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#1 of 25 Old 02-09-2010, 10:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My DS is turning 7 in April and has asked for a Nintendo DS for his birthday. My DH thinks we should get him one but I am not for it. Just about every kid that age we know has one and nothing irks me more than when we are at their house or at a restaurant and a kid starts playing one of those things. I know that as a parent, you can have limits on when and where it can be played, but I don't want the struggle, KWIM? Grandparents will pitch in so it's not as much a money issue, though that does factor in.

My DH and I have a lot of conflict over parenting (TV, use of technology, discipline) and he is wearing me down with this one. He thinks it is hard to be the only kid without something. DS goes to public school and his peers are pretty mainstream so he already is the "quirky" kid who doesn't do sports or go to church. I think he is becoming more aware of this and wants to fit in. I wonder if this is why he asked for a DS.

Just wanted some thoughts from those that have them on if you think it is a good activity for your kid, pros and cons. Am I over reacting?
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#2 of 25 Old 02-09-2010, 10:48 AM
 
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Mom insisted on getting one for our kids for Christmas a little over a year ago, so they were 4 and 6 at the time. I thought it was a little young, but I have to admit I've been surprised at how responsible they've been with them. I will say this, if you state the limits out clearly at the start, a lot of the struggle doesn't seem to be there. I've discovered they can be wonderful at times (waiting at a dr's office, when the kids are sick and need down time, on road trips, etc.). This is also one of the few things they've had for over a year that they show no signs of getting tired of. Some of the games are inappropriate so you have to watch for that. Really it's like any other electronic device in our house, there's a time limit to it. Pokemon is huge in our house and in this area, and the kids love to be able to keep up with their peers on that, so I do think there is some validity to that argument. Although as an adult we realize that it's important to stand up for our beliefs, as a kid they often just want to fit in and do what the other kids are doing. Ultimately it's your decision, but fwiw overall I haven't regretted my kids having one.
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#3 of 25 Old 02-09-2010, 11:33 AM
 
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Our 7 year old has a ds. We do set limits on it and he's never questioned those limits. The only advice I have is decide the limits before hand and let him know what they are from the start.
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#4 of 25 Old 02-09-2010, 11:47 AM
 
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My 8 y.o. has one, and we have had no problems with it. She has to earn the right to play it by reading, doing chores, etc. If she cleans her room she gets 30 minutes, read for x minutes then she earns x minutes, etc. We have a schedule of minutes earned, and she keeps track of it and has never tried to cheat on it.

I set the rules up before we bought it and she has never questioned them, but she is an extremely rule bound child anyway.

DD: I'm bored and want to play Me: What about me? I can play. DD: No thanks, I mean a real person.
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#5 of 25 Old 02-09-2010, 12:17 PM
 
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DS, age 7.5 got one for Christmas this year. I have to say I'm really surprised he doesn't want to play it for hours on end We haven't needed to set any time limits. I honestly am thankful for it on long car rides.

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#6 of 25 Old 02-09-2010, 12:26 PM
 
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I agree with the PPs -- if you set up guidelines from the start, it shouldn't be a problem. Ours is weekends only (and illness or trips).

It's fun! And there are lots of good games. But I guess my general stance is, there's nothing wrong with a little media mixed in with everything else. Of course, YMMV.
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#7 of 25 Old 02-09-2010, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies...What I forgot to say is that my kid already spends what I consider too much time on the computer. He tends to get really into and it's a struggle to get him off.

I like the idea of setting time limits before he starts using it. We let him use our iphone apps in doctors offices and restaurants already and we don't go on but one long car trip a year so I guess mainly I figure he gets enough gaming as it is...
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#8 of 25 Old 02-09-2010, 12:41 PM
 
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So LOVE the ds

There are actually a lot of games where they have to do a lot of reading, and with my DS that's a great thing overall. I guess he doesn't count it as reading if it's on the computer or on the ds.

I actually made him chip up a substantial bit of the coinage by saving money and he buys all of his own games (either by saving his meager 3/wk allowance and buying used or stashing gift cards from nana and papa). We have a "technology limit" in the house that is indifferent to whether it's the computer, ds, or tv.... it's an all encompassing limit. His ds is by far his most favorite possession and the one we usually run out of time with Why I love it so much is that it really provides such an effective form of discipline. I mean seriously, he starts acting like a jerk, and he knows bam it's gone. i think it's really gone more than it's not because we're pretty strict with expectations and he's going through his teenage years i swear at 9. I think the biggest issue i have with it is that the kids will literally get together and then play their ds's together. Thankfully, all the parents he's friends with are relatively of the same mind and it's been pretty universally banned with all other video games during play dates. I mean what's the point of getting together if you're just going to play video games as far as we're concerned?

