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#1 of 3 Old 05-07-2003, 08:29 PM
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Hi! Since we moved to southern California, 1 !/2 years ago, a playdate for my nine-year-old son means video games or side by side gameboy. The boys just sit on the couch staring at the screen, pushing buttons and barely interacting. What is the point of getting together? Since we don't have these games, boys sometimes bring mutiple gameboys in their backpacks or phone their moms who come running over with their game consoles unless I put a stop to it. These kids don't seem to want or know how to do anything else. Unlike our former Oak Park, Illinois neighborhood, here, children are seldom seen outdoors even though the weather is beautiful every day. I can keep video games out of my own home but my son wants to play at other homes, too. What is your policy about video games and what advice do you have for finding kids who want to run, build forts and play together instead of staring at a screen? (People here let there kids bring gameboys to multifamily dinners in restaurants where they barely eat much less join the conversation!!)
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#2 of 3 Old 05-08-2003, 02:42 AM
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LOL, I'm from SoCal, and have been in IL (north suburbs) for the past year and a half.

Here, I see kids w/gameboys at the dinner table; acutally, my inlaws have their son do this (dh's younger brother, he's 13)! And when my ds1, who is 10, goes over there, they have him bring his gameboy! Drives me insane on so many levels. Not only is gamboy at dinner or the mall etc. completely overkill and unnecessary, it's RUDE!

Anyway, we do have a playstation, and a gameboy. But, he is limited to how much time he gets on it. And, he'd much rather be outside or with friends. Where we live now, most of the kids enjoy playing outside, or if indoors with creative stuff (action figures, cars, etc.). I've noticed that the older kids, 9+, do spend an awful lot of time on playstation, while younger kids go outside more. When ds's friend asks him to come over, ds states right away that he can't play ps or watch tv; but they can do something outside or play indoors. Our rule is no ps/tv/computer games until 7pm. On weekends he can use the ps/tv etc. in the morning for a few hours, usually two.

So, advice? Well, we do bend the rules on occassion. If the weather's been crummy and ds has been reading all day, and a friend comes over, sometimes we'll break the 7pm rule and let them play. Usually, though, his friends come over and play in his room, with the dog, outside........the gameboy isn't an issue becasue we don't really allow it. Oh, we do let him play educational computer games (Oregon Trail and such), so sometimes they do that.

It's really hard, though. I think the key is the parents; let them know that you don't want them to bring their gameboy/ps over! Though if the parents are rushing over to deliver it; maybe they wont' be much help. Ugh. I'm not very useful, sorry.

To find like minded kids, try your local park district classes; my ds took chess, art, cooking, etc., and that way he's likely to meet kids who are more into creative stuff.
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#3 of 3 Old 05-09-2003, 03:47 PM
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You can only control what happens in your home and how much time your children spend in other homes. I've never let my kids go to homes where there is any smoking. We live in Indiana where smoking is very common so they hardly ever went to anyone else's home anyway.

One of my sons had a friend whose family didn't have a TV. Both of his parents worked 80 hours a week and he spent a lot of time at our house and his parents tried to make comments about him not watching TV at our house. The kids didn't watch much TV but I think the TV he watched at our house (mostly educational shows or sci fi) seved somewhat as a cultural education. Perhaps being exposed to video games at other homes is enough to make your kids not feel video game 'illiterate.'
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