Why We Said No to Video Games?
Quick answers, because:
- there’s too much life to live.
- I’m the Mom.
- I love you too much to watch you rot in front of a screen.
I’m gonna have a hard time wading into this one because I know that my written words can come off preachy. But I hate the sight of a boy playing video games. I’m well aware that’s not a fair statement. Video games could easily fall into the “everything in moderation” category.
But no. Gag. I just can’t do it. And I’m such a hypocrite. Truth be told you know what I covet? A genuine, arcade quality, upright Ms PacMan game.
I’ll smoke you.
I’m the queen.
Serious. I have a problem. If we stumble upon an old bar or a lobby or some throwback place to the eighties and I see a Ms PacMan machine I go simply nuts.
I’m trying to lighten the mood. ‘Cause I’d like to believe that deep down, all mothers know there is something better out there for their boys than hours rotting in front of a screen. We do, don’t we? Please?
And please don’t talk to me about hand/eye coordination. I can’t handle it. You know what else improves hand/eye coordination? Drawing, piano lessons, handwriting, playing catch… you get the picture. The whole hand/eye coordination argument thing isn’t going to fly in this farmhouse.
Saying “no” to video games wasn’t something that required a ton of research on our part. In fact, we did none. We tossed our televisions when our eldest was about 2. He didn’t watch T.V. The great age of sitcoms we were addicted to (Friends, Fraiser, Seinfield…) was over.
Outdoor life was taking over, our interests were growing. (I’m ashamed of all the time I wasted years ago watching TV). The boob tube had to go. With it – our old Nintendo that we used to play together as a couple. We’ve been eight-plus years with no T.V. And haven’t regretted it ONE day.
Fast forward to being a Momma to a little boy, and then two little boys. I’m smitten with them. I love them. Their energy. The ridiculous depths of their creativity. Their obsession with frogs. And caterpillars. The very last thing in the WORLD that I want for them is to spend precious hours of their precious time on this earth rotting in front of a screen… overstimulating their brains… Or understimulating them as it were.
Oh! the time that they could be pouring into something that will bear fruit!!!
See, that’s what I think about video games: They bear no fruit. All I’m all about spending time with something that is going to PRODUCE. Not reduce. I’m all for producing and not consuming. Flourishing instead of rotting. (For all people. Not just little boys.)
And come on. How many of us families have truly ANY business spending that kind of money that it requires to maintain this habit?
Soooooooo – being that my boys are NORMAL boys and notice what others have and what we don’t. Of course, from time to time they are going to question our decision.
I encourage them by pointing out all the other things they do during the day and inquire as to WHEN they would have time to play. They get the point quickly and truth be told, this has only come up once or twice so far. And you know what? Some of my girlfriends have things I don’t have and when I visit them, I enjoy those things. So, of course, the boys can look on the occasional visit to a friend’s house as a chance to play if they want.
So what about that almost innate desire for a modern boy of this age to play video games?
What do we do to satisfy that since we’ve said “no” to video games? Well, there are a handful of things I have found they keep them feeling like they get some technological time in but also give them something to show for their time spent… something more than glazed over eyes.
Yep. Of course, we do cursive as a part of our home education but I also want them to know how to type. There are fun, non-over-stimulating typing games available for free and the kids love them. This is the website we use. They love it and see it as a special treat! My ten-year old’s favourite is the Meteor Typing Blast and The Desert Typing Racer. It’s our job to raise him to provide for a family someday. Typing is just one more skill he can learn while here at home and it can be fun. He loves it. (It also helps with spelling which we struggle with.)
I finally got savvy and got Aidan started with Teaching Textbooks. I was SICK SICK SICK of teaching math and trying to teach little ones to read and the same time. Brain explosion. HE LOVES IT. He gets the computer to himself. Gets to click that mouse. It feels like “computer time” to him instead of math work. It’s been FABULOUS addition and change to our home education.
Build Your Own Lego Movie.
This is an app on my iPad and a couple times a month I’ll let Aidan borrow my iPad (Only sparingly because devices are SOOOOOOOOO bad for our children’s developing brain tissue. Don’t get me started.) But he is able to take his creativity and his Lego skills/obsession and combine them. It’s stop-motion animation and he does a pretty darn good job. He and 4-year-old Julien will spend an entire afternoon placing the iPad camera JUST so, lining up each shot… so impressive. Here’s one of his little movies:
I also gave Aidan an old video camera.
He builds it into his lego trains, mounts it to the top of his bike helmet with hot glue… you name it. But he makes little movies, tours of his frog habitats… again, enjoying a screen but being creative and documenting his time as a child.
An electric keyboard.
We have an old upright piano but this summer at a garage sale Aidan did some MIGHTY fine negotiating for a quality electric keyboard. It’s in his room. He can tinker with drum beats, chords… making music.
When he’s had a great week at school he’ll come to me and say, Mom, can I go to NASA? Here he watches rocket launches, participates in interactive stuff… the stuff that interests him could put me to sleep but he loves it and after awhile he’s at his Lego table or with a sketch pad in hand trying to draw what he’s learned.
So, I hope you can see I’m not some anti-technology Nazi. It’s just that I love those boys too much to see him holed up in their room, eye’s glazed over, hours passing by… and we all know full-grown men who piss hours away playing video games while their wives, bank accounts and children suffer. Men who still live with mom and dad in the basement… playing video games instead of getting a second job or a job at all for that matter. It’s just a sign of the times and I’m sorry but there is just…
There is just too much life to live.
And that’s why we said NO to video games.
And you can too.