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  1. #1
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    Default No sleep after seeing horror game

    My 10 year old son saw the game five nights at Freddy’s at school and now can’t sleep, this game is like a horror movie & I don’t know how to get him past it. The school has blocked it on their computers now but the damage has been done. His anxiety before school has gone through the roof as well, with tears most mornings. Any suggestions how I can get this game out of his head? We have tried to explain its animation and not real etc I’m sleeping in his room each night so he gets some sleep.

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    Big hugs, I know the game as when DD was in Grade 2 she was asking to play it as 'all her friends' were. I looked it up and was shocked that anyone would let a child under 12 even look at it!

    I taught a grade 3 class the year after and one of the children was so traumatised by playing it once they would be nearly in tears if another child so much as said the name of the game. Of course, some little $#%&s would try to taunt this child but I was zero tolerance. They'd say "but it's not that bad, blah blah etc" but I didn't care, its a scary game and has no place being discussed at school.

    I struggled because while the school network blocked the game, kids could still access still shots of the characters with a Google search. So I had to stay pretty vigilant and the child knew they could always come to me if someone had searched it. Later in the year another child saw the game at their cousin's and again had almost the same reaction.

    So firstly, your child's reaction is well within the realms of typical, especially if the child is also an anxious sort (like my kids).

    It will take time for him to get over it. If it is persisting and not getting at all better after a month or so, I would seek the help of a psychologist. Things you could try is looking at videos of how (non-scary) video games are made, to really reinforce the 'not real' idea. Also, find something that he can replace the scary mental images with when they come into his head. At first this may involve him actually watching a particular show or video each time, but then he may be able to pull this up in his head after a while to replace the scary images. At school he could get a 'good' character keyring from a game/show/movie to keep in his pocket, so if he feels stressed he can hold it in his pocket without drawing any attention to himself.

    I'd also make the teacher aware. I know sometimes kids are making some pop culture reference and it's so hard to keep up I'm not sure if I should be telling them to stop or not. So I always welcome parents or kids letting me know something isn't appropriate. Please don't let them dismiss it based on the fact that lots of kids play the game (lots of kids are allowed to play GTA too, it doesn't make it OK!) it is full of jump scares and as creepy as a Stephen King novel! Your child may want to work out a discrete 'cue' to give the teacher when feeling scared as it becomes very 'uncool' to talk about these things at 10yo. That way the teacher can be on board helping as well. Best of luck.

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    Thank you so much, that is really helpful.


 

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