Why am I so resistant to this (or maybe, help me get over it)? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 14 Old 06-17-2011, 07:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 7yo ds plays online games at Jumpstart. We have been using only the free membership. He wants to pay for the premium membership, or whatever it's called, so he can access more things on the site. I don't want to pay for it. I don't understand why the free version isn't good enough. He said he'd pay for it with his own money, which he has plenty of.

They have a monthly, annual and lifetime membership. The longer memberships cost less in the long run. He can only afford to pay monthly. That bothers me because it's the more expensive deal (in the long run) so I don't want him to do it. However, it's his money and he should be able to spend it on whatever he wants. There's certainly nothing wrong or bad about this.

So, why am I so resistant to it? Why is it bothering me so much?

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#2 of 14 Old 06-17-2011, 07:32 PM
 
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What part do you think is bothering you?

 

Is it that you think he'll step over the line with an acceptable amount of screentime so that 5 years down the road you are fighting about this and you are back in the forums posting for help in determining what exactly unschooling entails and have you gone overboard into the realm of bad parenting?  Read the thread about "what is the line between laziness and radical unschooling" for a preview!

 

Is it that you think he's squandering his money?  If so, how is he getting enough to afford this on his own?  Birthday money?  Allowance?  If it's his birthday money, is there something else you'd rather he spend it on, something you can snap a picture of and send to a happy grandma?  If allowance, do you think you give him too much?  

 

Does he have an older sibling or best friend who is influencing him?  Does part of you regret introducing video games in the first place?

 

*I really do think you need to decide what really is bothering you and talk about it!*  

     Screentime?  I might say that by letting him play these games that I was not wanting this to take up so much of his time, and that by subscribing you are afraid it will increase his screentime to an unacceptable level for you, and you and he will need to discuss limits.

     Squandering money?  Tell him the birthday money was intended for something else and grandma won't be pleased that he spent his money on this.  

     And if it's allowance?   Tell him now he's earning so much that you expect him to start designating some of it for savings, then let him spend the rest in the way he chooses.  Here's our take on allowance:  allowance in our house is for learning about money (and self-control!), so chores do not earn you more money.  They do what they want with their money, except we have limits on buying candy.  (If it hurts when your kids squander their money, you're paying them too much.)  They get one quarter for each year:  DD1 gets 6, DD2 gets 4.  (The Tooth Fairy gives extra allowance for each tooth.)  

     


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#3 of 14 Old 06-18-2011, 03:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not worried about screen time. My kids have a healthy balance, I think. Also, I've seen the long-term results of allowing aIl the screen time desired to a child/teen who others said had a video game addiction. It did not turn out disastrous as was predicted.

The monthly subscription for the game is only $7.99 a month. We give $1.00 per year for allowance each week. He's 7 so he gets $7.00 a week. So, he can easily pay for a monthly membership and have plenty of money left over. It's squandering the money that bothers me but it's just my opinion that the money is being squandered. Like I said, I don't see why the free membership isn't adequate. Why the need to be able to access more of the same? I have to admit I don't get the appeal of games, anyway, whether online or not. At this moment, this seems to be important to him and I don't want to discount that.

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#4 of 14 Old 06-18-2011, 05:49 AM
 
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We had a Jumpstart membership for a year. I went ahead and paid for that because I knew one month wouldn't be enough. My kids used it frequently, though certainly not daily or even weekly.

So I just asked my DS (9) what was so much better about the membership than the free. Apparently there are a whole series of areas and games that are not accessible via the free account. The child reaches a limit fairly quickly on the free version and it becomes frustrating not to be able to move on.


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#5 of 14 Old 06-18-2011, 07:39 AM
 
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You could front him the money for an annual and decrease his allowance by an appropriate amount so the family isn't wasting money on the higher priced monthly.  But I would hesitate to do a longer membership because he might move on to something else by the time a year is up.  Or let him do a month or two and see whether he thinks it's worth it.  They do set up these things so the free membership is almost like a teaser and you don't get the full experience without paying.


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#6 of 14 Old 06-18-2011, 07:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by LauraN View Post

We had a Jumpstart membership for a year. I went ahead and paid for that because I knew one month wouldn't be enough. My kids used it frequently, though certainly not daily or even weekly.

Maybe I should just spring for that after letting him try it for a month if he wants to continue. I can't remember the cost for the annual membership. I think the lifetime was $149.99. Or, was that the annual? Anyway, it costs less in the long run than paying monthly. My kids play in spurts.

I think another reason I'm resistant is that we've paid for things on Clone Wars Adventures and Wizard101 just to have them disappear. I had to call Clone Wars help the other day because we couldn't log in and I couldn't get any password or account help without logging in. Not sure what happened but somehow our accounts got associated with another email. The CS guy tried to reassure me that our account was not hacked and implied that maybe I registered the accounts with a different email address. Considering I haven't had a different email address for about 4 years and we just joined Clone Wars maybe a year or so ago, that's just not possible. He did get one account restored and associated with my email but said the other doesn't seem to have ever existed. Interesting since my ds used to use it a lot.

With Wizard101, my ds bought a bunch of pets that mysteriously disappeared. We did eventually get them back but it took a lot of work on my part and I am nowhere near that computer game savvy. No one at the help desk was able to find them. I just happened on them accidentally.