I do think you are 100% right in being overly cautious though in introducing. I think it is hard to avoid 100%. I'm a big proponent of allowing this kind of stuff but having a lot of good hard discussions about moderation, appropriateness, etc. Just my two cents
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#9 of 25 Old 02-09-2010, 12:53 PM
 
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It has been helpful for us in public places because it does allow my son to get absorbed into his own world. He has Aspergers and he gets overwhelmed at times.

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#10 of 25 Old 02-09-2010, 01:17 PM
 
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DS1 has a DS. We won't let him play a game we haven't vetted, but there are lots out there to choose from.

We have a total screen time per day limit and DS1 can determine how he splits that up. We also have restrictions about what he can choose for his screen time when his younger siblings are awake and the DS is not allowed until after they go to bed.

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#11 of 25 Old 02-09-2010, 01:19 PM
 
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I sometimes struggle to get my son off the computer as well, but, not so much with the DS.

My mom bought him one for Christmas, and we were very firm when we told him that when it was time to turn it off, it went off. (If he needs to save, he is allowed to get to a save point, but we're watching him play/end play during this time.)

The down side for us has been that the games that we agree on expensive. $30-40 new, and we didn't find anything we wanted 'used' under $20.

For now he only has 2 DS games, I-Spy (which his 4 yr old sister is learning to play) and Super Collapse 3. We're making a list and watching ebay for the games we want.

But, the Gameboy Advance games work in the DS, which he has a few of, and which can be MUCH cheaper on the re-sale. He chose to get Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for $5! It's his current favorite, and it's the one he will play for an hour straight, and looks forward to earning.

Yes, he earns up to an hour of play, seems like a lot, but it gives me some time to be one on one with my daughter. He cooperates with a positive attitude and focuses on school work when he really wants to play. I can't really complain about that. A lot of times we struggle to have a school day like that so if we can be finished with 4 lessons in 2-3 hours (which is average for our really good days), I think he deserves an hour of free time, if he choses to spend it on the DS, I'm cool with that

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#12 of 25 Old 02-09-2010, 01:50 PM
 
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DH and I are computer geeks, so our kids are well versed on the computer as well. Really, it just depends on their mood. For the first few weeks it was the DS only, but now it's a toss up between that or the computer. They know there's only so much time they can play on the electronic games, and it includes both. Like a pp mentioned we do allow them time to save their spot. I figure that's basic courtesy - if I worked hard on a game I'd be unhappy to lose all that work too! I forgot to mention that the one big thing DH asked for this year at Christmas was a DS of his own! There are some decent games for adults, but he likes to play Pokemon with the kids and trade characters back and forth and so on. While it bugs me sometimes, it's also time DH spends with the kids stepping into their world for a while.
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#13 of 25 Old 02-09-2010, 02:10 PM
 
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We have two DSi's and one DS (I would recommend the DSi). It wasn't that long ago that we were TV-free, and game system-free -- but now we have one TV (no cable), a wii, and the 3 handheld games. I think, for the most part, it has been a good thing. My kids go through spurts of using their DS's more frequently, and then they won't even touch it for like a week. We originally bought them for a long 11+ hour car ride, and wow, what a difference. They also come in handy when waiting at restaurants, or in line anywhere. I don't set limits (ie this amount of time per day), or otherwise control their usage, except that my 6 yo has had his taken away before for behavoir issues (not related to the game system, but I was frustrated and it was my reaction b/c I know how much he does enjoy it, and I was trying to make sure he understood what he did was completely unacceptable).

Basically, I have no regrets getting the DS's for the kids. I really dislike those tiny game cartridges, though, which is one of the reasons I would recommend a DSi. At least then you can download games that stay on the hard drive/SD card. $35 for a small, near invisible stinkin' game that is going to get lost or washed in a pair of pants, drives me nutty. (oh, but I do recommend Gamestop for used games, at least then it's not so much $$.)

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#14 of 25 Old 02-09-2010, 04:03 PM
 
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Our son got a DS for Christmas and it's been fine. He's 6. The restaurant use thing makes me crazy too - I want to talk to my son if we're out - but he's just not allowed to take it to restaurants.

