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Rage against the machine

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My terrible teenage two

Karen is a mum of mixed sex, 15-year-old twins. And knows it. Each week she shares with us what her teenage two have been up to.

'My son had to prepare a speech for his GCSE English. The theme was Room 101.

"Just think of something that drives you mad," I suggested. 

"That's the trouble," he moaned. "The only thing that makes me really angry is when people score sweaty goals on Fifa."

Now, I'm not sure what a sweaty goal is, but apparently it's not in the spirit of the game. And, now he mentions it, I have noticed that he quite often comes through from playing his Xbox in a particularly foul mood. Testosterone and temper are at a particular high at the moment. Having spent a lot of his allowance building up a credible team, he keeps getting beaten by squads which, on paper, shouldn't measure up. There's been a bit of swearing, followed by a bit of stomping and slamming things around. Then you hear him go outside and whack the cricket ball which hangs from a tree in our garden.  

On returning inside he tends to stay off the Xbox for the rest of the evening. To me this shows a degree of self-regulation which is encouraging. He's recognising that he's reached boiling point, gone outside to calm down and then made his own decision not to return to the game. Even so, it's a bit worrying that he gets this het up. (But then I have seen his Uncle John - nearly 50 - have quite a hissy fit playing Monopoly at Christmas.)  

When we bought the Xbox for his birthday a couple of years ago, it came with certain conditions, 1 of which was a total ban on Call of Duty.  I just didn't feel comfortable with the idea of war as entertainment, particularly while so many of our young soldiers, some still teenagers themselves, were risking their lives for real in Afghanistan. And, having witnessed first hand how angry he gets over a game of virtual football, I can't help worrying what effect war games are having on our teenage boys' psyches. Surely hours spent day in day out killing and maiming must be doing some lasting damage?

In the end I did find out what a sweaty goal was on Fifa as he decided to write his speech on it. It was creative, articulate and funny...so perhaps I needn't worry that his brain cells are being sucked into a gaming vortex. If it was down to me I would flush the Xbox down the chute into Room 101, along with his sister's phone, reality TV shows, Twitter, Facebook and all the other garbage that seems to occupy their growing minds. That's what makes me really mad.

Where's that cricket ball...'

Do you worry about the computer games your teens play? Tell us in our comments section below or on Facebook.

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Karen's other blog posts...

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