Club Penguin Anonymous

My son Nicholas, age 5, recently discovered the internet.

Last week I got him an account at Club Penguin, a website for kids. Since then, he has spent hours at a time on Club Penguin.

He refuses to come to meals. He throws tantrums if forced to stop. Even when enticed with activities he used to find enjoyable, like terrorizing the cat, he remains fixated on the computer screen.

I was shocked yesterday when he asked me to cancel his Club Penguin account.

“Why?” I asked. “Are you tired of it already?”

“No, I love it,” he replied. “It is just that once I start, I can’t get off of it.”


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  1. Julie Parr says:

    How did you train your child to have so much self-regulatory control? We have a 6 year old with a club penguin addiction and we’re not even sure we believe that this kind of statement from a 5 year old is humanly possible from a developmental perspective.

    By the way, I was just wondering yesterday how many adults have club penguin accounts.

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  2. Brooke says:

    Kudos to young Nicholas for doing something that’s difficult for anyone of any age to do: realizing something is causing a problem and doing what’s necessary to solve it.

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  3. AaronS says:

    What a wise son you have.

    Someone said that perfect abstinence is easier than perfect moderation. I agree.

    I have, at times, ended my internet subscription, took out the television, and so forth. Why? Because like your son, I discerned that I was wasting precious time.

    I, too, have a young son. And if I am not careful, I can spend HOURS surfing the internet, checking the news sits every few minutes for more recent news…or sit and watch TV for mindless hours…all while I have son that would love nothing more than “a story” from daddy, or to “whup up” (to wrestle).

    THAT is the greatest use of my time in this life. How dare I waste it.

    And when I see that I am not acting in moderation, I get rid of it until I think I CAN act in moderation.

    Again, what a wise son you have.

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  4. StacieG says:

    My daughter is the same way.

    She’ll get her Club Penguin membership, play it hard for awhile and then ask to have the membership discontinued.
    She says she gets bored and realizes she’s missing out on ‘real-life’. Same goes for my son (it’s World of Warcraft for him).
    Me, I like a good book and a cup of tea.

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  5. Bob W. says:

    Wow, I went from “hey cool, my 5 year old would love that!” to “oh well, never mind” in about three sentences.

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  6. Ryan Jerz says:

    Club Penguin is a great place for kids, but we had the same problem. My daughter would never get off, and lost some computer privileges because of it on occasion. It’s a great way to teach kids about online interaction with some good safeguards, but it can quickly become the kid version of World of Warcraft.

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  7. C. Coop says:

    I almost don’t believe the story, except I know from experience all economist’s kids are weird.

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  8. Mayur says:

    I am impressed by your son’s reply … I have never heard any kid giving such a reply.

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