Tag Archives: gaming

Teenage online gamer Gollum Boy gets up BEFORE lunch!

Father of teenage online gamer and Wicked Stepmother could hardly believe their ears.

There were movements from the upstairs habitat of said online gamer. Sounds of teenage person getting up. But the clock said it was still morning. How could this be, especially on a Sunday?

Gollum Boy, our teenage online gamer does not appear before afternoon as a rule. ( There are other posts about Gollum Boy. If you want to go back to the beginning here is the link.)

online gamer

symptoms of addiction

I’m the Wicked Stepmother. I’m the one who has had the reputation for being the negative voice in the household.

I worry that our teenage online gamer is making unhealthy choices, sitting up there in the dark, playing these games for hour after hour.

On weekends we usually see him only when he’s hungry.

What could have made him change his habits this last Sunday morning?

The League of Legends Championship final.

This is what he was watching –

http://bbc.in/1wjdC7Z

And he continued until the end, only slipping downstairs for sustenance to keep him going.

online game final

picture from BBC

 

There’s no harm in watching your team play sport, even if nowadays they’re calling it e-sport which only involves having a fast hand and fingers. I understand the attraction. These team players are as much  gamers’ heroes as football fans’ favourite players.

But, I think, most football fans have a life outside of football, don’t they? They can talk about other things, can’t they?

Our online gamer was still at it at 2am this morning. He’d done a 14 hour shift. Sounds carry at night when the house is quiet and I heard him simply shifting position on his sofa. (His loft room is directly above our bedroom)

I pulled the plug on our internet connection.

Biological parent is backing me up today. The plug comes out at 11pm every night from now on, school holidays and all.

What would you do?

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Wicked Stepmother working to rule.

Wicked Stepmother hasn’t posted for a while.

She’s been a little under the weather. These long French school holidays are a strain, particularly when coping with complications from CRPS – you know- the shortage of sleep, the constant pain etc.

stepmother is sick

looking blackly

So.

Wicked Stepmother was at the end of her tether

with Gaming person who lives upstairs, otherwise known as Gollum Boy who has had close to three months off school. I’ll repeat that – THREE months off school. All right then, two and a half. One is prone to exaggeration when one is at the end of aforementioned tether.

None of his chores were being completed.

emptying dishwasher

little kids can do it – picture from mirror.co.uk

A job even little kids can do – GB doesn’t get up in the morning so if you need clean plates and cups etc. for lunch (as you do) you have to empty the dishwasher yourself.

He’d conveniently forget to take out the trash.

(We have three collections weekly here in France. During very hot summers you need non recyclables to be gone. Fast.)

taking out trash for stepmother

smelly stuff!

See, little kids can do it. GB did it when he was little. But now he’s GB. He’s only interested in online gaming and as we’ve already seen, gamers are cuckoos in your house, lady.

They take. They never offer to give.

Biological parent (BP) and Wicked Stepmother (WS) grew tired of always having to ask GB to do his chores.

He refused point blank to get up before his preferred 1pm or even later. He refused point blank to help with bringing in supermarket shopping and putting it away.

Yesterday he said he was inviting 7 of his friends to come round here for the last day of school summer vacation. They would like to use the pool and possibly stay for something to eat.

Wicked Stepmother refused point blank.

‘No,’ she said. ‘And the reason is this. Since my incapacitation last December when I was hit by a car, you have shown so little consideration for your father and me.  This morning I have yet again emptied the dishwasher for you and washed all your clothes.

Throughout the whole of the summer holidays you have offered to do nothing. And yet you still expect to get what you want. It isn’t happening any more. Neither is your ironing. I don’t want to wear your tee shirts. You do. You iron them. This is what is called working to rule.

worktoruleWicked Stepmother signing out for now.

And if you think WS is being over the top in her treatment of online gamer – watch this video of what happens to some  gaming addicts in China.

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Cuckoos in the supermarket.

Cuckoos are everywhere. You can see them even in the supermarket. Standing around, doing their cuckoo things which don’t amount to much.

What is a cuckoo?

A cuckoo is a thief. Let me make this quite clear. Cuckoos steal from you.

cuckoo in the nest

cuckoos get you to do all the work

They steal your time. They steal your food. They get you to do all the work.