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#7 of 14 Old 06-18-2011, 07:49 AM
 
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For my kids allowance is a tool for learning, a place to make small mistakes with money (rather than big expensive mistakes at age 18 or 25) and learn from them. This is a great learning opportunity for your ds. He can wait a few months, saving his money, and buy the annual membership, or he can subscribe now and possibly pay more over the long-term. On the other hand, if his interest in premium content only lasts four or five months, he'll spend less in total going month by month. So there are good reasons to consider both alternatives and making a choice and living with the repercussions will definitely be an educational experience for him. I honestly think it's all good.

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#8 of 14 Old 06-18-2011, 08:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post

You could front him the money for an annual and decrease his allowance by an appropriate amount so the family isn't wasting money on the higher priced monthly.  But I would hesitate to do a longer membership because he might move on to something else by the time a year is up.  Or let him do a month or two and see whether he thinks it's worth it.  They do set up these things so the free membership is almost like a teaser and you don't get the full experience without paying.


I did think of all of this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

For my kids allowance is a tool for learning, a place to make small mistakes with money (rather than big expensive mistakes at age 18 or 25) and learn from them. This is a great learning opportunity for your ds. He can wait a few months, saving his money, and buy the annual membership, or he can subscribe now and possibly pay more over the long-term. On the other hand, if his interest in premium content only lasts four or five months, he'll spend less in total going month by month. So there are good reasons to consider both alternatives and making a choice and living with the repercussions will definitely be an educational experience for him. I honestly think it's all good.

Miranda

And I agree with this, too. That's why I think it's important to let him have his own money to spend however he wants (almost).

It all seems very reasonable, which is why I don't quite get why I'm so resistant to doing any of it. A few more things that came to my mind as I've been thinking more about this and reading your responses. It kind of bothers me that these things are set up as teasers with the goal being to lure kids into getting their parents to spend money on them. I understand that there's no reason why the people or companies who develop these games shouldn't make money. I guess it just irks me the way it's advertised as this great free experience but is really set up so that you can't do much of anything without paying for the premium membership.

The other thing that bothers me is that I don't really have the money right now to buy a longer membership. Money is tight right now, largely because I way overspent when I first started getting into unschooling, justifying all the spending by saying it was learning for my kids. So now I've been trying to reign in my spending wrt that.

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#9 of 14 Old 06-18-2011, 09:30 AM
 
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if he has played thru all the free levels on that particular site can you find him some other free sites to play thru? there are a myriad of websites listing cool free games/apps for learning. does your library carry kids software?


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#10 of 14 Old 06-18-2011, 06:50 PM
 
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And please please please don't mention to my kids that your kids get 1.00 per year every week instead of a quarter! coolshine.gif

 

We also get teasers in the mail, and commercials have been baiting children since when I was a kid.  In this way we subscribed to the Highlights "PuzzleBuzz" and "Puzzlemania".  Some teasers we just have to say no too, and we are thankful that the kids don't watch videos with commercials, other families must have constant battles over these kinds of things.


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#11 of 14 Old 06-18-2011, 06:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

And please please please don't mention to my kids that your kids get 1.00 per year every week instead of a quarter! coolshine.gif


Hehe

I can certainly look for other games. I don't really know if our library has computer game software for his age. We don't go to the library much.

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#12 of 14 Old 06-20-2011, 07:46 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarineWife View PostIt kind of bothers me that these things are set up as teasers with the goal being to lure kids into getting their parents to spend money on them. I understand that there's no reason why the people or companies who develop these games shouldn't make money. I guess it just irks me the way it's advertised as this great free experience but is really set up so that you can't do much of anything without paying for the premium membership.

The other thing that bothers me is that I don't really have the money right now to buy a longer membership. Money is tight right now, largely because I way overspent when I first started getting into unschooling, justifying all the spending by saying it was learning for my kids. So now I've been trying to reign in my spending wrt that.

IKWYM.  Ds plays one game where you can spend real money to get upgrades rather than just slowly accruing points.  He asks me why he can't use his money to buy the upgrades.  The whole idea bugs the hell out of me.  I don't mind paying for a well designed game but this sort of thing turns into whoever is willing to spend the most money wins.  And I understand when they let you play a few levels for free to see if you like it before buying.  I've told ds that I am not willing to give my credit card information to game sites so buying upgrades isn't going to happen.  We've been known to do a bit of research to find other games that would appeal to him to take his focus off others.
 

 


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#13 of 14 Old 06-20-2011, 07:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't mind paying for a well designed game but this sort of thing turns into whoever is willing to spend the most money wins.

Yeah, maybe that's part of it, when the game becomes about money rather than skill.

I need to look for other games.

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#14 of 14 Old 06-20-2011, 08:46 AM
 
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I paid for the jumpstart for awhile, and then decided I just didn't want to do it anymore.  Teasers bug me, too, about as much as commercials around the holidays do.  While I paid for it, the majority of the time not only my kids, but the 4 next door kids all used it (I could make accounts for all of them).  They LOVED it, but as w/most things, eventually they went on to something else.  I tried to get my son to get interested in the Lego Universe one instead, but he had decided that he didn't want to play--this from my Lego freak!  LU is a never ending game, so I thought it was well worth the $, esp. for my son who can beat any game at all in no time. 

 

If you have a Wii, maybe your son would be interested in glitches:  Ways to make the game do things most people don't know about.  He has learned great searching skills (and it has helped tremendously with his spelling!) by going online to search for new glitches.  Then he learns how to do them and then applies them to the games he already has.  His big one now is Mario glitches.  He beat the Mario galaxy game a long time ago, but this is a way for him to still use it and keep engaged instead of buying a new game.  I'm sure it can be done w/other systems, too, but this is what we have here.  I don't play them myself at all.


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