D.S. asks from San Francisco, CA on January 03, 2009
Time Limits on Video Games?
Last year at Christmas my step-son got a Wii. This year at Christmas my step-son got a Nintendo DS. My step-son is 8 years old and is with us half the time (50/50 custody). When my husband is in charge it seem that my step-son could spend 8 hours a day on a weekend just doing video games. There is clearly no instinct for a child to put down a video game - they have to be physically limited by their parents (I have learned). It actually makes me sad to see how addicted my step-son is to being anesthetized by video games. And then it is so easy for the parents let them spend hours in front of video games because the child doesn't bug you. So I started a rule - no more than 1 hour of any kind of video games on any given day. And after that the child has to be creative with their other toys and other things. My step-son is at a bilingual school so he isn't really at the point of reading for pleasure yet as he is behind on the English reading at this stage. I feel like the bad guy setting these limits, but then I realize that I have this child that has no idea what do unless he has TV, a video game or an adult who is actively entertaining him. Things are fine when he is on a play date. But even then the kids gravitate back to the video games even when they are together. So my question is - is anyone else struggling with this issue? What are your opinions on how much video gaming per day is okay? Does anyone else have a child that is 7, 8, 9, 10 who lacks the ability to entertain themselves or fails to interact with any other object in their bedroom other than video games because they expect TV and video games to entertain them?
W.M. answers from Sacramento on January 04, 2009
Our pediatrician has always recomended no more than one hour of video games or tv a day. We make our kids read....I even take them to the book store or library and have them read books to find what interests them. The one they won't put down is the one we take home. Maybe his stuff in his room just does not interest him. How old are the toys he has? Does he have any games he can play that aren't video? (Sorry, uno, monopoly etc...)
Ask him what they do on the play dates that does not involve the tv and maybe it is something he can do on his own also. But yes we do limit our sons time also. He likes to read halo books. He also likes to build large things with legos....he recently built his book report out of legos. Maybe he could take up an instrament for entertainment. Just making suggestions.
R.V. answers from San Francisco on January 04, 2009
I think you are very wise to want to limit the time spent playing these games. It really alters the brain and kids forget how to function with out it. Everything you said I agree with . You are doing the right thing. It will take time for a child to unplug so just provide art supplies, clay, paints, lego's, board games the family can play together. If he likes sports get dad or yourself out there to throw the ball, ride bikes, take hikes. Hang in there because this will most likly be a hard transtion. But you will change his life for the better for doing it. I swore I'd never have a wii but one came to our house for Christmas from family. I plan on treating it like candy. To much will rot your teeth(brain) so you don't have it every day and plenty of brushing in between (creative activity, outdoors time, using imagination). Also something to be earned, a reward. I am going for once a week they can play for a few hours. Best wishes
P.W. answers from San Francisco on January 03, 2009
Are you kidding? I've been struggling with this issue for 10 years. Still have no answer. If you find one, let me know. If you can stick with one hour a day I commend you. One of the things I have to remember is that although we only observe them playing video games, they actually do do other things 6 hours a day while at school. Another problem is that video games are often all their friends want to do also, and gamers tend to seek out other gamers, not jocks and boys who do other things. Boys are natural-born gaming addicts. I think the next generation will know the answer to this dilemma, since they grew up with it. In 20 years we will know how bad it actually turned out to be, or not. (They said the same thing about rock and roll, remember?) But most boys can literally do it for DAYS ON END, and I am not exaggerating. Good luck.
A.C. answers from Sacramento on January 04, 2009
We call it "screen time" and it's a privilege. Once homework, chores, piano practice, good behavior etc. - once all that is done, then 30 minutes of any screen is allowed (computer, DS, Wii). We turn on an egg timer and when it buzzes, the screen goes off. On the weekends, I don't allow screen time until the end of the day once everyone has earned it (nobody got lippy that day). The rest of the time I come up with some things for the kids to do (library, park, baking, crafts, etc.) and the rest of the free time they have to use their imagination. I think if I let it go on, then playing the DS or Wii or watching TV would never end. And we go through phases, sometimes they ask almost every day for a show or the computer and sometimes they get into toys in their rooms and won't ask for the computer for days/weeks. Of course, I have girls, so it might be a tad easier, but boys or girls, I'd be strict about the screen time.
M.L. answers from San Francisco on January 06, 2009
Wow! Full load! I have an 11 yr old and an 8 yr old and a 3 mth old.
Video games are a killer aren't there? :) Anyhow, my boys are video game freaks! I limit their video games to Friday-Sunday. I believe video games are not a priority..it's a reward that we give the kids. I tell my kids ...if you can show me that academically you are doing great and chores are completely done....while playing video games..then...that's fine with me. When one or the other is slacking off...video games are back to their weekend schedule. They can play for hours, but I limit it every 2 hrs or so..and I get them actually moving on something else...sitting around the house playing video games..no exercise..is not good for me.