Video Games and Younger Children

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Video Games and Younger Children
22
Mon, 05-03-2004 - 10:26am
How young, is *too* young for video games in your opinion?

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?

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Avatar for jbnick
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Mon, 05-03-2004 - 10:55am
I would say to take it in moderation.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-1999
Mon, 05-03-2004 - 10:55am
I think 4 & 5 is a little young. We have a Super Nintendo system that was DHs from when we first got married. We have 2 games, Mario Bros and Tennis. At some point, DH hooked it up for them. DD 1 (age 7) played it non-stop for about a month. Her friend across the street (Also age 7) played it too. DD #2 (age 4) just watched. She tried to play but just didn't have enough hand-eye coordination to make it work.

Then they got tired of it and don't touch it anymore.

I'm glad it worked out this way. I don't like the idea of kids their age having these types of games. As far as I know, none of her friends have any (the don't talk about it.) I hate it when I see kids with Gameboys at restaurants etc, totally engaged. I know that at times, toys like that are useful, especially on long car rides, or in situations where you have to wait. But at some point, a kid has to learn to wait patiently without a constant distraction.

You should lay down some ground rules with your brother about lending games, so that all the kids and adults know what the expectations are.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-18-2003
Mon, 05-03-2004 - 11:12am

Why put it away? It appears that you and your kids are doing fine with it. You're limiting their play, choosing age-appropriate games, and not investing loads of $$ into it. The kids seems to be monitoring themselves, since you said they only stay interested for 15 min or so.


Why put something away that is being used properly with no ill effects? Sounds like the only ill effects are being caused by the borrowing of games. Stop the borrowing, but leave the gamecube.


BTW, I think your brother's kids have taken it to an extreme. Dd is 7 and has a gamecube. We play it on the weekends only. Not as a limit set by me, but because we simply don't have time to play it during the week. Between homework, playing outside, dinner, bath and cuddle time with mom, there isn't 15-30 min a day to play it. This weekend we played gamecube for HOURS. But most of it was us as a family playing. Working through the puzzles and levels together. It was great fun. But I seriously suspect we won't even turn it on again until Sat, if then.

Choose your friends by their character and your socks by their color.  Choosing your socks by their character makes no sense and choosing your friends by their color is unthinkable.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-12-2002
Mon, 05-03-2004 - 11:20am

I think moderation is the key.

Okmrsmommy-36, CPmom to DD-16 and DS-14

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 05-03-2004 - 11:24am
My kids at 4 and 2 are much too young.

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Avatar for jbnick
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Mon, 05-03-2004 - 12:26pm
I tried to put it off too.
Avatar for laurenmom2boys
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Mon, 05-03-2004 - 12:32pm
I think they're not appropriate for any age, AT ALL. That said, we have a PS2 and I'd like to take it outside and have a truck run over it. My DS1 couldn't care less about it, but DS2 practically prays to the PS2 Gods. I know it's DH's and my fault that we've allowed him to become so into this STUPID video game, so I need to also beat myself up over it (but some very stringent rules are being set in place this week). I've had it with the whole video game phenomena. I think they should all be put into a big pile and set on fire. Anyway, when the PS2 dies, it's gone. Finished. Finito. Will not be replaced.

Aren't you glad you asked?

Avatar for laurenmom2boys
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Mon, 05-03-2004 - 12:33pm
That's what we did. But we finally caved. Wish I never go the darned thing. Hold off as long as you possibly can!
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 05-03-2004 - 12:50pm

I agree 100%!!

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 05-03-2004 - 1:04pm

Blushing

"I do not want to be a princess! I want to be myself"

Mallory (age 3)

      &nbs

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