If you’ve got gamers in the house, people, you’ve got cuckoos.

Human Cuckoos.

Gamers are cuckoos in your house, Madam. Gamers who are obsessed with reaching the next game level at the expense of doing anything else are thieves in your castle, Sir.

They take and they take and they take and they give nothing back, because every ounce of energy they possess is going into the effort of gaming. So, you hardly ever see them except at meal times when they hover about, scanning the hob and oven for evidence that you are going to feed them soon. Certainly, you will never see them when there are tasks to be done about your home/castle: they simply cannot tear themselves away from their latest urgency which may be as serious as needing three more life enhancers (or whatever their game calls them) in order to protect their body shields. Tish!

Do I sound full of sarcasm? I hope so.

Worse, they can carry their precious games with them wherever they go.

Understand this. Gamers don’t want to be with you. Indeed, most of the time you are in their company (sort of) they are ignoring the fact that you are a human being who enjoys contact with other human beings. Most of the time they are ignoring the fact that THEY are human beings. They want to live in their virtual world. It’s more exciting there than here in the real one.

accessories for cuckoos

cuckoos’ accessories

They are afraid to be separated from their preciouses. I made that word up. Preciouses. With apologies to Tolkein. Regular readers of my Wicked Stepmother Chronicles will be aware of my feelings about teenage online gamers who I call Gollum Boys.

Maybe it’s because, deep down, gamers don’t like the real world and its real contact with real people. Maybe they have personality issues which makes them shrink from actually talking to people. Perhaps they have deep-seated fears about inadequacies that they can hide behind a facade of knowledge re: newest cheat codes.

Well, if they didn’t have issues to begin with, they will have by the time they’ve moved on to the next upgrade of Call of Duty.

Think I’m being too scathing?

Hold on. Look at this. See what I found in the supermarket.

supermarket cuckoos

giving mum a helping hand?

These guys were blocking the end of an aisle while Mommy did the shopping. She kept coming back to drop things in the trolley. The girl to their right was also playing on her hand held, but I wasn’t quick enough with my camera to get her in the frame. I had to snatch this photo quickly before other shoppers got in my way.

They are not teenagers. This is what teenage gamers turn into. Numpties.

Ladies and gentlemen, these are grown up CUCKOOS looking bloody stupid, standing there for all to see just how bloody stupid they look, letting someone else do all the work. Mommy is just as much to blame, letting them treat her this way. Saying it’s easier just to let your family gamers get on with it and stay out of your hair is just an excuse. Mommies and Daddies, you have allowed your offspring to turn into . . .

Pillocks!

If Wicked Stepmother had been their Mommy she’d have left them there. Gone home and made herself dinner for one.

Wouldn’t you?

The Wicked Stepmother and school holidays. 10 WEEKS!

WS=Wicked Stepmother   GB=Gollum Boy, the online gamer  BP=Biological Parent

School holidays have begun. The only students attending collège this week are doing final year oral exams in preparation for lycée next September.

wicked stepmother picnic place

rock formations at Moureze

GB has one more year in collège. He handed in all his text books on Tuesday. He said it was painful. Wicked Stepmother thought he meant he was heartbroken to see them for the last time. (Joke)

No, he said, it was painful because they were so heavy.

On Wednesday he floated off, sans text books, for  the morning bus and probably floated back at midday to make his own bacon sandwich for lunch. We weren’t at home to witness. Himself and I were entertaining visitors and actually having a rather nice picnic in the hills above Clermont Hérault with a large ready-roasted pintade from the market, tomatoes, cheese and crusty bread. GB would not eat this fare and, anyway, picnics are for boring old farts.

pintade for wicked stepmother lunch

pintade is a guinea fowl

When we arrived home, the kitchen bore the evidence of GB’s culinary efforts, complete with tomato sauce-streaked plate left where he’d finished with it. GB was where we expected him to be: glued to the X-Box, the 10 week holiday grin already secure upon his face. (We noticed it when he came down to see if we’d brought back any chocolate biscuits.)

His final day at collège this semester was Thursday last. The grin grew even wider.

‘What are you going to do with all this time off?’ said BP.

‘Hmmph!’ GB replied.

Nothing more was said at the time.