However, we had already introduced online computer games before the DS and things were going fine with that. He was limited to 10 minutes a day (I know - so little!) and he could earn extra time with beans he gets for doing chores, etc. We had this system in place and we all liked it.

In your situation, I would be more hesitant. It isn't the DS that is the problem - it's that your family is already conflicted about screen time. Maybe you, DH and DS could work to find a solution that you are all happy with and go with that for awhile before introducing something new. Right now, you are not happy and I can only imagine that a new technology will be a new reason for you to be unhappy.
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#15 of 25 Old 02-09-2010, 06:29 PM
 
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Both of my kids have DSs. We aren't an anti-media family, though we do try to do so in moderation. DS was 7 when he got his, DD was 5 1/2. They are used primarily in the car because the commute to/from school is about 30-45 minutes each way and this cuts way down on car conflicts (I can't talk to them while I drive -- this is So. CA freeway jungle time). They are both allowed (encouraged) to take them when we are headed somewhere that I know the kids will be bored. For example, waiting for doctors, waiting for me to finish a meeting, hanging out at church while I am working on a project that they can't necessarily help with, waiting for sibling to finish a class or something. They spend a lot of time "tagging along" to events that aren't for them -- things that I would have taken a book to as a child but DD isn't a good reader yet and DS doesn't enjoy reading much. Frankly, I view them as more of a convenience for me rather than a toy for them.

I do insist on previewing games before they play and set limits on the types of games I will permit. I don't set playing time limits mostly because of where they are mostly used have a set ending time anyway.

I do think there is something to be said for allowing some things so that a child can fit it with peers. I have seen many teens who's parents were super restrictive and they can be at a social disadvantage. There are some things that I would say are worth the struggle, but this one doesn't rise to that level for me.
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#16 of 25 Old 02-09-2010, 11:11 PM
 
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My 5 yo old has one, I don't see what's the big deal about it. There are some really good games out there and you can find some used cheap games.

She's allowed to take it to places I know she'll get bored or on long plane or car rides. I think it's perfect for those ocassions. I don't put limits on playing time becuase she won't play all day, she'll get bored.

Sometimes I don't understand the high levels of restriction some parents have.

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#17 of 25 Old 02-10-2010, 12:08 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mami to 3 :) View Post

Sometimes I don't understand the high levels of restriction some parents have.

For us the high restrictions have to do with what I call "behavior retaliation". If ds (or dd) have 'too much' screen time, they get whiney, and rude, and I don't really appreciate it. I'm being "nice" and allowing them tv/movies/computer/games and don't really need attitude as my "thank you for allowing me the time to do something I enjoy mom!"

So have to set pretty firm boundries. It's not just the ds, but it's everything, including, sadly, going to the park. Because when I say 'we're leaving in 15 minutes...10 minutes...5 minutes...ok, last call for a swing/slide, or a quick lap around because it's time to go!" I'm ready to leave now, not after repeating myself a million times only to be "thanked" by the children having a tantrum.

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#18 of 25 Old 02-10-2010, 03:47 AM
 
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Sometimes I don't understand the high levels of restriction some parents have.
Well, my DS is one who would literally choose screen time every time, even though he ends up grumpy if he plays too much. Every kid's different, you know? For our family, it works to limit. He's happier, we're happier.

Momma to 8 y.o. DS and 5 y.o. DD. Married to a Maker!

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#19 of 25 Old 02-10-2010, 09:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I guess for us it isn't the DS in itself (I don't dislike the idea of it over TV or computer games) but after a day of school and homework (not much this year but there wil be more) I have a hard enough time getting him to do chores and go outside and play. There are only so many hours play time in his day.

My DH and I split days that we are home after school with the kids and he isn't so great about getting kids to get done what they need to and limiting their screen time. I guess that would be a whole other thread in parents as partners...

Though it might be effective, the idea of getting something DS likes so that we can take it away for infractions kinda bothers me...DH had put this out there as another reason to get the DS.

Thanks for the feedback...
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#20 of 25 Old 02-10-2010, 03:22 PM
 
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DS is 8 and got a DSi for Christmas this year. He plays with it sporadically. It was very useful today when school is closed for snow, but I still wanted to go to the YMCA. I ran laps around the indoor track, and he sat on a bench and played with his DS (alternating with shooting hoops on the court the track encircles). He doesn't abuse it at all, but he's not a "sitting still" kind of kid anyway. He plays with it mostly on long car rides and while his sister is at gymnastics class, which we watch from an observation room. Oh, and FWIW, DS is almost entirely TV-free.

