Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Video Games- A Mom's arch nemisis

We started with our video game saga when my son was 9. He had begged for a Gameboy system and we had put it off. I really didn't want him playing the games and I thought it was a real bad idea from the start. Naturally, because I felt this way, my son wanted it even more.

We had suffered a lot that year, the loss of my Dad was difficult, my son cried for him nightly. After a lot of discussion that year, we decided to indulge the boy and pony up for a hand held system. His game collection grew rapidly. Then we decided he was old enough for a real video game system.

I won't say that was a mistake. I don't believe it was. I think being SELECTIVE in allowing certain games to be played is the ultimate factor. We found that certain types of games starting with the letter "M" were very disturbing. In fact, after one evening of allowing our son to play these games, he was very, um, disturbed and needed a lot of calming down. Very quickly, many of these games "disappeared" and were replaced with others that he may not have wanted so much. Tough Beans!

There are still hand held games that have disappeared for one reason or another. In fact, this week the boy is asking for a particular game. Doing so with such tenacity, I am quite certain the game has "disappeared" and is now gone permanently. I have heard others say that doing that kind of thing (taking the game and making it go away) is bad for our kid. I do not concurr with that statement. I believe that we did the right thing, and are teaching our son that if he behaves a certain way after playing a game like that it is more likely that the game itself is going to go away somewhere and not be found again.

I am reminded of one time, going to a game store and asking them about a certain type of game. We went there to see if we could sell the game through them or if we would make more getting rid of it ourselves. The game store employees told us they never had complaints about this game or the system. However, if one looked closely at the "look" the one young lady gave the other, you would know that both were fibbing in a BIG way. After that experience, albeit brief, we decided to watch what our son was playing and subsequent behaviors. At that point we monitored time, many times using an egg timer, to see what would happen.

Either it is the visuals in the games, or the music or both, and if some are played long enough, the kids get wired weird and will go off. One of the requirements I have prior to video game playing is doing 150 jumping jacks. If the boy wants to play the games that bad, he has to knock out 150 jumping jacks THEN he can play for an hour.

This might sound extreme, but there are some games that are just not a good fit and the kids should be monitored when playing them. Bear in mind, this is just our experience and what we think, not everyone will agree with this attitude.

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