On Friday, GB spent all day gaming.

gameaddict

 

On Saturday, GB spent all day gaming.

gaming addict

did you know such organisations exist?

On Sunday, there was a sea change.

Oh, yes.

Wicked Stepmother had nothing to do with it and remained, her own thin grin firmly in place, out of sight.

Biological Parent put the question again.

‘What are you going to do with all this time off?’

No answer. Not even a humph.

‘If you can’t come up with ideas of your own, GB, I’ll think of some for you.’

No answer.

‘I’d like you to come down at three this afternoon and help me in the garden.’

Three o’ clock came and went.

deadline

three o’ clock deadline

BP went to the garage. He walked over to the electricity control box.

power control

power control switches

Our power controls are different in France from what we were used to in the UK. We don’t have ring circuits here. Each room can be isolated by the switches on the main control box.

At 3:15pm last Sunday afternoon, two rooms were blacked out.

At 3:15pm last Sunday afternoon, the plug was literally (almost) pulled on activities at the top of the house.

At 3:15pm last Sunday afternoon, there was no X-Box, no YouTube live streamed games/tutorials from Syndicate the #1 UK gamer. The lights were out. The sockets were dead.

BP waited in the garden where GB’s old bike awaited cleaning and maintenance before we sell it.

Power was not restored until 6pm. So, GB still had minimum 8 hours game playing from when he got up to lights out. I think it’s way too much.

Wicked Stepmother plans to show this post to BP, especially the picture about 10,000 hours spent by the age of twenty-one. Isn’t that such a waste of a young life?

What do you think?

Learning the hard way. Is it wicked to let it happen?

learning the hard way

sometimes you have to learn the hard way

I’m the one who is supposed to be wicked. I’m the stepmother, the one who might not have the child’s best interests at heart. The one whose motives are always going to be suspect.

I’m having one of those days. Stepmothers will know what I mean. Ladies, if you’re contemplating becoming a stepmother, better read up about it first. Especially if the ex-wife is a late wife. You are taking on more than you know. This isn’t the place to go into too much detail, much as I would like to. The bereaved child is a very serious subject and deserves more than a post on a blog. In any case, the specific issues of being stepmother to a bereaved child are not what I wish to address here. I have something much more generalized in mind.

A Facebook friend recently shared a piece about the benefits of allowing children to be bored. Some university prof had just come out with something I’ve been saying for years. If your ten-year-old is bored, let her fix it. It’s her problem, not yours. Wow! Somebody got paid to write this down?

I remember a time when Gollum Boy was little and in a strop. He wasn’t getting his own way. Father had other things to do just at that time and couldn’t do whatever it was young son wanted. Young son pouted. Young son wailed. Young son went into a tantrum because he’d learned that tantrums usually worked for him. But, on this occasion, I was in charge.

The tantrum was building into meltdown because father wasn’t available. I said, ‘Why don’t you find something to do that makes you feel better than how you feel right now?’

‘I’m BORED,’ he shouted.

‘I’m busy,’ I said and left him to it.

I went to the kitchen and clattered about doing a bit of washing dishes etc. When I went back to the living room, young son had found something to do. AND SOLVED HIS OWN PROBLEM.

Now we’re getting to the crux of this.

Here’s what I think: if you ALWAYS fix things for your kids, they never learn how to fix it themselves. In the case of the university professor and current thinking on childhood boredom, the fixing of the problem by parent figure doesn’t allow the child to use his/her own creativity. Eventually, according to the prof, children may lose the ability to use their creativity. They might forget how to imagine. So, by fixing the boredom problem, you could be doing more harm than good.

Back to this morning. As you know, the young son in my Wicked Stepmother Chronicles is now Gollum Boy, addicted to online gaming and not wanting to do much else. If you’ve read my previous posts, you will also know that we have been having an ongoing battle between the three of us which came to a head when Gollum Boy almost passed out at school.

You have probably also worked out my methods by now, too. It doesn’t take an expert tactician to see that I have employed an attack and immediate retreat modus operandi whenever these issues crop up. I have my two penny worth, say what I think needs to be said and retire from the theatre of battle to let biological parent and teenage son sort it out between them.

