At What Age Did Your Child Get a Gaming System (Wii, DS, X-box or Similar)

Updated on August 24, 2013
S.H. asks from Santa Barbara, CA
23 answers

I have not bought any of the systems. We do have iPads and let the kids play games, yet most of the time i have my husband bring them to work so they are not available during the day.

When we go to target my son always wants to play with the wii-u or some other thing with Mario. I do not want to spend the money on it because my kids are young and i prefer to spend the money on karate, soccer, gymnastics and such. I also feel like my son has the personality that will get obsessed with a game.

Are there any kids who have these games and play for thirty minutes (or whatever the limit is) and turn it off and go about their day without a fuss?

I am not judging. I would love to have the wii-u. Right now a classmate is talking about the xbox, so my son is now bringing this machine up. I googled the game his friend plays and it is not a game i want my son to play. Is one system meant for older kids? i have not done much research.

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answers from Washington DC on

My kids had their own DS systems from the time they were 3 or so...we used them on car rides, rainy days, whatever.

My husband has a Wii and an Xbox 360 Kinnect. The kids play both, but they are always up and moving, so it's better then them watching TV or sitting and not doing anything.

My kids are so active between school and sports, that if they want to unwind and play a video game when they are home, I really don't care.



answers from Chattanooga on

I would recommend getting an Xbox 360 with kinect. The new Xbox will be coming out soon, so the old ones should be pretty cheap shortly. Then, at least while they are playing games they will be up and moving.

There are plenty of age-appropriate games out there. I have a couple Zumba workouts for myself, and my 3 yo dances right along with me. :) we haven't gotten any games "for" her yet though.

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answers from San Francisco on

LOL my kids have been exposed to video games since birth!
Seriously, my husband is a HUGE gamer, so it's simply been a part of their lives.
He is also very athletic, as are our kids (soccer, tennis, track, swimming, skiing, volleyball, golf, dance and gymnastics have been the major activities over the years.)
I find it funny, I myself really don't like video games at all, and even though I DO exercise, I'm the LEAST athletic of the whole family. So we are living proof that a love of gaming does not come at the price of physical fitness and overall health.
We have an X Box, because that's the ONLY system my husband will buy (kind of the Holy Grail I guess) but I think the Wii is really good for younger kids, and has more "sports" oriented games.
I will also add that my kids were exposed to plenty of violent shooting games as well and yet they grew into pleasant, peaceful people (ages 20, 17 and 14 now.)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

We had game systems before my oldest was born the main systems being by Nintendo. My husband is one for the PS3 and had 1 and 2. We started our oldest on the Leapster products because he was able to play games but also learn while playing. He would play for awhile and would be fine he transitioned over from the leapster to a DS when he was 6. They are 6 and 11 now. My daughter came into the family with a Nintendo 64 in the house, a PS2, my sons leapster floating around and his new DS. She is the one who plays more and gives us the fight.
We now have a Wii, 3 DS's floating around (son's old one and both got the new 3DS for Christmas last year), and my husbands PS3.
To be honest the only time they are on them is when we are traveling, the weather is nasty and they are inside, or they are up before my husband and me. They have the Wii in the living room because it is more active and they love to play the Wii fit, and other sports games. The PS3 is in my bedroom for the husband and his games.

IMO....the more you make a fuss of what they can't have the more that hey want it. We got the kids the Wii three years ago for Christmas and to be honest we all played it for a good 8 hours or more that morning. But we did it as a family and had fun. My daughter is the one who loves to fight us when it comes to her DS but when it comes to going outside she drops it like she never had it. I really dont monitor how long they are on it. I think the last stretch they had lasted a good 3-4 months without them.

I would start with the leapster if they arent too old.....

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

We had xBox before my son was born.

As far as electronics go... We've tried various rules over the years but the simplest worked best, so Although we've tried others, we always came back to this one:

Ask before using it & Pop off with good attitude when asked or you lose it for the rest of the day and all of the next*.


He's 11.
He's seriously played since he was about 3 or 4.
Some days it's nada for electronics.
When he was sick (pulmonary) and bedridden, it could be 10 hours.
More commonly it's for a couple hours

He does

Year Round
- Gymnastics
- Aikido
- Boyscouts

- Basketball
- Snowboarding
- Baseball
- Swimming

Plus usually 2 or 3 plays (drama) per year, science camps, and all the unstructured stuff (scooter, army guys in the woods, art, reading, playdates or hangouts, etc.). Plus chores, family projects, etc.

Just because one has / uses electronics in the house (I include videogames, computer, TV... as they ALL fall under the ask & pop off rule) doesn't mean that one has no balance in one's life, or that one is an antisocial unsupervised drooling lump. Promise.


* a repeat offense soon after the first (or sneaking) elicits longer timeouts.

- all that day and the next
- all week
- 2 weeks
- 1 month

In 7 years we've only had a month ban twice, and a week ban a few times. Although we've had LOTS of level 1 bans, losing it for the rest of today and all,of tomorrow usually is the wakeup call for normal behavior (ask and pop off with good attitude) for several months.

