Thursday, January 24, 2008

And that's why I'll never buy my kid a video game

Ugh, twice in the past few months I've visited a house where a kid spent the entire time playing a video game, ignoring my children. Now it really wasn't this kid's job to play with my kids, but really, how rude is it to sit and play a game for one, on the couch while everyone else is basically playing something together? I don't want to blame the kids, I don't want to judge the parents (and in both cases the parent did step in with their own kid), but it does irk me. I'd like to say I feel sorry for the kids, missing out on the fun board games or dance party, but really, can I say for sure that Sorry is truly more fun than Nintendo DS?

My kids have asked me numerous times how old he has to be for a game. I've hemmed and hawed with different answers, not realizing the answer should have been never. They watch TV and play on the computer and I wonder are these really that different? In regards to video games, my husband says absolutely no, but he does spend a bit lot of time watching soccer on TV. My sister allows her son to play games on the computer, but draws the line at a system which is exclusively for video games. I think this commenter really nailed how we feel.

It's not that we think video games are inherently bad, but from what I've seen, the kids either play them all the time, or the parents spend an inordinate amount of time getting them to stop. I can barely get mine to tear himself away from coloring in the morning. Given the choice of playing with mommy or watching TV, at least one of my kids will almost always pick playing with mommy. They sometimes even decide on their own to turn it off after watch for a bit in the wee hours in the morning when I'm trying, usually vainly, to get a little more sleep. Would they do the same with a coveted Wii?

Video games may be a lot better now, but they did exist when my husband and I were children and we never owned anything more elaborate than pong. I think we turned out okay. And after college, it would really bug me when someone arrived at my party, game system in hand and plugged it into the TV. But I have to admit if I could afford and get away with playing Wii at night with my kids never knowing, I might just go over to the other side.
Cross-posted at Silicon Valley Moms Blog


  1. I'm glad that my preschooler is still in the dark about all of that. He hasn't even asked about Leapsters yet.

  2. Good for you!
    But I learned to never say never..sigh..
    We are trying to teach our kids to manage their time on the electronics that they have and we've resisted updating their game systems over and over.
    I hate those hand held things and agree totally with you on that - how rude!
    Anyway good luck! None of wants one of those twenty something basement dwelling sons - yikes!

  3. We got a Leapster computer gaming thingamambob that for X-mas. It is still sitting in the box since I haven't decided what do to. Is this pandora's box wrapped up in educational packaging?

  4. When I taught kids in the emotional and behavioral programs, the most difficult were often also addicted to violent video games. I'm not saying the video games caused their problems, but they were definitely a factor.