Welcome back to another edition of my blog. Before I get started, I want to thank everyone who has visited my blog and/or bought Tantrums, Troubles, and Treasures. It really means a lot.
Today’s title stems from the fact that I still do not own a Nintendo Wii or an XBox 360. Don’t get me wrong. I love these systems. I had video games growing up, St. Joseph Children’s Home (where I learned most of my parenting skills) had an old Nintendo, and cost is not the central issue. So what’s the holdup? Everyone else has one, right?
Though I am the bad guy for this stance in my home, here’s the beef. Today’s video gaming systems are too darn much fun. Because of this, I have reasoned that the systems have the potential to stifle creativity. What I am going to do is give a couple of arguments for my beliefs then guess a couple of counter arguments to address. I hope this doesn’t sound like I am talking to myself on a computer but it just might! It’s important for parents to consider these arguments even if they go ahead and buy a gaming system.
My Argument: How many families (especially with boys) own a video game system; yet their children would rather read, draw, or play board games on a consistent basis? I admit some of you probably do but the percentage would be interesting to know. One thing cool about reading is that your mind has to be put to use to imagine what is going on in the story. The same could be said for drawing or playing board games. With a video game though, the brain doesn’t have to work in the same creative fashion.
Possible counter argument: Can’t their be a balance between gaming and other creative outlets?
My Answer: In theory, yes. The problem is that the balance would have to be imposed by me. Right now, I don’t force my children to use their creative outlets. If I had a gaming system, that would be the first thing on their minds to do during down time. In essence, I would be the bad guy for saying, “No.” Currently, my children aren’t forced to use their creative outlets. It happens naturally. The dichotomy would be different though if I took away something they wanted to do (video games) and replace it with something they didn’t really want to do (read a book or go outside).
My argument: Video games can be so much fun, they can be used as a crutch for parents to not parent.
For example, how many of you could place your kids in front of their favorite video game and leave them there for hours? Really? I bet I could too. The thing is sometimes I’m lazy after a long day. I’ll bet I could be easily tempted to let my kids play longer on their gaming systems than they should because it’s just so easy to do. I’m not judging others but I know myself well. On a side note, who says I wouldn’t enjoy playing the video games, thus stifling my own creativity.
Counter Argument: Shouldn’t parents be responsible and monitor the time gaming?
My answer: They should! The problem is I know a lot of irresponsible parents and I’m merely passing on the temptation.
This blog could go on forever with points and counterpoints. (Odds are I’ll write a chapter in a future book full of facts and details). What I want you to understand though is that you may be taking an unintentional risk. Creativity and hands on parenting are important skills. It’s impossible to know how much they are stifled due to video games. As a parent of a 7 and 3 year old, it’s a risk I’m not ready to take yet.
Therefore, I have decided to load my house with different things the kids find fun. Outside, I have a swing, a 15 foot fort with a slide, basketballs, baseballs, soccer balls, etc…. Inside my home, I have books, a very messy playroom, pop-o-shot (basketball goal), a Foosball table, a crate of art supplies, board games, etc…… (I’m thinking a pool table or a bumper pool table could be next.)
We also have a YMCA that, along with a lot of great activities, has…….wait for it……… a Nintendo Wii. Hey, I never said they didn’t play the games. They’re just not playing them in my home.
I’ll be back on Friday with another post. Just like with my previous blog, I am willing to answer some questions whether it is about the book, a previous blog post, or a general opinion (Dear Abby) type of question.
Finally, if you liked today’s topic, please share it with other parents. I would really appreciate it!!!