Still with me? Good. Here it is, then. School holidays are over. Back to school. On the third day, Gollum Boy is too tired to get up in time to catch the school bus. The last time this happened, biological parent (BP) drove to school and arrived at the same time as the bus so errant teenager didn’t get into trouble for being late. On his return, the BP said,

‘I’ve told him. This is the last time I’m getting him out of it. Next time he misses the bus, he’ll have to catch the later one and face the music when he’s late.’

Guess what happened this morning.

The alarm must not have gone off was the first excuse. There followed a volley of further excuses as BP hurriedly got into his shoes and rushed out the door to drive Gollum Boy to school.

I was waiting for BP’s return. I reminded him what he’d said the last time this happened. But I added more.

‘You’re as good as stealing from him,’ I said.

‘Don’t be dramatic.’

‘Don’t be in denial,’ I came back quick as a flash. ‘You need to hear this. You’re stealing from him. You’re robbing him of opportunities to learn from his own mistakes. We both know why he couldn’t get up this morning. He NEEDS to experience the discomfort of being in trouble for missing the start of classes.’

robber

stealing away your child’s chance to learn the hard way?

I went further. See, I know what I’d do if I were dealing with one of my own or one of yours or anybody’s child I was taking care of.

There would be an X-Box ban tonight. A laptop ban tonight. A tablet ban tonight. Smartphone ban tonight.

Actions and consequences, junior. We all have to face them. That would be my message.

But I’m the wicked stepmother and I’m getting tired of being the one with the tough love message.

Please feel free to add your comments. Your email remains private.

I’d love to hear what some of you think.

The online gamer, the father and the wicked stepmother

online gaming doctor

switched on young doctor

After taking the online gamer, Gollum Boy, to see the doctor,  we have witnessed a few changes around the house:

online gamer's breakfast

from ‘a daring adventure’ blog

+ the online gamer has been getting up in time for breakfast.

+ the father of online gamer has been making sure that online gamer has ceased online gaming by 10pm each night after his 2 hour session.

+ the partner of father of online gamer aka the wicked stepmother (me) has been making sure that their efforts are rewarded with appropriate amounts of appropriately age-sensitive (not too babyish) praise and encouragement to maintain this high standard of determination to take on board the recommendations made by the switched-on young doctor so that teenage online gamer can learn that self-control, personal hygiene etc. etc. are his own  responsibilities.

(Takes deep breath) That was all one sentence. I’ve noticed, lately, that whenever I begin to delve into the realms of everyday matters and how it is we ever manage to live with one another at all, I am swept away in a maelstrom. Thoughts begin circling, spiralling. Too many to deal with. A great whirlpool of them. They bring so much clutter in their wake, these thoughts. Baggage from former lives. Monsters and goblins. Shadows and shades. (No, I haven’t been reading Gothic tales or Joanne Harris)

maelstrom

whirlpools pull you in and down

The truth is we’re all haunted by what has gone before. You can’t ever really get away from it. Sometimes it’s good stuff you wouldn’t want to lose anyway. You keep those good things close by as you sail on. They are your stars to steer by.

But the bad stuff brings squalls. There’s always something from way back that’s never been properly dealt with, because you’ve been too busy dealing with what is current, what is happening now. Behind your back, those old pirates start rattling their cutlasses again, threatening mutiny on your good ship doing okay just now, thank you.

Just when you thought things were on an even keel, they have a way of swashbuckling back up again to bite you on the backside. And they always come when you know you should have expected it.

femalepirate

female pirate

So I shall keep my weather eye out for approaching storms. I shall be prepared. Them there scallies ain’t creeping up on me this time. Look, I’ve got my own pirate outfit and a big bread knife.

Avast there, me hearties, school holidays on the horizon. Splice the mainbrace! Mine’s a Merlot. Sorry, yes, you already knew that – you’ve been reading my posts.

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online gaming by the wicked stepmother

gaming

online gaming is addictive

Do you know how much time teenage boys spend gaming? Don’t ask one of them. They wouldn’t be able to answer. They wouldn’t know. They haven’t got a clue.

