Well, this is a good one! I have to say that I used to play a lot! I was bullied in high school so all I did was playing games. World of WarCraft, especially, because I really liked the story behind it and it made me feel good when my parents bought me a WarCraft book and I could read it, because you actually felt connected to those characters, you know that.
One day my parents told me that I am addicted. We argued a bit and I was afraid, because I felt terrible after the fight, so I agreed with their opinion. Now, about 4 years later, I am looking back and telling myself that I am grateful for my parents stepping in, even though I hated them for that.
It is a really huge problem when your kids play games. Why? Because sometimes it is okay for them to control that, but sometimes it is not. It is parents' job to analyze it and decide how to proceed. You can be wrong, you can be right, but you can't stand there and just ... let things happen.
- I would start with consulting this issue with them. Ask them why are they playing so much. Maybe they know it, which would be the better case and you would be able to have a conversation about it. If they don't, however, I would tell them they can't play so much, because it is not healthy.
- If it would not work out, I would just do it, cause it is the case when I had told them. They have to see who is the father and who is the one making calls. But be careful, they must see the reason behind your action. I would tell them again why you turned off the power for the weekend. "Guys, we are going for a trip this weekend!" etc. In case of gaming, try to be proactive instead of reactive. Changing a child's schedule who is playing 8 hours a day is really painful, sometimes.
- Sometimes people are blind and they don't understand the reason behind the action of someone else. Being you I would have a conversation with the wife, because she bought them the game. I am not saying I am blaming her, I am saying that because of her action buying the game you need her help to do something about your children' time spent playing games. If a mother allows something and father does not, there will be a big problem. You might talk to your children with your wife, which would be much better than talking to them alone.
If they say "Not right now, dad!" it is not right. You are their father. For them, you are the best father ever. They might not say it, they might say it, it does not matter. You just are. And you have to realize that you have a responsibility for their upbringing. You know what is best for your kids. Are you sure they should not play that much? Stop it.
Sure, games are really great, but you should be aware that they shouldn't use it as an exit from reality. Do you want to turn off for a while? Why not, if you like games, but don't screw your school up.
I am not saying computer games are bad, I am also not saying computer games are good... it is just too complex... I would, however, make a weekly plan and see how they are doing in school and other stuff outside the school. I think we should never let our kids spend all the time at computers, especially when you can't talk to them at dinner, which is really, really bad. If it happens, you have to make them stop playing for a while. Gaming world is not for children, because this way you are loosing the ability to shape their growing up. This is my opinion.