Is the Game On?

TV can be addictive. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be.  Since I grew up in a home where TV was playing most of the day (and night), I grew to hate it. I didn’t realize it until I rented my own apartment. Suddenly, silence sounded so good. I still like to watch a good movie, if it’s not too long,  but limited and selective screen time has become a part of my parenting strategy. What about educational programs? I agree. There are a lot of great shows out there. Yet, regardless of the content, watching TV adds up to bad eye sight and bad posture, in my opinion. To sum up, TV has been  a part of our family life, but definitely not the centre of it. And not a babysitter either.

As  I was slowly getting used to the idea that the old tele was not a threat to my kids, along came (poly) video game systems. In other words, Nintendo, Wii and whatever else is out there. What is that Wii anyway???? Am I even spelling it right? Honestly, in the abstract world of video games, I am oh-so-ignorant. Whether it’s a personality trait or some handicap, I could never really get any joy from holding a joystick and my heart would not start racing while watching a virtual car race. Ironically, all that my five-year-old has been talking about since his last birthday, is the Wii system. Go figure! Naturally he hasn’t been introduced to it by me. I’m just smart enough to use my smart phone. But my husband, on the other hand, doesn’t mind sharing his smart devices to teach our son a new game here and there. He claims it’s important for the child to stay ‘current’. Sure. Or is it an opportunity for the dad to stay connected with his childhood? Apparently, many of our son’s friends and cousins have video game systems and use them. No doubt about it. After all, that’s how my son got this contagious video game bug in the first place.  At a playdate. My question from a few posts ago recurs. Is common normal?  Is the game on?

I’m all for the game. As long as it includes a board. Giggle away. I might be from the twentieth century, but this is what I think. Video games are addictive and time-consuming. It’s an extra screen time, which keeps children away from friends, outdoors and what bothers me the most, it makes them over-stimulated. We  have a tablet which our son uses…daily. Shame on us? Honestly, it’s the tablet that triggers all the fights and meltdowns. The play time is never long enough. Both me and my husband see that after playing games on iPad, our son is more aggressive, physically and verbally, more distracted and has sugar cravings. Is it an Angry-Birds-effect?  It was only this morning that he was writing a letter to Santa, asking for a video game. Not only is it February, but we don’t even have a video game console!  Should I upgrade my brain software? Should we get a Wii? Should we keep saying no to Wii? I can’t decide. Is my husband right with his “current” theory? What do you, fellow parents and various experts, think about this virtual insanity?

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