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Anti-Video Game resources

post #1 of 125
Thread Starter 
I am currently in the middle of a battle with my dh over video games and our children. He plays them and allows our DSD (she's 5) to play them, but I will NOT allow our DS to play them. DS is 8 months now, so I have some time before he becomes aware of the situation. I'm just checking to see if anyone knows of any good websites I can show him, or a book we should read together.

This is an EXTREMELY big issue to me. I'm sick of argueing with dh over it. I just want to find studies about the harmful affects of video games on child development to share with him.

post #2 of 125
post #3 of 125
Oh I am adamant about no video games. My kids are still little but I will not let them have them. I didnt have them growing up and my friends did and they would all just sit in front of the tv, slack-jawed and drooling. OK not really drooling but the whole 'zoning out while I shoot people' is just not ok.
post #4 of 125
I'm new to posting around here but thought I'd jump in on this thread.

My husband is into video games but after extensive talks, he can understand why I don't want them for our children - and finally respects that. For us, I don't think any website would have helped - I'm sure he would have come back with websites that are "pro" video games.

I hope that he will respect your feelings and understand - As I told mine, if my kids want to color, ride bikes, play outside, read, etc, why WOULD I want to encourage them to be parked in front of the TV? (BTW, mine are 9, 7 and 4 and we have no issues with the rule.)

~~ Jen ~~
post #5 of 125
Thread Starter 
I think at this point my dh is pretty much demanding evidence that video games are not good. He feels hurt by the whole argument because video games were such a huge part of his childhood and he wants to share that with his children. Its a really touchy subject. And I'm forced to remind him that his parents stuck him in front of the TV and had minimal interactions with them.

To be honest, we do not even own a TV. I hav been TV free (and proud) since I was 14. My dh has a handheld video game system. That was quite a compromise.....and some of the rules and boundaries we set with it have already been disregarded.

I hate to sound controlling, but ultimatly I am putting my foot down....so I guess I am being pretty bossy about the whole thing-but I see no other alternative.
post #6 of 125
The only reliable research you're going to find is ones that say violent video games are bad for kids.

But, I'm not expecting your dh to be playing Doom with a 5 year old, are you?

For an opposing viewpoint see:

But really, the problem I see here is:
1. You are actively attacking something he sees as a good way to relax.
2. You're not willing to compromise.
3. You post comes across as being quite strong, and to be honest, a bit disrespectful of your dh. I'm sure you didn't intend it that way, but are you sure that you're not coming across that way to him?

You might be TV free, but you're not computer free. So, what are you going to do when your ds wants to be on the computer? How do you feel about computer games? Screen time in general?

There are compromises, you're just not seeing/considering them right now. You could compromise on handheld games only. You could compromise on content of games. You could compromise on the amount of time your children can play and/or the age at which you let them start. You could start to compromise by listening to your husband's arguments about how it's not that bad and really HEARING what he has to say and WHY. You could talk about your worries if your kids do play video games and see how he responds to that. But taking a stand first and marshalling arguments isn't going to make for a happy resolution for this issue.

I would just as soon be TV free in our household. Dh, on the other hand, grew up in a house where the TV was on a lot. He uses TV to relax. So, the compromise we've reached about our kids is:
1. No TV as infants. Period. Lots of research how this is bad.
2. After age 2, 1/2-1 hour a day if THEY request it. In the winter, they request it nearly every day. In the summer, they go weeks without watching TV.
3. The TV is located in the basement, where it is inconvenient to use. It has to be a CHOICE to watch TV. I don't want it on in the background.
4. ABSOLUTELY NO TVs in the bedroom. Ever. This was hard for dh to get used to, but I was very clear on how it was important to me. Because I wasn't insisting that all TV go away, he could live with it.
5. The limit is on SCREENTIME - so if they play a computer game, they use up part of their time.
6. We tightly control what they watch (we've got a DVR so we record things ahead of time and that's what they can choose from). No commercial TV, nothing with commercials in it, nothing that's not for preschoolers.
7. Computer games are to be non-violent. Always. As long as they live in our house. (Dh is actually against gaming systems because of the expense. He'd rather have our kids play computer games.)

My kids are happy, healthy, imaginative and gentle. They interact with us. We don't park them in front of the TV and let them drool . TV/computer games are just one of many things they do. And a small part of what they do. In fact, ds spends more time bugging me to play soccer than he does bugging me to watch tv!

post #7 of 125
Video games are not necessarily evil, as a mechanical engineer who grew up playing video games. I can attribute probably a lot according to Texas A&M:

Texas A&M

" Video games can enhance certain skills in a child. For example, he cites "spatial visualization" - the ability to rotate mentally and twist two and three-dimensional objects - can improve in children by playing video games.
'Students with a high degree of spatial visualization are usually high achievers in math and science," he points out. Occupations which require mechanical tasks or machinery operation also demand high spatial visualization skills, he says. "

Source: http://newsarchives.tamu.edu/stories/00/101700-6.html

Henry Jenkins an MIT researcher has looked into some of the arguements against video games and he has debunked some major myths:

"2. Scientific evidence links violent game play with youth aggression.
Claims like this are based on the work of researchers who represent one relatively narrow school of research, "media effects." This research includes some 300 studies of media violence. But most of those studies are inconclusive and many have been criticized on methodological grounds. In these studies, media images are removed from any narrative context. Subjects are asked to engage with content that they would not normally consume and may not understand. Finally, the laboratory context is radically different from the environments where games would normally be played. Most studies found a correlation, not a causal relationship, which means the research could simply show that aggressive people like aggressive entertainment. That's why the vague term "links" is used here. If there is a consensus emerging around this research, it is that violent video games may be one risk factor - when coupled with other more immediate, real-world influences — which can contribute to anti-social behavior. But no research has found that video games are a primary factor or that violent video game play could turn an otherwise normal person into a killer."

More Information on his research is located here:

"Now the rest of my research i can't link you to because it comes from CQ Research a database I have access to."“Many video games require players to master skills in demand by today's employers,” concluded a report released in October by the Federation of American Scientists, citing complex decision-making and team building. The organization urged the federal government to invest in research and development of educational games for K-12 students and for adult work-force training. [1]"
"But what about teens who seem to spend most of their leisure time on games? Heavy gamers — more than an hour a day — actually spend more time reading for pleasure (55 minutes daily) than teens who play no video games at all (41 minutes), according to the Kaiser survey. And Kaiser found only 13 percent of adolescents were heavy gamers.

Nevertheless, the persistent anecdotes about teens and adults who skip meals, classes and even work to indulge in hours of video-gaming has led some to worry the games are addictive. Clinics have even sprung up claiming to treat “Internet addiction disorder.”

But many psychologists remain skeptical. “There's hardly anyone I would class as a genuine video-game addict,” says Professor of Gambling Studies Mark Griffiths of Nottingham Trent University in Nottingham, England. Few players, he says, meet a strict definition of addiction, which includes withdrawal symptoms and a preoccupation so single-minded that every other aspect of life is neglected."
"“You play 'World of Warcraft'? You're hired!” Someday those words may be spoken by employers — if they're not already — two technology experts wrote in Wired, praising multiplayer games for teaching important workplace skills."


Long story Short, don't poo poo video games. There positive effects are extremely widespread.
post #8 of 125
I have horrid hand eye co-ordination and video games were actually part of my occupational therapy in elementary school. So I don't think video games are all bad or that you will find any real proof that they are universally harmfull to children. Perhaps it would be easier to convince him that you will only allow non-violent games in your home, and to put time limits on video games. My 4 1/2 year old dd is only allowed to play video games on saturday and sunday, and only for 15 minutes a day.
post #9 of 125
I'm afraid that if you want actual unbiased research showing negative effects, you will come up dry. No one has ever demonstrated such effects -- except that children who play above a certain number of hours a week are more likely to be obese.

Have you thought about your own beliefs about games? Why do you feel they are harmful or undesirable? Why is this a big issue to you? Really sorting this out might help you and your DH to work out a solution where everyone feels respected.
post #10 of 125
Thread Starter 
I'm suprised at the direction this thread has moved.

I do not trust any research preformed at Texas A&M. Institutions like that are run by the corrupt and powerful and there are more corporate alliances than I care to list. As far as the benefits mentioned, I do not see ANY of those as being beneficial to living.

My goal in raising my children has nothing to do with academics as we know them. As an anarchist I value substainable living, culture, and community.

I don't understand the logic of only letting my children play non violent games. Either way I support the companies that produce games I do not believe are good for ANY child or adult. I know I have a computer with the internet. That was a compromise in our home, and one that I am happy I agreed to because it has helped me more with networking and opened up resources that I never knew existed. So, while I finacially support Apple (MAC) I use it for my good, and I am able to filter out information that I do not agree with and/or things I do not want my children exposed to. With video games, sure I can control how long they spend playing them, but the content is unchangable.

Lynn56-I like the way you've worked things out in your home. Thank you for sharing your opinion and experiences.And for the record my DH is just as stubborn as me. This has been an issue we've discussed for over a year now, and it tends to get pretty heated.

I'm sorry if any of this sounds negative, but I feel like I am always defending myself and I'm really just looking for resources, I'm pretty sick of defending my desicions.
post #11 of 125
I don't think it's controversy exactly -- I'm just curious where you're coming from. So it's the consumerism that bothers you?
post #12 of 125
I honestly don't believe you're going to find a website that tells you of all the horrors of video games with a big blanket statement. Violent or inappropriate stuff sure... but as a whole? Not likely.

And I agree with a previous poster, where is the compromise in the situation? Your dh obviously enjoys his hobby just as you (here on MDC) do.
post #13 of 125
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Thalia the Muse View Post
I don't think it's controversy exactly -- I'm just curious where you're coming from. So it's the consumerism that bothers you?
Definitely! My dh and I usually agree on everything we do or do not support. This is really the only battle left.

