The middle path, and the ‘push and pull’
My wife felt that taking the middle path of allowing him to play for a certain number of hours a week would probably be the best one. To her, regulation was not about ‘no use’, instead, it was about ‘appropriate use’. She set clear limits based on a negotiated agreement with our son. Of course there was an element of ‘push’ and pull’ - sometimes he would go beyond and would need to be reminded. Sometimes he would concede, at times my wife would concede. I have to confess that observing this strategy, I realised that video game regulation could actually be a wonderful opportunity to develop self awareness and self control in a child.
Introduce them to other activities
Children love the outdoors, they especially love doing anything social. If their parents take them for hikes, museums, theatre, vacations, and that too, with other families, kids generally prefer ‘social’ outdoor activities to playing video games. I have always taken my children out as much as possible. Ever since they were young, we developed several interests that were outside our home, in places where there was no access to games, and even if there was, the children always preferred group outdoor activities.
Sports can be more fun than video games
My son loves sports, he loves football the most, but loves almost every sport under the sun. Since he was young we played a lot of sports together. And we watched sports - both inside home and we went for real games at stadiums. He really enjoyed playing video games but preferred outdoor sports. Sports provided us with numerous opportunities to talk to each other, to discuss strategies deployed by the best players, to talk about their mental and physical toughness, discuss athletes dedication to health and nutrition, their work ethic, etc.