Please help me think through this. My ds1 will be 9 next week, ds2 is 5. I've always been anti-video games because I feel that it encourages habitual lethargy and reduces children's ability to think of fun creative play to do instead.
My other concerns:
- - Ds1 seems to be particularly prone to wanting only screen time in place of any other activity. I try to limit TV/computer time, but it inevitably averages out to more than 2hours/day over the course of a week.
- - Limiting TV/computer time is a huge struggle between ds1 and I. I know some people feel that we should let our children monitor themselves, but I believe it truly depends on the child. Ds2 only watches a little and then gets bored with it. Ds1 would and has watched TV all day. I'm not worried about ds2, only ds1 and his intense disposition to for media dependency.
- - We have a 'no TV in the middle of the day' rule but dh does not want to limit playing Wii (if we get one) to only evenings, which I worry means that it will not be used as a replacement for TV, but rather more likely in addition.... meaning more screen time.
- - It's active and interactive, but it still reinforces a habit of screen time.
Ok. So, call me a total bummer (dh does!), but I feel strongly about these things. I grew up with very, very limited tv and I now watch virtually none while dh grew up with no limits and he watches it all day, all night and is (I feel) rather stunted by it both physically, socially and intellectually. I know I can't generalize over just our own examples, but from what I've seen with other people and children, these are the conclusions I have drawn.
- - The kids may get up on the weekends and play the Wii, which is more physical than sitting watching TV.
- - We can play some games together
- - Dh might play some games with them rather than watch TV with them.
- - It could potentially reduce the total suff of STUFF the kids get for Christmas (another contencious issue with me))
So, I'd love to hear from anti-video gamers and pro-Wii'ers.
Please help me think this through! Dh and I have such divergent values that it becomes too tense to discuss the pros and cons like reasonable adults :)
Thank you in advance!!
We've had a Wii since they first came out. DS isn't allowed to play it during the week at all. Only on weekends. And then we're often busy (sports, birthday parties). There are some Saturdays where I realize that he's been playing for two hours in a row, but it hasn't been that big a problem for us.
In your situation, though, I don't know. If your DH really isn't willing to discuss and enforce limits, I might hesitate. It's definitely addictive to boys of a certain personality type. (And my DS is one!)
Momma to 8 y.o. DS and 5 y.o. DD. Married to a Maker!
We have a wii and we all play it together. Yes, there are some games where you just sit, but there are also good, active games, like wii fit, wii active, etc. The bowling is fun to play altogther and you're definitely up for that. There are a LOT of good deals now, so if you're on the fence at all, nows the time to get one. I like the wii fit plus for me - it keeps track of exercises, weight, etc., and is a real workout - ifdone right.
I've never liked video games, mainly because I've known people who spend every spare moment in front of their gaming system. It does leave a bad taste in your mouth. :(
But I gave in and got my 8 year old a Wii for his birthday. He played it at his dad's house and had been talking about it for a long time. He actually hasn't overdone it at all at my house. He seems fine being limited to an hour or so at a time, and only seems to play a couple of times a week. His favorite (actually, the only games we own) are the Lego games. He alternates between Lego Indiana Jones, Lego Batman, and Lego Star Wars. All are rated E for everyone and are more tame than the movies they are based on, and they have options for 2-player, so you can play too. It really has been more fun than I expected.
We have a wii, but it is only allowed on the weekends, and is limited during the week during the summer. I do feel my 9 yo son would rather play wii (currently in LOVE with Madden 09 and 10, which I have to say has made him a real expert on football, whatever that is worth) than do almost anything else, but I think he also feels lucky to have one, since he knows I"m really anti video games in general (I told him he couldn't have a ds b/c I just feel they are antisocial.) He is always obliged to include his 5 yo sister if she asks, and to switch over to wii fit if she wants. they love the balance games, and my son also likes the yoga and strength stuff, and I like trying them too. So it has been a mixed bag for us (I feel bad when my 2 girls are playing some imaginary game and he is playing wii by himself, totally absorbed in his own little world), but it has made our son really happy...
We had a Wii for a while and it was a lot of fun. We all played some of the games together. They were all pretty innocent, non-violent stuff. I really like the Wii Fit and Wii Sports games and they were fun to play as a family. The kids played a lot of Rock Band (or maybe it was Guitar Hero, can't recall). The console and t.v. didn't come with us when we moved internationally, but we've intended on replacing it. If it was a choice between watching t.v. or playing on the Wii, I'd pick the Wii since it's more interactive.
HOWEVER, no one in our family really plays video or computer games on a regular basis, so over-indulging isn't a concern here at all. We used to buy them computer games like Zoo Tycoon etc. They played them a little, but never obsessively. I can understand your hesitation if you think it will be a problem in your family. If you think you can all agree on some reasonable time limits and stick with them, then it's a fun activity to have in the house.
We are (currently) no-screen here, but I would perhaps consider a Wii. It would be important to me to put some limits on it though, especially if my dc (like your ds1) were likely to want to spend all day playing it. I think this is all about having a talk with your dh, and trying to reach consensus. It sounds like it's very important to you that if you do get the Wii it doesn't add to the screen-time, but rather replaces tv watching. Have you tried bringing this up with dh yet? A system I've thought about instituting (when my youngest is a bit older and will understand), is some sort of ticket or token system whereby they have a certain number of hours a week to "spend" and once they're done they're done. You can also have other limits, like only after homework is done, only on the weekends or whatever works for you. But, of course, whatever system or limits you want to employ have to be honored by your dh as well. At the very least do you think you could get him to agree that Wii time shouldn't be in addition to tv time? That would mean that you are "giving" a bit by allowing the Wii in your home, and he is "giving" a bit by agreeing to impose some limits. I know it's going to be hard to come to consensus on this (sounds like you and your dh are coming from pretty different view-points), but it seems crucial. Maybe some other wise mamas will chime in with some ideas of how to discuss it!
Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010
I think you need to work on parental discipline first.
If you can't/won't enforce firm limits without this additional choice, I don't see this going well, and I see a lot of misplaced blame is going to be put on the gaming system.
Your son is old enough to understand that the Wii is harder to be disciplined about than TV--so you're going to need more cooperation from him or else he's not going to be on it very much if you get one and he cranks up the 'tude. HOWEVER, the biggest problem I see is that you're upset about screen time "slipping" to 14+ hours a week right now, even though you're "trying" to limit it. (It is limiting it, keeping it to 2 hours a day, but I get the impression that you are unhappy with that amount.) I think you need to get and implement strategies now before you add something of higher intensity to the lineup. Though, you may find that kids will very happily negotiate weekday screen time away for slightly more time ont he weekends if they can play Wii/DS/ect---that's certainly happened in our family. Our kids have a finite amount per week, and there is no Wii/DS on school days. The weekends have other activities, so there is less opportunity to play anyway, so in actually their screen time has gone down (but does come in larger chunks).
But, we are a lot stricter than some parents on MDC. No problems at all removing privledges for first offense, ect. I've found that to be the only strategy that works with my kids. Everyone's kids are a little differen though.
We're thinking about getting our boys a Wii for Christmas. And we have several other video game systems, so we obviously don't have a problem with them in general.
We do have limits though. During the week, they don't play. Unless one or the other is home sick or home for some other reason. Weekends are for movies, tv and video games. Dh and I don't watch much during the week either so it's easy to just not have it on. If you do get it, I would set out the rules in the very beginning.
We got a wii for our two boys last year for xmas. They have a choice after they finish their homework on school days- 1/2 show, 1/2 of video games (could be wii, ds, computer or iphone). It has worked out fine. At first they were all about wii, then ds and now iphone games. It goes in stages depending on which system has a new game. My younger son will happily give up screen time to go out and play. My older son does tend to lean towards reading and playing video games, but will enjoy himself after being talked into going out to play.
DS is 8 and we've had a Wii for two years. His interest in it comes and goes. I really depends on what games he is interested in at the moment. He did use it quite a bit for exercise last winter (Wii Fit, Wii Sport Resort, Walk It Out and a couple others). I actually prefer the Wii for the most part over him just watching TV, it is much more interactive. There are plenty of kid friendly games out there. I have a feeling your DH will like it just as much, if not more than, your kids, and that is probably influencing his desire to have you buy it for them.
We had a wii for over a year (it broke, and we are getting a new one for Christmas), and I didn't have an issue with it making the kids lethargic or obsessive. Their interest in it went in waves; if my oldest DS got a new game, he might play it a lot (every day) for about a week or two, and then other times, he would literally go weeks without even touching the wii. My other 3 kids played the wii, overall, even less than that DS - so, really, it was never a problem with them wanting to do nothing but that. If they had to chose between riding bikes outside and playing the wii, they would pick bikes, for sure. Seriously, I found myself begging them to sit down and play the wii (or stand there, if it was a more active game), b/c my kids are very high energy at times. Same with TV/movies. I know that's anti-MDC, but sometimes I just want them to remain in one place for longer than 30 seconds.
If you do get a wii, there is no reason you can't impose limits on it's use... which should help with most of your concerns (except disagreeing with your DH about it).
My kids got the wii as a gift.Only the sports games got them moving. If we could get a different system I would want xbox 360 with kinect. I like that the camera picks up your movements.Maybe wii will make something similar so we don't need the remote or board.
Use goes up with a new game.There can be days/weeks the machine is never turned on.We have a playstation 2 and nintendo ds(gifts). I know some kids want to play 24/7,but I have never had that issue with mine.I think it is a year since dd played her nintendo!
I would say get it and step in to limit if the kids are playing hours a day.Just remember a new game will mean a bit more playing for a short time.
And keep the machine unplugged when you are done.I have read of fires.
We bought a box at goodwill that the kids painted and labeled the "Saving for a Wii Box". They earned a dollar every time I had daycare kids over (as long as they were not totally disruptive) and then paid for it with the money they earned. We have a strict "wii is for weekends" policy, and my son really looks forward to kicking off the weekend with a Friday afternoon wii session and waking up to play on Saturday mornings. It does take some time away from creative play, but for the most part replaces TV time. Also, (not my GDest/ MDCest habit, I admit) but as my oldest has grown we have found that behavior issues (like using bad language around younger kids) can be resolved pretty easily by taking away wii priviledges.
My favorite part about the wii - you can use it to watch netflix instant on the TV!
We have a Wii. We didn't set limits, in fact we said play it as much as you want. And they did. For about two days. It was summer though and they wanted to swim more than be inside.
But even now that it's cold we picked up a couple new games and said the same thing. Go for it. The next afternoon they were out in the stream building a dam.
I'd get it, let them play it like crazy for a few days until the novelty wears off then start limiting it.