Video Games and Younger Children
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|Mon, 05-03-2004 - 10:26am|
Here is my long-winded sitation...
At Christmas time, we bought a Gamecube. It was an impulse type of purchase. Basically, I was trying to load The Sims onto the PC for the 80th time to play it, but our computer couldn't seem to handle it. So, my dh started pricing new machines, new video cards, etc. and came up with the conclusion that buying a $100 Gamecube would be the cheapest option. We are not really video game people. We bought two games, the Sims for myself and he picked out some driving game. We have maybe used this game console twice a month since we got it.
My brother, at the same time, bought a Gamecube for his kids for Christmas. They have kids 7, 8, 9. They have already about two dozen games, most of which are for the kids. They play it constantly. Everytime we go to their house, my kids, age 4 and 5 play on the game as well. This has never really bothered me, and to be honest, over the winter months, it seemed harmless.
My brother, being the generous guy that he is, has allowed my kids to borrow some a game on occassion. In fact, he has mentioned it aloud that he thought it was somehow cruel of us to buy a game console and not buy games for the kids to play on it. Our reason is very simple - our kids are only 4 and 5, and we'd rather they just play with toys! I don't want my kids sitting in front of the tv on a warm, sunny day with that controller in their hand. I want them outside. They just seem waaay too young to get into these games, which, as most you very well know, aren't just simple 2 minute PacMan games anymore, they are highly involved.
The borrowing has become a PITA. Somehow I managed to overwrite a memory card that was filled with my niece's saved game - a game she had been working on for some time. (It was an innocent mistake on my part, the card was included with the game when the kids borrowed it.) Also, it's almost been worse than renting from a rental place... my brother allowed the kids to take his kids' favorite game home for a few days and I got calls from my nephew and my niece on seperate occassion begging me to return it because they wanted to play. It's like they are addicted! Their voices were so desperate... I can hardly believe that their parents allowed them to use the phone to beg for the game back!
Even when we've borrowed the games, I've kept gameplay extremely limited, less than 2 hours per week or so - which has worked out well, as *right now* my kids are pretty satisfied with 15 minutes of play before they move on to doing something else. I am scared though, that if I allow them to play so young, eventually, they will be like my nieces and nephew - wanting to sit for hours in front of the tv. I feel as though I've got two options here - make my household a game-free one for kids, or just buy a few for them specifically. I have very mixed feelings on this subject. Should I put away the gamecube and wait until they are a little older? Is it harmless in your opinion? Or is moderation the key?