you wanted to play? Just something to think about it.

Instead of arguing about games, I think you both need some healthy screen free time. Find out his other interests and do something fun that isn't related to screens.


My fear about gaming in general... is that games are just way more fun than anything else important. They're addictive, consuming. I know, because I spent my entire childhood focused almost exclusively on games.. Now I'm an adult man and I wish I had more direction toward pursuing my other interests.

Would we have had the insight, creation, invention, etc, of minds like Newton, or Einstein, if gaming products like we have now had existed? These are fundamentally different than non interactive, non video things. I understand that every generation has an obsession, but I believe video games are way too engaging and satisfying. Safe in small amounts, but don't let them become your son's life.

Take your son out to explore the world and help him learn to enjoy other things, like exploration, science, reading, discovery, exercise, etc, before it's too late.
 

Fisty

Member
Jun 26, 2014
7,431
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I see where everyone else is coming from with the "let him play what he wants" mentality. but at the same time, I could see how to a parent the situation is analogous to reading or watching a trash book/tv show vs. something of quality, which is a situation in which I think that people would be much quicker to recommend a proactive push towards quality.

A lot of F2P mobile games are designed specifically for latching onto kids and extracting their parents' money from them. I don't think that it's wrong for a gamer parent to push their kids in another direction in the same way they might push a books or TV shows of greater substance. I'm generally a defender of mobile and F2P, but if I were a parent I don't think I would let my kid get sucked into some slot machine disguised as a kid's game just because I was afraid that I was getting old and out of touch with what kids like these days.

So much this, these games are designed to hook you through reward treadmills and terrible feedback loops... its like they have an immoral psychologist on each of the dev teams as game designer. People say let him do what he wants, but there is absolutely zero substance to alot of these "games"... why try to get a kid into Sesame Street when they already enjoy Jerry Springer?
 

mrklaw

MrArseFace
Jun 10, 2004
59,891
2
0
Windsor, UK
This kind of trash only existed in poker halls when you were young.

if you make it clear that you won't buy premium stuff (and stick to that), then the exploitative parts rapidly become slow grinds which can put the kids off quite easily, except for those games where you can just visit every couple of days to do some housekeeping
 

hobblygobbly

Member
Sep 9, 2014
4,821
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A lot of people's tastes change, leave him to enjoy what he is doing in the moment. People who like to explore things in life tend to change their tastes. When I was younger I played shitty arcade games at the arcade, wasted so much money but it was fun.

I know for sure my tastes have changed a lot, my taste in music, games, books, film and television has changed throughout my life, sometimes returning to other tastes for a while and then deviating again to something new or old. Sure there are some tastes that have always remained with me and probably forever will, but I have other tastes that accompany it which come and go.

His argument is essentially that games are games, fun is fun

He has a valid argument!
 

system11

Member
Jun 28, 2013
3,610
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blog.system11.org
Even Minecraft has fallen more or less off the radar. Last night it came to a bit of a head, when he was particularly whiny when it was time to disconnect for the night.

You have a job to do now, and he's not going to like you for it. The games are designed to be addictive, as anyone who has actually become addicted to any game will tell you, it can be extremely damaging even for an adult.

For a child? Get him off that shit.
 

autoduelist

Member
Aug 30, 2014
13,888
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I had a somewhat challenging time making my case, but my main complaints were about the overall sameness of the games, the countdown/timer/pay to win mentality that keeps a player coming back at regular intervals to maximize actions, and the lack of real testing of skill or creativity in the gameplay. I told him one or two of these games would be fine, but more than that is an unacceptable amount of time dedicated to what is essentially a casual time wasting activity.

You're right.

His argument is essentially that games are games, fun is fun,

He's wrong. Games can be educational, or entertainment, or simply addictive time wasters that feed off our psyches [countdowns/timers/etc].

and that if I'm going to allow him an hour of gaming time each day he should be free to use it how he wants

He's sort of right, except that doesn't break the rule of you deciding what is or is not appropriate.

I got sucked into IOS 'time waster' games a couple years ago. The ones you are talking about feed off our addictions, imo. That's not something I'd want to foster in my kids, either. I'd much rather Minecraft, or whatever - not that you can't be addicted to a game like Minecraft, but that's a different type, not one built around the very principal of addiction [freemium].

Your son will almost certainly freak out if you take it away -- in addition to being an assault on his 'freedom', he's addicted. Right now, he's probably thinking about how long it will be till he needs to do X in this game, and Y in that game. He likely views missing those 'windows' as 'wasting time' [in game], rather than all the time spent thinking about the hamster wheel as 'wasting time'.

You have a hard road in either direction. He's 9, this is still your responsibility.
 

pj

Banned
Jun 8, 2004
7,078
29
1,530
Or am I just being an old fuddy duddy who can't get with the times, ranting about kids these days and their newfangled iWhatzits?