I have to say after reading all the responses I'm thinking about approaching this subject from a different angle. I don't want to back out on everything I've said, but I don't want to be the bad guy in the house either. I know there are things we support everyday that I am not proud of (car, natural gas, target) I jsut want my children to grow up with an understanding of cause and affect, and to know where the products come from. I'm not saying I've changed my mind, but I am going to talk to my DH about everything and see if we can come to a ......COMPROMISE!!

In the meantime, I will continue to look for information about the pros and cons of gaming.
post #14 of 125
Originally Posted by ashtree View Post
I'm not saying I've changed my mind, but I am going to talk to my DH about everything and see if we can come to a ......COMPROMISE!!

In the meantime, I will continue to look for information about the pros and cons of gaming.
post #15 of 125
Gloval - as a fellow mechanical engineer (sort of - graduating in a month), I definitely see where you are coming from. Dh and I go to a univerisity that is predominately filled with computer gaming males majoring in engineering. However, I have seen too many guys spend too much time on games (as in failing classes, not getting any exercise, etc). Happened in my freshman dorm all the time! Games are not bad in and of themselves, but I think it's really easy to spend too much time on them.

To the OP-
I do not think that violent games cause violent behavior, in young adults at least. Dh really enjoys computer games. He has a very gentle personality but loves war games. He also loves to read war history. This ties into his career, and I am happy that there are people who are interested in studying war history (for the practical reason that war is not going away no matter how much we want it to). That being said, I don't like him to play all the time. I totally understand your frustration. This is the only thing we ever argue about. I told him I don't mind him playing 3.5 hours per week (30 min per day), but I think anything beyond that is excessive. He doesn't agree. Sometimes he plays a lot more, sometimes not much at all, depending on how much free time he has. We have agreed that he will not play when the baby comes, and our children will have limited access to gaming/tv/movies/internet chatting, etc. It doesn't sound like banning gaming is something that will work in your family. Perhaps you could reach a compromise, like setting a weekly time limit for the kids, and maybe convincing your dh to set a weekly time limit for himself? I played games as a child but I had time limits.

My dh compares his game time to me being on MDC. I used to argue that I am learning things on MDC to benefit our family and he is not by gaming. I have given up that argument because he does enjoys gaming and it doesn't harm him. I maintain that neither of us should spend a lot of time on the computer, especially for recreation.

It is really not terrible in moderation...just agree on what moderation is and stick to it. Perhaps you could find other recreational activities for your family so no one has the desire to sit and game all the time?
post #16 of 125
my goodness....

are there actually people out there who think games and TV are GOOD for their 5 year olds?!!

Ashtree, I think you have every right to be adamant about something that you think is not good for your children. Your dh's reasons for wanting them to play games is not compelling IMO. I've heard that argument too many times about bfeeding. "My MIL doesn't want me to bfeed because she didn't bfeed". Come on, it's just not valid. You also hear that argument about circumcision....

And I have to say that there are some things that we just know are not right. We know that being outdoors benefits children. Has there been a study on this? Probably. Do I go and look it up because I'm just not sure? NO! Have any of you looked it up?

TV/Games/Computers for small children (this girl is 5)? I don't think we need a study to know that it's just not that great for her. OK, so Ashtree's dh was looking for a study, fine. There may or may not be one but I think she was posting to get resouces, not to be blasted for feeling strongly about this. I see nothing wrong with her voicing her concerns about the health of her children, especially to her dh!!

And, Ashtree, have you read "The Plug-in Drug" by Marie Winn? That may be a good resource for him to look at.

The dangers of games and TV, etc are more than just the content. It doesn't take a genius or a scientist to observe how children act naturally. A normal child engaged in healthy unstructured play: active, exuberant, alive
A normal child watching TV or playing a video game: zoned out, non-responsive, listless

It's a no-brainer for me which I prefer.
post #17 of 125
Glad you are able to give a little. That is important in the marriage!
post #18 of 125
Originally Posted by ashtree View Post
I think at this point my dh is pretty much demanding evidence that video games are not good. He feels hurt by the whole argument because video games were such a huge part of his childhood and he wants to share that with his children.
This is the part of your posts that really speaks to me---that the gaming is something that your dh did and wants to share it with the kids.

Maybe I'm wrong, but possibly he wasn't gaming at 5 and under. I feel like we as parents have SO many fun/great experiences as children that we can't wait to share with our kids, but we forget that those great experiences happened at an older age for us then when we're introducing these things to our kids.

I don't think it's about what your dh chooses to do in his free time or if you go on the computer/mdc---I'm thinking about that it's time that your dh isn't reading or telling stories, adventuring, or playing outside. As parents we have precious little time with our kids---maybe this is what you can focus on.

Since this is mothering after all here's an article from the mothering site on tv that mentions video as well
post #19 of 125
Jane Healy wrote - Failure to Connect

look it up on Amazon and you might find other similar books.
post #20 of 125
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much to the posters offering websites and book information! That's exactly what I was looking for, but having trouble finding!

I'm relieved to know I'm not the only parent against video games on Mothering.
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