Tuesday, August 9, 2011

video games + our kids

I read a good article today. About technology and the balance of it in our lives.As I was talking to some friends the other day it seemed we all agreed that video games have been a frustration to us as moms. One mom said that her kids were not even allowed to be on the wii because of their fighting when they play (same thing happens at my house- drives me crazy, lately I have said- one person on the wii and everyone else out of that room!! Whatever happened to, "the wii will be nice because we can all play happily together!?) Another mom said she wishes they had never gotten the xbox.

What I loved about the article I mentioned above is the light he sheds on our hypocrisy as parents and how we use technology. All I can say is that things have been out of whack around here. And we do have a very strict time limit. Some days each kid gets 30 min of video games- some days a little longer- more often than not, lately, it's none at all because of the whining and greediness and fighting that seems to go right along with the "fun and games."

I think we do use technology as a babysitter of sorts. I think I need to [as a mom] take more control of the day- sometimes I think that they need to creatively decide what to do all day and they better make good choices! But at ages 10, 8, and 5; my kids need guidance and help. My kids need to be told to go outside and play. They need to be told to read, they need to be told to play a game with their little sister, and write a letter to a grandparent, and weed the garden. They need this help in their lives! For goodness sake, I need this help in my life! Can someone please tell me what to do?! Just kidding, but really, they are not adults yet, and when they grow up, I want them to be responsible and spend their "free" time productively- not just playing video games!!!!!

I know part of the angst I am feeling is because we are winding down from summer vacay- they are bored and need to be challenged and need to get their muscles (and brain) back into gear.

How do you balance technology in your home? How old are your kids? I know that when our kids get older, things will just get more complicated. I would love to hear how you manage these things in your home.

**Bottom line- we are here on this earth to glorify our Great God who made us and loves us- what are we doing to accomplish that when we let our kids stare at a screen all day?! (or when we stare at a screen all day?! :))

15 comments:

Jen said...

Good thoughts!

Kellie said...

Oh the "joys" of being a mom - finding the balance. Don't throw the wii out the window... it just provides another teaching opportunity preparing them for life... you can't always have what you want when you want it, you may have to wait on others, and people will never do what you want them to... it's all about how you react. Standard saying in our home was "It takes two to argue, one to get along!" Just one of them has to decide to be Christlike! Not easy for an 8 year old, but if they learn it now life will be that much easier!

gailsgarden said...

Yah to "write a letter to grandparents." You're doing a great job! Keep it up!

Sarah said...

I agree with you on this one. And it is hard not to give in to their little desires. They see us use our technology, so anything else is boring to them!
My boys probably want to watch more tv than play video games. We only have a Wii...no DS's around here. The Wii does cause a lot of fighting! I tell them a game is for fun, and it will go off if it sounds like they aren't having pure fun! Most of the time my policy is that if it is raining, they can play the Wii. I have always let them wake up and watch tv. I really want to stop that, but I am selfish with my morning time. Turning on worship music before they get up helps that a lot, but I want to get into a habit of doing that every day when school starts!

Jennifer said...

I think things will get better for all of us once school starts....really, I do.

Rachel said...

At our house its computer games. A year or so ago Phil & I decided to limit their game time to just 1 hour a week (+ watching the other brother play, so it's kinda 2 hours). Also, they are only allowed to play on the weekend. We talked to the boys about it - Phil actually had them write out a contract & sign it. If they beg to play during the week, they loose their hour of playtime for that week.

Our plan has really helped! The boys know now that they are guaranteed a set game time every week. The predictability of the plan makes them less antsy and it's been great for my sanity to not have them asking to play all the time ;o)

Lydia said...

You know that we are an electronic loving family. We love Playstation. We love computers. We love movies. And finding balance is SO HARD. I love your idea of a media fast and am tempted to make it a family-wide thing at least one week out of the month. This should help us learn what other things there are that we can be doing. We do read a lot, but we really need to get our bodies moving and be more ACTIVE.

mollie's mom said...