I don't think it's that at all. I've played a lot of them and they're all simple games cynically designed to make you waste time and money. I play candy crush on the train to kill time but I would never spend a dime on it or play it instead of a real game at home.

The comparisons to a slot machine are totally apt
 

kenta

Has no PEINS
Jan 27, 2005
8,490
0
0
You have a job to do now, and he's not going to like you for it. The games are designed to be addictive, as anyone who has actually become addicted to any game will tell you, it can be extremely damaging even for an adult.

For a child? Get him off that shit.
He already said the kid only has an hour of time to play the games each day. Sounds like it's painful when that hour is up, but otherwise that feels like the right approach
 

Impeccable

Member
Feb 18, 2010
11,615
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The wrongful demonization of free to play games by the core gaming audience continues. Wonder when it will change?
 

BigJonsson

Member
Jun 8, 2004
39,651
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1,655


nailed it
 
Get him a Vita. Great classics, PS Mobile games to get him initially interested, a console quality Minecraft... hes gotta choose, but my 10 y/o's ipad collects dust since I bought him a Vita

Buy a Vita for a 9 year old? Uh...ok. I think a 3DS would be more appropriate and the OP has already been steering his son in that direction. Your kid is the exception to the rule; the vast majority of gamers under 13 are playing on 3DS or mobile, not Vita. If he wants to introduce them to PS classics then the Playstation TV would probably be the better option even with compatiblity issues.

OP, I think you should let your kid play what they want.
 

CarbonFire

Member
Nov 20, 2014
2,638
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0
It's good to let kids develop their own tastes in gaming. But I agree with some here about certain mobile games outright exploiting stimulus-response psychology to keep people playing. I wouldn't necessarily say keep him away from all F2P games, especially if there are ones that he plays with his friends. But as with everything, moderation is key.

If it gets bad, you can always take away his ipod for a week or two and see how he responds. Just don't let it go for too long if it looks like it's becoming a problem.

Good on you for being at least aware of your kids activities though OP.
 

synchronicity

Member
Dec 16, 2011
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I let my (11 year-old) son play whatever he wants in his free time. He doesn't find the same appeal in most games I like as he does in Minecraft and many mobile games. I always offer to let him play any of my games he finds interesting, but he usually gravitates towards his own thing. I respect that though. His childhood/life isn't mine, and he is ultimately his own person. Ironically though, he actually did get me into Minecraft at one point though, and I really enjoyed that, lol.
 

Z3M0G

Member
Jan 16, 2012
9,748
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Or am I just being an old fuddy duddy who can't get with the times, ranting about kids these days and their newfangled iWhatzits?

You know... I figured with video games I'd always remain pretty much into whatever is "hip" to the young kids... but if kids of that age are really steering towards mobile games to that degree, and this is where things are headed, that is something I will likely never follow the path of personally.
 

Fisty

Member
Jun 26, 2014
7,431
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340
if you make it clear that you won't buy premium stuff (and stick to that), then the exploitative parts rapidly become slow grinds which can put the kids off quite easily, except for those games where you can just visit every couple of days to do some housekeeping

Kids can do the most pointless, wasteful things you can imagine for as long you let them. As a parent, youre supposed to guide them toward more productive activities. Sure he doesnt need to force Mario Galaxy over shovelware, but hes certainly responsible for what his kid does with his free time.
 

bomblord1

Banned
Sep 6, 2014
9,616
2
0
I completely agree that you should discourage a child from doing nothing but playing free to play mobile games in all his free time.

I disagree that the alternative should just be other video games though.
 

Boss Doggie

all my loli wolf companions are so moe
Jul 1, 2008
72,865
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Give him hours on when to play, and avoid giving him access to cards. Otherwise, let him enjoy stuff, but at the same time, suggest titles.
 

Fisty

Member
Jun 26, 2014
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Buy a Vita for a 9 year old? Uh...ok. I think a 3DS would be more appropriate and the OP has already been steering his son in that direction. Your kid is the exception to the rule; the vast majority of gamers under 13 are playing on 3DS or mobile, not Vita. If he wants to introduce them to PS classics then the Playstation TV would probably be the better option even with compatiblity issues.

OP, I think you should let your kid play what they want.

So he has an iPad, but Vita isnt appropriate? Touchscreen for games, youtube, netflix... Sly 1-4, multiple Ratchet and Clank games, Jak and Daxter games, Minecraft, Littlebigplanet, Joe Danger, Kick and Fennick... ok I could literally name age appropriate games all day. Id say your argument is ridiculous but you dont have one.
 

JohnnyHustler

Member
Feb 25, 2013
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You limit time, so you're doing your part there. Also, as long as you don't let him rack up a big bill (shut in app purchases off if you haven't already), and the game isn't age inappropriate, I don't see a problem.