Why would they want to time themselves gaming when it’s their whole life? It would be like asking them to tell you how many times a day they breathe. As far as Gollum Boys are concerned, (see earlier post) there is no need to ask that question: it’s irrelevant. Gaming is what they do when they’re at home. They’re not causing any trouble in the household, are they? They’re not running around the place mouthing off and smashing your best china. They’re not kicking the dog. But, they’ve turned into Gollum Boys, sitting in the dark, coveting their precious gaming machines as though their lives depended on them. They scout all the latest technology and obsess over the best gaming monitor reviews, hoping to one day have the latest gear.

wickedstepmother

one of Disney’s wicked stepmother images

It was kind of funny when I posted about the situation in March. The dark humour of it was my way of dealing with things I can’t change. This is where the wicked stepmother notion comes into play. I have a theory about stepkids: they get away with far more than your own kids did. You want to know why? Because you’re trying so damned hard to avoid that wicked epithet. As a result, stuff you don’t agree with happens in the house. You don’t approve of Gollum Boy spending all that time upstairs alone with his online friends, but you’ve allowed yourself to become powerless. You’re not his real mother/father. You can’t tell him what to do. So you’ve taken a step back and then another to avoid having that serious talk with biological parent. Previous serious talks have got you nowhere. So, you’ve been keeping the peace and trying to find some way to strike a balance in the house.

Now, it’s not so funny. Gollum Boy has passed out at school. Fainted. Collapsed at his work station. Biological parent is taking more notice now. You bite your tongue to avoid the I told you so scenario and you support the decision to make a doctor’s appointment.

gaming addict

symptoms of gaming addiction

Hallelujah! This young doctor in our little French village is very switched on. He weighs up the situation immediately. He WEIGHS Gollum Boy. He looks at his skin and hair and hands.

The doctor is saying everything Gollum Boy needs to hear. I’m trying not to look delighted.

You must not miss meals. The doctor tells him. You must get up in the mornings and have breakfast. Yes, young man, even at weekends and during school holidays. You are tired in the mornings because you are not getting enough good sleep. At night. When you are designed to sleep. You must limit your gaming to 2 hours each day. That is all. You must get out in the fresh air and take some exercise. Eat well. Fruit and vegetables, young man. Not always burgers. Twenty two euro. Thank you very much.

I could have kissed him. The doctor. Twenty two euro well spent. Biological parent can’t shoot this messenger down with a volley of excuses. Gollum Boy is making himself ill. And biological parent is to blame for allowing it to happen. So am I. Move over Disney. You ain’t seen nothing yet.

Did I tell you I used to be a teacher? Thirty-two sixteen-year-olds in my classes? And I’ve let this happen with one fourteen-year-old? I don’t care any more about being thought wicked. I’m stepping in. Close your mouth and put your eyes back where they belong. Wind your neck in. I said move over.

The next few weeks are going to be very interesting.

Comments are welcome. Please be kind.      wickedstep2

Teenage Gollums

We have a teenage Gollum boy in the house. That is to say, we have a teenage boy who lives upstairs. We hardly ever see him. He appears at meal times and hovers like ectoplasm, usually in doorways. He is very grey. If 50 Shades of it wasn’t a sex-romp novel, our teenage person who lives upstairs would be the epitome of 50 shades of grey. His face is grey. His hands are grey. The back of his neck is a shade of grey you wouldn’t believe.

This is because he never sees daylight. Like Gollum. Outdoors is an alien concept for teenage Gollums. Why would they ever need to venture into fresh air? Everything they need is, literally, at their fingertips.

IN my teenage years, I read E.M. Forster’s short story The Machine Stops.

themachinestops

E.M.Forster’s chilling vision of the future

First published in 1909, The Machine Stops paints a chilling vision of the role of technology in people’s lives. It’s one of those stories I’ve never forgotten. In this case, it isn’t the characters I remember; it’s the imagery Forster weaves into the plot and setting. The story is a stark warning against humans placing too much reliance on the machines that serve them.

E.M.Forster has his characters living alone in beehive cell-like conditions. They have video/audio connections and everything is at their fingertips, at the flick of a switch or a push of a button. They have lost their teeth and hair because they don’t need them any more. If you haven’t read it, it’s available for free as a download.

And so, Forster’s remarkable prophecy in 1909, regarding the role of technology in our lives brings me back to our teenage Gollum who lives upstairs in his own cell-like conditions. He hardly moves from the one position, hunched over his ‘precious’, his tapering fingers tapping away in the dark.

He’ll probably never read Forster. It’s so sad . . .

gollum