He also self regulates. While I do have to call halt (going somewhere, other stuff to do, need help cooking) regularly... I al,ost never have to boot him for being on too long. He knows he can play when he has time (time limits made him driven to use the WHOLE time) so he plays for awhile and then does something else for awhile then plays for awhile. Now, at 11 it's 99% self regulated.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Our house already had all the major game systems and handhelds in it before our daughter was conceived, so when she emerged she had them all available to play with. When she was four she got a hand-me-down Nintendo DS to cut her teeth on. My husband and I share our toys.

The wii is generally thought of to have more titles that a younger audience would enjoy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I am like you. I think their personalities would be addicted.

I am sure a kid could play for 30 minutes a day if you want to make yourself crazing with nagging. Why do that?

I spend money on karate and soccer, etc. and that's totally worth it!
Video games? Nah. Sure, my kid is obsessed with games but they'll never get them at our house.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

We had 20 minutes a day on our Atari system growing up. Here was the catch. If my sister had the first 20 minutes and wanted to play a game for two, I could play during her 20 minutes and then have my 20 minutes as well. Since it was the rule from the first day the system came into the house we didn't fight it. There were times if we were in the middle of a game our parents will let us finish. Now a days with games they can be saved and picked up later on. If the 30 minute rule is enforced from the beginning, he may fuss in the beginning but it should stop. If it doesn't, you can always take it away.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

We got our son a Wii when he was 8.5 (for Christmas). Honestly, he hardly plays it. He did at first but now it's just an occasional thing. We all love to ski as a family and it has turned out we have the most fun doing Wii Ski together as a's a hoot! Our son is obsessed with Minecraft and making his buildings and castles/fortresses...and that is not on the Wii but on the family computer. I have to be very strict with his time limit bc he always begs for more!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boise on

My older kids didn't get one until about the ages of 8-10, maybe. My younger kids have grown up with systems, it's a little hard for them not to when the older ones already had one.

We also have tablets, phones and the leapsters. My house likes it's technology.

I had more addictive issue's with the older kids, especially when we first got the different systems. I don't really have that problem with the younger ones. The biggest difference is that they grew up around them, and most likely just take the systems for granted.

I've never limited or restricted the systems or computers. I've never turned them into the forbidden fruit, and they are not engrossed in the 24/7 either. Well, unless a new game is brought into the house and even then it last for a day or two and they move on.

I don't limit what they play either. They know reality from fiction.

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answers from Chicago on

My son got his Wii at 4 - keep in mind, we (the parents) have ALWAYS had a gaming system and are big gamers. Video games are just a part of our lives - not that big into TV really. My son before had some issues at first, but transitioning from one activity to another is difficult for him in general. He earns tokens during the day for doing certain things and has to use them as payment to play - once the timer goes off it's done. He gets an hour at a time. Many of the games that are out these days takes that long to accomplish a level or mission or get any real entertainment value from them. I never understood the 30min thing but then again I am a gamer and actually play these games myself.

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answers from Norfolk on

Our son is 14.
We still don't have one and we have no plans to get one.


answers from Jacksonville on

Our kids had a Leapster Lmax when son was 7 and daughter was 4. It was really our daughter's, but our son played on it sometimes, too. Before that, he had a Leappad (with the books that laid in it and the pencil thing). (He's 15 now, if that tells you how old the technology is).

Anyway... he got a DSlite when he was 8 or 9. Daughter got hers 2 years later, so a year younger than he did (at 7 or 8). She has always been very responsible.

Both of them are very good about putting stuff up and cycle through like anything else. Sometimes our son would go weeks without using it and just be outside all the time.
Now they have Wii, PS3, ipods and laptops and it is the same thing, mostly. They play stuff for hours sometimes and then go days without ever really plugging in, except teen son listens to his music in the car.



answers from Kansas City on

Our daughter has a leapster and leappad that her uncle and grandma got her. She plays with them in the car and at restaurants, rarely any other time. We also have a Nintendo (original) and we play mario and dr mario sometimes.


answers from Grand Forks on

We've had games since before we had kids (my husband likes to play, I hate games). The kids started on the PS2 probably at 3 or 4 years old, then they got a Wii, then they got DS's, then PS3, then iPod Touch's, then Xbox 360...They have always played games and we have always had rules when they could play and how much they could play.



answers from Los Angeles on

My son was about 4 or 5 when we got the Wii. He also has the PSP and Ipad (which he just got and he is 10 now). However, the Wii is more than just for kids. It's for the whole family. I have my own games (Beatles Rock Band, Guitar Hero) and my son has his games. But we also play together as a family a lot. My husband, son and I have Bowling and Billiards tournaments or baseball tournaments. Or one of us plays with our son as the 2nd person on Mario or NFL Football or Baseball or Wii Sports Resort or Go Vacation. And my in laws play with us too. My father in law loved it so much that we bought him a Wii for his 80th birthday. My son does play himself but he will get off when we tell him to or give him a limit. I have only played a little X Box but I think it is similar where you can play together. Check it out. If you can get more family time out of it then it is worth it! Hope this helps!