My daughter is in college now but when she was younger we didn't have a lot of electronic games, etc. in the house. There weren't as many options, I am not a super techie person, etc. but she loved.loved. TV. It was our "technology" problem. We did a variety of things - traded even reading time for TV time. A lifesaver in the Summer. Also in the Summer we would have TV- less weeks. They were amazing - behavior was so much better when it was unplugged... no whining about waiting until a show was over to do something she was asked to do or saying shhh- We made lists of fun things to do on TV-less weeks and it was great. We'd choose activities to fill our old TV time.
I also used losing TV as a consequence for rude behavior so it was somewhat helpful that she cared so much abt. TV :)
The best tho was the trading of technology time for reading time. I would also offer up a creative/art project as a time trade as we. I think that's equally important. Or we would do an "experiment" that was educational. i would find science activities at family Fun or somewhere like that. She is a huge reader now - but she still loves.loves.loves TV :)

heather said...

oh my word...i can't believe you just wrote about this. were you at my house today and i didn't know it?!! my kids don't play wii or ds a lot, but today was our second day of rain and i was trying to use it as one of our activities for the day and all they did was fight and cry! it was so frustrating. i'm just glad to hear other kids have the same trouble. i sent them to their rooms for over an hour and spent the time cleaning my floors and praying over them! :) i do feel we use technology as entertainment too much now that they are older. i am trying to be more purposeful in getting them involved in other activities....some days are more successful than others!

Ruth said...

We did not have any video games in our home until our kids were over ten. I did not allow them to play them until after lunch. They needed to complete their school work first and in the summer they were to read first, then play outside in the morning. In the afternoon they could have a half hour of games and a half hour of tv.

It is difficult to find balance and keep the fighting to a minimum.

Ruth

D.I.M. Incorporated said...

That was an excellent article! Thanks for sharing! I think it's hard to find that happy medium in our technology happy world today. I try my best to use the wii and the computer as a reward rather than a babysitter. We have 4 controllers and 3 kids (9,8 and 5) so they are usually pretty good at sharing. I really like the active games like wii sports and just dance bc I feel like they're getting their exercise and not just sitting there. It can definately become a problem though. I have an 8 year old nephew that has had a tv and nintendo in his bedroom since he was 2. He can't go to sleep without playing it. Sad. I will never, ever, ever have a tv in my kid's room. Sorry, I'm rambling! Thanks for this post Sara!

Sara @ The Football Wife said...

Kids need "we" time not "wii" time. ;) My husband and I didn't grow up with video games, so they'll never make an entrance in the house. You're totally right... kids need guidance in choosing something to do. My mom would give us some ideas and then set us free to use our imaginations.

dina said...

When mine were young everyone in the neighborhood came to my house and played video games. There didn't seem to be a lot of fighting and no just "zoning out" with the game either. When you "died" it was someone else's turn and you'd get up and play with one of the others until it was your turn again, or you would watch who was playing next and cheer and boo as needed. It was lots of fun.
I do think if there had been too much bickering, etc., I would have handled it differently. I'm glad it worked out as well as it did for us because we have lots of great memories of video game pajama party nights. I got a chance to talk, play, bake, etc. with the kids who were waiting top play too.

Donovan Doins said...

Sarah, what a good post. God has been working on my heart about my own "electronics" priorities. I have come to the conclusion that I can check FB and my favorite blogs no more than three times a week, and I write posts for my blog on Monday and schedule them. It has definitely cut down on my electronics time and I love it.

Jara said...

I hear ya Sara! My son actually asked if he could go swim outside last night because his eyes hurt from staring at a screen all day...so today, and we do this pretty frequently, we are having an "unplugged" day - they have already been reading, playing games, etc. I LOVE IT!!! Best of luck - don't beat yourself up too much about it - we just have to expect balance sometimes from our kiddos - and that's ok:)