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#21 of 25 Old 02-15-2010, 08:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Indigomama View Post
I think the biggest issue i have with it is that the kids will literally get together and then play their ds's together.
Wait until they are older, then they will get together to listen to their ipods!

One of the things I like about my ds, (I am 26 and a gaming geek married to a 27 year old gamer) is that the games usually offer cooperative play, meaning that my ds will send a minigame signal to my husband's ds and then we can play against each other in a mini battle. We haven't tried the full version, and we can only afford one game cartridge, but we really enjoy it when we are waiting to do things. Also on long car rides, one person plays while one person drives. The only thing I dislike is the price of games. It's hard to come up with the money, even for used games, so I like to rent first if I can to make sure it's a worthwhile purchase.
I can understand your hesitance if your dc has an aversion to the end of his technology time, and I want to second what a pp suggested about it being on the weekends. Some of the games are very educational, in a fun and interesting way, and it is very easy to get sucked in.

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#22 of 25 Old 02-17-2010, 02:12 AM
 
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My 5-year-old got one for Christmas. My 16-year-old nephew outgrew his and gave it to us with quite a few games to give to our son. I have mixed feelings about it, as he loves it SO much that it can be hard for him to break away from. Here's how we've handled it:

1. Although my nephew gave us 6-or-so games for it, we only gave him one game. We didn't want it to be endlessly entertaining. He has Mario Kart, and that's it. (Unfortunately, we are learning that he has a really incredible capacity for playing Mario Kart).

2. We also let him "earn" his time--up to 30 minutes a day--by doing other things like reading, puzzles, chores, et cetera.

3. If he "freaks out" when his time is up, or simply doesn't turn it off when we tell him it's time (we're reasonable and let him finish his lap/game/whatever, and we always warn him that he has 10 minutes, 5 minutes, 1 minute), we put it away for awhile (from several days to several weeks).

And this is what gives me the most pause. When we put it away for a while, he doesn't seem to ask for it--he seems to accept, relatively easily, that it's just not an option. But when it's a part of his daily-or-nearly-daily life, he seems obsessed with it. This makes me want it to just go away indefinitely. We won't likely get rid of it, but right now it's "away" (going on 3 weeks) and I'm not in any hurry to get it back out. In fact, the plan was to give him another game for his birthday (a week ago), but it had been away for a couple weeks at that point and he wasn't asking for it, so we opted not to bring it up by introducing a new game.

Anyway, I don't think it's a horrible idea, but I also often wish we hadn't given it to him. If your child self-moderates pretty well, and you're comfortable with him playing it a bit, I don't think it's a terrible idea, and it sounds like he would certainly enjoy it.
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#23 of 25 Old 02-17-2010, 04:51 AM
 
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my dd asked for a ds. actually now dsi. for the amount of work she has done (asked mostly friends and others which one to buy, what games to play) i feel she deserves the DSi.

i will perhaps give the first month or so of unlimited play. but before i did that i would let her know that i would not like her to spend too much time on the DSI because of eye and finger/wrist issues.

she understands. now she plays on my facebook those games and she self regulates.

but she gets the plans and restrictions done way before she starts.

plus dd is part of the new communications age. she gains technological knowledge it seems by osmosis. i may struggle for a week but seh will do it as if she has been doing it all her life.

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#24 of 25 Old 02-17-2010, 02:51 PM
 
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Mine got them when they were about your child's age. Although I fought it, it hasn't been the end of the world. We are much more restrictive about screen time overall than most of their peers' parents, but we have high levels of restriction about lots of things. So we let them DS for a hours a week. I think it's pretty harmless and they enjoy it. It does come in handy for things like waiting in the doctor's office.

I have to agree with your husband that I think it does sometimes suck to be the only kid without something. That doesn't mean that I give our kids everything their colleagues have, but I do sympathize with them.

I know that I used to actually think that if we gave them enriched, art and music filled, academically challenging lives that they wouldn't crave all the same crap their friends had.
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#25 of 25 Old 02-17-2010, 03:57 PM
 
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For those who have time limits, what are the limits and what's the age of the child. I'm looking at getting one for DS's bday in March but want to figure a few things out first.

And, school me on the DS, is the DSi worth the extra $? What do I need to know? DS has played on a cousins once and he keeps asking for one without the "pen", I'm assuming he's talking about the stylus, but is that the original DS not the one that's available now, right? I've never been into video games before, I have a lot to learn!
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