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Everything should have a pause button

I call my son for dinner, but there is no answer. He hears me (I know he can hear me, because he is sitting a few feet away), but I am not sure if my words actually register. I take a deep breath and call him again. Still no response.

I stand right next to him. He is playing a video game. This is why he doesn't answer me. To him, my voice is just background noise and the game is all that matters. I am something that can be ignored.

I take another deep breath and put my hand on his shoulder. I ask him to pause the game and am met with a desperate reply, "There isn't a pause button on this! Just let me finish this round."

What? No pause button? What kind of a dumb game is he playing?

It's painful enough as a parent to vie for your child's attention when they are eyeballs-deep into an electronic device. It is about a zillion times more annoying when you ask them to turn it off and they ask to finish whatever level they are on. Multiply all that by an even larger number when you hear that there is no pause button.

Because now there are two options:
  • Let them finish the round. (But this means you will have to stand there and make sure they don't forget that they are supposed to stop and that they actually finish after this round.)
  • Or make them turn it off in the middle of whatever they are doing, which will earn you dagger stares throughout dinner.

To all video game designers: I hate that you took away the ability to pause a game.

Like many parents, I use screen time as either a reward or a negative consequence for my son. He gets so sucked into his games. And I hate that they have such a strong hold on him. But I know that there will always be some type of technology that captures his attention more than I do. I don't like it but I am working to be better at accepting it.

None of that helps me with getting him to the dinner table faster. Is it too much to ask that he only play games that can be paused?

What video game is your child currently obsessed with? Tell me in the comments.

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