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March 01, 2009



If it makes you feel better, my children (ages three and five) cannot get enough Raving Rabbids and Mario Kart on the Wii. I just make them work for it. Also, I try to limit their time on it, and I always tell them that if there are ANY problems when I say "turn it off," they are welcome to not ever play it again as long as they live. Look at it this way: we live in a very digital society, so I think it's best they learn these things under the tutelage of a parent. Maybe set a timer for Lowell to play for thirty minutes a day? Or fifteen, or whatever. :)

Zach Rodgers

We used console games last month to get Shep to sit on the potty long enough to pee. He'd sit & play for an hour, two hours on the plastic toilet and eventually had no choice but to let loose in there. The addiction became severe and so the games had to "break." Lately we've been letting him and Ruby play the Noggin stuff. I'm inclined to think games are better for development than movies, which I'm afraid teach them to expect passive entertainment. But my opinions are about as unscientific as it gets.


Honestly, I have a strong aversion to computer/video games that require kids to manipulate any type of figure around a screen. Madeleine plays a lot of PBS kids games (with Quinn bouncing on the chair next to her), but the games are more logic-based. I'm okay with those. The others, no thanks. I know the addicting nature of these games, vivid memories of my stoned-out-of-his-gourd husband playing Madden in his dorm room haunt me to this day.


I should check out PBS kids. Lowell is such a Noggin-head (hey! redundant) that I really haven't done much research. And Zach, I have had the same thought about the passive vs. non-passive especially since "experts" say that tv shows that talk to the viewer like Blues Clues or Dora are better for the preschool set. We have been using a timer but the problem was that he would FREAK every time it went off. It just got to be too much of a battle so when he seems like he's in a more copacetic phase I'll offer them up again.


O. never touches our computers at home, but during our summer month with the in-laws he's on PBS kids every chance he gets. It's definitely addicting. He gets so obsessed with it on the rainy or esp. busy days he's allowed to play, that he then wants to forgo fun stuff outside in favor of the Curious George game or whateverthehell. I think in moderation it's fine, but moderation - how to achieve it? Maybe saying "go nuts for six days, then cold turkey for two months"? I don't know.

I'm saying no game systems 'til he's ten. That way maybe we can hold out 'til he's at least nine (he recently turned six). His best friend has wii, and it's literally all they want to do when they're over there. At our house, they're building blocks and dancing and playing imaginative games with their starwars and playmobile dudes. That contrast is striking to me. (The problem with no games 'til he's nine or ten, though, is that Roo will be five or six at that point. So what about her?)


I keep thinking about this question, because I sounded so sanctimonious in my response. But the reality is, Madeleine just isn't that into computer games. Wii at her cousins' house (even in the theater room) - no thanks. E-Pets, boring after a little while. Hand-held computer-y thing-a-majigs, whatever. But my friend's twin boys are the opposite. Terribly terribly addicted to anything video-gamey. She had to do the timer thing, then the cold turkey thing, then the every-other-day thing. But I think she's just accepted that it will be a constant battle as long as the games are in her house. E, I'm curious to see how your daughter responds.

So I guess what I'm saying is, sorry for my lame unhelpful comment, and, uh, good luck with that.


Now see, I thought it was very helpful because it made me realize I wasn't trying very hard to find different kinds of games. Logic-based ones could be a good change of pace. And if I can find some he hates then maybe he'll never catch on... GENIUS.

KAren Gordon

Thanks to you all for renewing my faith in new millenium moms and dads- all is not lost as long as there are great parents like you out there, concerned with the effects of video and passive entertainment on our little ones. I have seen so many little kids,young teens and adolescents in my therapy office who have been raised on these games and have become truly addicted to them - they have some really warped senses of reality- like, you can "get another life" if you die in the game...so can't you do that in real life? And kids who literally do not know how to play- in the active/interactive -with -other -kids- way. AND kids who have NO attention span or ability to focus unless it is on a moving screen. Better to put up with a screaming, tantrumming pre-schooler who is having limits set for him than an out of control adolescent/teen who has never known limits...
Now, having said that, I really want a Wii- heard there are great exercise programs...

Jill from langerloksh

Is this like, how, I used to do jigsaw puzzles, and then when I closed my eyes to go to sleep at night, I saw jigsaw pieces coming together?


Oooh, I used to have that same problem after Tetris marathons! Again, you might be figuring out from which parent he is getting these obsessive gaming tendencies.

Sleep Deprivation Ninja

My wife and I have a plan to keep Code Name Alice off video games and TV as long as we can--but I really think most jobs in the future will be game oriented. There are so many ways to make work into play. That 'clean up your room' game idea would be kickass :)

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