Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I still don't agree with it, but I get it...

There are a lot of people who rail against video games. I am not one of those people. I think they are fun, can help teach kids a lot of things, and contrary to popular belief, they can help a person connect with other people, overcome fears, and even learn valuable life skills.

That being said, I don't agree when a child is given a gameboy or some other hand held video device, and that is all they do, all day long. Too many times I see kids walking in the store, riding in the car, siting at a dinner table with their nose buried in a game.

I say I don't agree with it, but I can now say I understand why some parents allow their kids to do it. I used to think their parents just didn't care. They were apathetic. It's not hard to get kids to stop. You put your parental foot down, take away the device, end of story.

But now I understand that there is a reason parents let their children play these games. We recently went on a trip to Mexico. We spent about 38 hours in the car. Let me do the math for you. Two adults + 5 boys under the age of 9 = CHAOS.

But when we gave the oldest the gameboy, something happened. He didn't complain. He didn't whine. He didn't even talk, he just sat there. And so did the brother who was sitting next to him. And when we asked him to do something, he obeyed. He wanted to do whatever we asked so he could keep playing. He was suddenly the boy we have been trying to raise. He is polite, he isn't fighting, he isn't screaming, he isn't whining, and he obeys us. Sure, his brain is in another place entirely, and he moves a little slow when he is carrying something to the van while playing the with his chin, but he's obeying. It's nice.

But now that we are home, we're putting the limits back on. One hour on Saturday, 1/2 hour on Monday. It's harder, but ultimately I think it's better. The idea is that my kids can be polite, friendly and obedient even if they don't have a carrot in front of them.

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