Monday, February 23, 2009

What about X-box?

We had this story in our newspaper this weekend: (Canwest News Story)

SOFA BOY is a new children's book trying to "uproot console potatoes".

The author, Scott Langteau, spent a huge amount of his childhood playing video games and went on to become a leading video-game designer. So this really qualifies him to write a children's book that is a cautionary tale about "game-hooked" children who refuse to get off the couch.

His solution for families: "I have no idea about developmental science, but addiction is a pretty obvious affliction. The only thing you can do is teach moderation, and have very strict rules around how long the kids can play, and what they have to do before the box gets turned on."

Oh, so much easier said than done.

This past weekend I spent some time with my quite young nephews. The greatest interest they had was playing with Stefan's extensive collection of X-box games.

My sister-in-law said that all the young children are playing these days and that she won't have it in her house. Her son can only play it at other houses.

This poses quite a dilemma, with which I have been very familiar.

If you are the parent that tries to control this thing and puts the time and effort into having "quality" time (reading, music, skating...), your children end up at the houses that have the unlimited X-box time and parents are not interacting much with their children. The permissive parents get your child as a playmate in their house and you have no idea what's going on.

I wonder, too, if all the crashing of cars, planes, helicopters, etc. makes them less careful when it come time to operate vehicles and equipment.

Any experiences and solutions?


Josh Mueller said...

Rather than making this into a pure discipline and control issue - which may cause more resentment than lasting results - how about investing ourselves more into those interests? We could ask our kids what they like about those games and even make an effort to play together with them.

I think it's also a matter of being creative with suggesting fun alternatives - like strategy games or outings for the whole family where everyone can participate.

Once we're no longer perceived as fun spoilers and nothing but disciplinarians, we may be able to discuss with them reasonable amounts of time where they can still play their games and invite their friends - in exchange for other allocated time slots for homework, chores and family activities.

Bror Erickson said...

Great questions to which I have no answers, though Children generally have an interest in what their parents are doing, and it might be a good thing for the parent just to go do something with the child. Video games are often an opiate for children being ignored by their parents.
I will not be commenting on blogs for lent.

Brigitte said...

Thanks for you answers. It's a difficult matter. In Ontario a boy died from falling off a tree after running away from home because his parents took away his games. The level of involvement and emotion runs so high.

Have a meaningful lent, then, Bror.