Some of my readers will know that I have an autistic son, who is now 10 years old and in recent months we have seen some concerning behaviors from him, which potentially can land him in legal trouble.
About three weeks ago, we caught him playing his PS Vita in his room at nearly 1am when he should have been sleeping, which earned him a 10 day ban from video games. That particular evening he went to bed early of his own accord, which is a rare occurrence, and in hindsight should have been a red flag. He had been feeling tired during the day, which would correlate with being up playing video games.
Stupidly just days before his ban would have been over on Christmas day, when he would get more games/gadgets, he decided to spend $11 of our money by purchasing several apps on his Roku box without permission. I was ready to get on the phone to Roku and complain about allowing purchases without a pin number when my son admitted that he had been inputting my pin to buy apps/games.
This resulted in what some may consider a harsh punishment, but he was not allowed to use his new Kurio Extreme tablet and Disney Infinity 2.0 game which we had bought him for Christmas, he will now have to wait until New Years Day to use these two presents. I am hoping that having to wait for his new gadgets will make him adjust his behavior in future. It’s not like he was unaware of what he was doing, he was more concerned with how I found out about his misdemeanors than feeling any remorse.
Going back to the late night PS Vita playing, it makes sense now, having my pin would allow him to override restrictions I had set. Obviously, I have changed my pin number on all devices. There was no real harm done this time, but weeks before this, he racked up several hundred dollars worth of in-app purchases on my mother-in-law’s Kindle, which at the time we believed it was accidental, but now I am starting to wonder if it was intentional. Suffice to say this behavior is deeply concerning to us.
Update #1 [Dec, 31 2014, 21:52]: Literally 30 minutes after I finished writing this blog article, my son got himself in even more trouble. He threw a metal Hot Wheels car at his five year old sister because she was messing with his cars. The car hit her just below her left eye and has left a nasty bruise. What annoys me more than anything is that he lied to us about it, then later admitted it, but the scary thing is that he said that he meant to hurt her and shows no sign of remorse. I understand that lack of empathy is an issue with autism, but deliberately trying to hurt his sister is troubling to say the least!
Update #2 [Jan, 4 2015, 21:31]: The wife and I decided to give our son a break and commute his added week of punishment and allow him to have all his games, computers and tablets back as a good will gesture for the New Year under the proviso that he acts right in the future or else he would face a 3 month ban on all electronics. And he barely made it more 36 hours before getting in more trouble.
After we allowed him to play for more than five hours on the PS3; later on the 2nd of January, he took his sisters Android tablet and hid it in his room, with charger and HIS headphones plugged into it. He had clearly been playing on it and intended to play after going to bed, which he had done before. He lied to us initially and tried to block my wife from coming into his room looking for the tablet, before claiming to find it behind his bed, and later said that he had it in his room so his sister could find it.
He now has a three month ban from electronics because of being selfish taking his sister’s tablet; after he turned his nose up at the $180 Kurio Extreme tablet because of the time and content restrictions I had placed on it and for lying to us for the umpteenth time just in the last 30 days. He has shown time and time again that he can not being trusted, you just have to read above for evidence of that. So yes, I will place restrictions on gadgets to limit his usage as I clearly can not trust him to stay within the set rules voluntarily, we didn’t raise him to be this way, where’s he getting these behaviors from?
Just today, he kept sneaking up behind me while I worked at my computer and stood there silently before I noticed him. Reading what I am writing for work and personal reasons, which from his recent behavior I can only assume that he is hoping to see me input a password or pin code that he can use to circumvent time/usage restrictions. Not that he can use the codes as I have his gadgets locked away!