Having a child one day is something that my husband and I are looking forward to. As I look around our home you can definitely tell we are going to be a geek family. We enjoy playing games on a PC, our phones, a tablet, a PS2, a PS3, an Xbox 360, and a Wii. Our kids will have no choice but to be geeks with us. All humor aside though, I was thinking, how much video game time will I allow my child to have and what games will I allow them to play? [Editor’s note: How much time will you allow your husband to spend coaching his electronic football squads, refighting historic strategic campaigns, or leading tactical squads against future alien threats?] – Note the Editor is my husband. :)
I love playing video games and to be honest, I’m not going to give that up. Playing video games relaxes my spouse and me. It is our hobby. I know our child is going to see us playing and will want to play too, so I can’t say, “No,” to that. But, I want to encourage outside play time, too. I also want them to be up and about rather than glued to the TV for hours. Yet, I know that they still need exposure to technology.
My husband and I have decided to develop some rules concerning video games. First, we both agree that there will be no video game consoles in their bedrooms. It’s too much of a temptation for them. The reality is that once you start playing a game it is hard to stop. It’s even harder when you can’t sleep. It’s hard enough for adults to stop playing a video game when they know they need to go to bed, let alone a child. Also, by keeping the video games in one central place in the home, rather than one in each bedroom, it will give us the ability to monitor their time with the games. When we say, “It’s bedtime,” that means bedtime, not playing video games in bed.
We honestly haven’t figured out a time limit for video games. That is something we will have to research more, but for sure, chores, homework, and reading time will have to come first. If it’s a nice sunny day outside, you bet I’ll kick my child out of the house to play! I also want them to develop tactile perception skills even when they’re young, meaning they learn at an early age what different objects feel like and what to do in social play settings. These are skills that video games cannot teach. When they are young and need development in these skills, video games will be a low priority for them.
The question of what games will we allow is a question that I have to admit we are still working on. One day while shopping at Game Stop I noticed that Nintendo by far has the most games for children. After taking a look I found that there are many of Nintendo’s games that I would allow my young child to play. Compared to the Xbox and Playstation which are aimed towards older teens and adults, Nintendo seems to be aimed for young children and families.
Though I in no way want to get sucked into buying the expensive figurines for the Disney’s Infinity, we will follow the age guidelines found on all games. For Nintendo, I am impressed with Reader Rabbit For Preschoolers, Learning with the PooYoos, and the ever popular, Dora the Explorer games. Not to mention that Mario is still a family friendly game and all the Lego video games.
There is nothing wrong with playing video games; your brain cells aren’t going to melt. In fact, the best of video gaming teaches patience, creative problem solving, and resource management. The key is to keep all things, including gaming, in moderation. As parents we need to monitor what our children are playing and how much time they are playing video games. Lay down some rules and use some common sense. By doing so, you can still enjoy some family video game time together and trust that your kids are building brain cells when they game alone!
Written By: Little Kristy