answers from St. Louis on

Honestly, from my heart......for most children it is an addictive thing (WII, XBox, PC games, etc.)Most of their parents will not recognize it or they will deny it because it looks pretty bad, and it is not healthy for kids. A few kids are able to play 30 minutes or so, but they are a minority,and I don't think it will stop there; they will eventually get used to much to these games, and will want new ones and more. These are very fun games( an expensive too in my opinion!), we all like them in this house (we don't have all of them, and we are not planning to), but we do have a VERY strict schedule for electronic games, and we keep it (even during Summer break, holidays, etc...)
My children have many other things to do AND they understand that school is priority.....if you do allow your children to play whenever they want and get what they want , you will regret it. I just observe my children's friends/ neighbors/relatives, and I don't want my kids to struggle with choices and control my house. My children do not feel bad telling their friends they are not allowed to play too much or that they do not have tons of gaming systems. Yes, we live in a modern world and we have to live with it; however, too much of a good thing is also a bad thing.
If you buy them, keep it simple.



answers from New York on

My oldest just left for college, my youngest goes to college next year. We've never had a gaming system in our house. No video games. When they were in elementary school we had a computer with no internet and they played educational games. Once they started high school they had their own laptops and I let them make their own decisions on the games they wanted to play.



answers from Chicago on

My son is almost 7 and we've had an Xbox longer than he's been around. We recently bought the Kinect to go with it. It's kind of like wii and the games are interaction. We have all the sports games for everyone to play. My son has used it rarely this summer since we're outside a lot. But I would say he plays on kinect or Xbox a couple times a week in the colder weather.

I like kinect because its interactive and gets them active instead of just sitting there. As long as its balanced with real play, outdoor time, I don't mind it. I'm strict on only games for E (everyone) being allowed . My son can easily play for 30 minutes and quit.



answers from Los Angeles on

I haven't gotten one for my daughter yet, since she's only 13 months, but I got my first Nintendo (the original Japanese version, not the ones made to sell in the U.S.) when I was around 4.5 years old. My parents never limited the amount of time I spent on it so some days I played for a while and other days, I didn't even touch it. I can't remember how much time I spent playing games per session, but it was definitely more than 30 minutes. But I ALWAYS did my school work. Games never got in the way of school work or other extracurricular activities.



answers from Wausau on

You have to do what you think is the best for your son and household.

My kids were born into a gaming household. My husband and I had our own consoles before we met. Since combining our geekiness, we've acquired more. We currently have six working consoles hooked up. We also have computers.

The kids specifically got a DS Lite when they were....8-9ish. They saved up and bought them. They got the 3DS awhile back, also paid for with their saved up money. It took about 18 months for them to save up.

We don't have daily time limits for games because it has never been a problem. When you grow up in a house with so many gaming options, there is no novelty to obsess over. Kids want what they can't have, and our kids have had this available to them since forever. The controls we enforce are game appropriateness, online safety and that priorities are taken care of before games are played.

My kids are also in karate year round, go to camp, participate in chess club, and do other activities. They read like crazy and my house looks like a library threw up in here. We also have a ton of board and card games, which we play together. They are both good students and do very well in school.

If you do decide to get games, your son *will* obsess for awhile. That's natural and you might just want to let it happen (within reason) so he gets it out of his system. Invoking tight control right away will backfire on you but you don't want him to be up until 4am and forget to eat either.

You also need to factor in that save-points need to be reached or levels completed before a game is turned off, so you can't necessary say "30 minutes" and mean on the dot, off it goes. That isn't fun or fair. For some games like Super Mario, 30 minutes will be just fine. But for something like Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword for Wii, sometimes it takes at least an hour just to be able to get anywhere. I don't even bother to play that one unless I have at least 90 minutes available. You need to know the games and be adaptable to the situation. One size does not fit all.

Out of all the current generation consoles right now, I'd say get a WiiU. There are not a ton of WiiU games out (so slow, Nintendo!) but it plays original Wii games which can be bought second hand for cheap, and there is a wide variety for age levels and family friendly multiplayer. Play with your kid and work family time into it.

One console family we don't have is Xbox. I'm not a fan of the game selection or the technical problems they tend to have. PS3 is wonderful and useful for more than just games, but the PS4 is coming out soonish. If you hold off you can either get the 4 or a much cheaper 3.



answers from San Francisco on

We have had a Wii since my son was a baby (gift for my husband, not our son) but we don't use it much. Last year, when he was five, we started letting him play it and have bought two or three games specifically for him. He's not super into it though. He gets thirty minutes of screen time in the morning and again in the afternoon and can choose what to do - TV, Wii, tablet or the computer. he almost always chooses TV over video games.

Of course, he keeps asking for his own iPad, but that's not happening!!


answers from Milwaukee on

I think we always had one due to DH having it. I wish we didn't as my oldest DS is totally obsessed. uggg

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