Now, if your child becomes belligerent when it's time to shut down, or because you won't give him money to advance, then that's another issue. My 11 year old did that at first with a couple of freemium games, but uninstalling the game and keeping him from installing it again helped him learn that he would have to just deal with the fact that I wasn't paying so he could advance. Once he figured that out, I let him play it again.

Now, he plays a variety of games - some mobile f2p, some standard games.
 

DeaviL

Banned
Sep 11, 2013
3,184
0
0
Belgium
if you make it clear that you won't buy premium stuff (and stick to that), then the exploitative parts rapidly become slow grinds which can put the kids off quite easily, except for those games where you can just visit every couple of days to do some housekeeping

You underestimate the patience of a child my good sir.
Plus, the waiting period is probably why he has so many different games.
 

Dr. Kaos

Banned
Jun 22, 2013
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Some people are conflating Mobile and f2p when this is not about mobile games at all. F2p can be terrible in any medium, and usually is.

Same way I wouldn't let my kid eat garbage food, I also wouldn't let them fill their brains with garbage games because I think games can have a big effect on someone's brain, especially growing up.

A simple rule of thumb is to disallow any game that allows in-app purchases, not because my kid would have a credit card, but because it means the developer is now incentivized to make the game into a slot machine in disguise.

I simply can't imagine those sort of games are as good for your brain as good old pacman, street fighter, or Counter Strike, where it's all about skill.
 

jrcbandit

Member
Nov 28, 2010
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As long as the game is age appropriate there's no reason to try to force other games upon the kid. Just don't let him spend any money on these freemium games because they are all designed around getting addictive personalities to spend cash...
 

Tadpole

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May 22, 2014
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Those f2p mobile games ARE today's mario/sonic/mega man/etc. the gaming landscape is just so different than it was in the 80s and 90s. SO MUCH MORE CHOICE. You can download games to your mobile device on a whim, and there's so damn many. You can enjoy all these great indie titles. You can d/l a AAA title to your console. There's just so much choice, I don't know how kids pick anything. That's just the way it is. If he's interested in mobile at the moment, that's fine. Maybe his interest changes or maybe they don't.
 

EhoaVash

Member
Aug 20, 2012
4,517
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455
Hah my 7year old brother does the same free to play games or watching some streamer playing the latest fad in indie horror games on YouTube.

Tried to get him to play Mario kart with me but he never wants to anymore :(
 

Fbh

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Dec 6, 2013
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Don't take this the wrong way but you sound a bit like a modern version of those oldfashoned dads with that "Modern generations are wrong and the only correct way to be a kid is doing the things I did growing up" mentality".

If he enjoys those types of games I say just let him play them. As long as you set clear gaming hours and encourage him to do other activities I don't see anything wrong here.
Half of the reason he enjoys them so much is probably the fact he can play with his friends. As he gets older he will probably swap to other type of online games
 

ShinUltramanJ

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Jan 21, 2011
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You underestimate the patience of a child my good sir.
Plus, the waiting period is probably why he has so many different games.

You're not kidding.

Back when we got our first iTouch I bought Super Monkeyball thinking it would be great. The controls worked terribly, and I just gave up on the whole thing because it was far too frustrating. My daughter played the shit out it, and completed all of the stages lol
 

RPGCrazied

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Oct 14, 2007
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Like others have said, let him play games he wants to, unless ultra violent or something. What you don't want to do is store a credit card on the device, or give him access to one. That would be a bad idea.
 

stuminus3

Member
Nov 29, 2006
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When I was 9-10, I spent my allowed gaming time on things like Super Mario Kart, a well balanced game that improved my manual dexterity and reflexes. It helped improve my abstract reasoning and computer processing skills, two things which help me in my career to this day. I wouldn't have that same ability if, instead, I was mindlessly touching Canadough until the game makes me wait, so I fire up another F2P shovelware app and mindlessly click currency until the first game allows me to "play" again. Not saying every mobile game is like that, but OP specifically said "freemium shovelware".
Sorry, but I think this is terribly presumptuous. The things my 4 and 6 year old play on iPad today are leagues more advanced than the kinds of games that even existed when I was their age. And you're all fooling yourselves if you somehow think Street Fighter or Mario Kart is 'better' for them.

OP is right if he's concerned about his kid playing too much videogames, but that's a general concern.
 

I Wanna Be The Guy

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!
Apr 4, 2013
13,460
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Let him play what he wants. If he is having fun, isn't that all the matters?

Today he has fun playing freemium garbage. Tomorrow he's having fun taking drugs. Where do we draw the line? I for one would make sure my kids are being entertained the right way. Get him a Vita.
 

Christof

Neo Member
Aug 3, 2014
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Suggesting games is not a bad idea by the way.



I think the idea is that a person is enjoying watching video games rather than playing them.

this post made my think about how when I was young I spent almost all my time watching my older brother play. Even when I would nominally be playing the computer he would some how often end up controlling the mouse.