There was a news release today that a 20 year old man, Chris Staniforth, played video games for 12 straight hours and died of a blood clot. This isn’t the first time that there has been a fatality in regards to marathon video game playing (A South Korean Died in 2005 after playing video games for three days straight.) It is amazing to me, as a parent, that after reported addicts and reported brain studies and after reported deaths, that we aren’t thinking that this is a serious health concern. Many gamers have stated that they cannot concentrate on anything other than the alternative world that their video games create.
I am calling upon all mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, and caregivers….we need to come together and try to bring awareness to all people that are partly responsible for today’s youth. We, obviously, cannot rely on the government and health officials to help us.
Please let me know if you have any ideas for any of us that are parents and feeling very vulnerable to today’s ready-available addictions.
I know that I am pretty strict with my children’s media usage, but it is hard for me to imagine that I am going to have to deal with peer pressure at six years old. We received the Wii as a present for Christmas a few years back and we own exactly four Wii games. We own the Wii sports with bowling, fishing, etc. We also own Mario Cart, I-Spy and the Mario Anniversary Edition. Our Wii is played about twice a month in the winter (usually we have a family bowling tournament on a random Sunday afternoon) and maybe once a month in the summer. But, since my daughter has been going to her friend’s houses, she comes back telling me she has played this game, and that game. She is desiring to own these games, asking to play the Wii more often, and it makes me wonder about peer pressure. Before she saw her friends playing these games, she never asked to play the Wii, and now it is a daily discussion. I also thought that with girls it would be different, because I thought video games were geared more towards boys, but boy was I wrong. The video game industry has made many of the video games geared towards females, specifically; Project Runway, Dance games, and the Glee game just to name a few. It makes me wonder if she will play games that I am not aware of when she is at other people’s houses, and I will have no control. It is scary enough that I have to worry about her safety, and her happiness, but now I have to worry about her health as well. It makes it very difficult to be a successful parent!
My daughter had a playdate with a few friends today and one of them brought a dancing video game to play. All of the girls wanted to play this game, so I reluctantly agreed. They were so excited to play together and spend time with one another, however, almost immediately when the game started their personalities changed. These girls normally all get along very well, but once the game started they became competitive, pushy and upset with one another. They spent almost the entire time that they were playing the game arguing with one another and bickering about the game. One of the girls stopped playing the game completely, and my daughter ended up in tears. I was curious about the effects of video games on children and found that on www.sosparents.org there is a brain study that proves that playing video games actually effects your child’s brain. I always have thought that playing violent video games would affect my child long-term, but I never thought that if she played a non-violent video game that it would change her personality immediately…..little did I know!!
My daughter came home the other day after a playdate and she wanted to get the Project Runway video game for the WII. I told her that I would think about it, Momspeak for NO. She begged and pleaded and said it was the only thing that she wanted for her birthday this year. I got on Amazon and it is very cheap, and the description makes it seem innocent enough, but unless I have played it myself, or have seen it played I have no idea what is in this game. I am wondering how we, as parents, are supported by these companies to make informed decisions in regards to the content in these games? The ratings mean nothing, so what do we have to go by? I saw that there was a filter on amazon to be able to narrow down my search and one of them was by age group. It started with birth-24 months. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? What infant under 24 months need to be playing a video game? But they have games that feature Elmo and Cookie Monster, and I am assuming that mothers are buying these for their babies, or they wouldn’t be selling them. There were 675 options of games for preschoolers. That is insane! I mean preschoolers are aged 4 and under. There need to be almost 700 options of video games for children of this age group? They can’t even read or write for goodness sake, but they can play video games? Kids don’t have a desire to play video games, we, as parents, create their desire to play video games. We need not forget that!
I was on Facebook the other day when I saw one of my friends had posted that she bought a Kindle for her 8 year old. I think that for my own child, that is a pretty expensive device and she would have it broken in no time, but for other children I think that is fine. My problem more surrounds the idea of the Kindle vs. the traditional book! I have great memories of riding my bike to the library with my mother and then picking out the books I wanted to read and take home in my bike basket. I remember taking my daughter to story-time at the local library and then wondering the aisles looking for the perfect book. I have great memories of going to the bookstore with my family and being able to bring a brand new book to the register and it being all mine! I am just concerned for the future of books. I just hope that they will still be available to my children and grandchildren and that they won’t have to hold some electronic device that takes away from the discovery of it! My children love flipping through the pages, and carrying it around with them. My daughter has worn out her copy of Frog and Toad, and my son’s Goodnight Moon is holding on by a thread. Our Mother Goose edition is so well-loved that we have to put it on a shelf for parental reading only. I just hope that Kindles and Nooks won’t take over the joy and love that future generations will have over the old traditional book!
As I was growing up, I remember hearing stories about how my mother, who was a stay-at-home mother, and all of her friends, who were also stay-at-home mothers, got together and were a support system for one another. I have always yearned for that group connectedness as I try to navigate this stay-at-home mother gig in the present day where most of my friends are working mothers. I try and find other mothers who are doing the same thing as me, but it is hard to find these rare people. I just moved to a new city and had enrolled my daughter in a community activity and was standing in line to pick her up, hoping to strike up conversations with other mothers in the off chance of finding a new friend. But the second I got in line, all of the other mothers pulled out their I-Phones, their Blackberries, or their I-Pads and started texting, checking emails, and chatting away on cell phones, completely disconnected to those of us around them! There was even one mother standing in line listening to her I-Pod on earphones. The reason I tell this story was because I was sad that there were so many different interactions and connections that could have taken place right there in that line between a group of women but because we are all so “plugged-in” we have lost to ability to relate and to connect to one another.
I justread the movie review for the new Winnie the Pooh movie on www.MovieReports.org, and I am just as happy as can be. For once I am able to take my daughter to a movie that says there is no profanity, no sex scenes and no sexual innuendos. I can’t believe there are no bad words, and it looks to me (from the previews only and from reading the review) that it has a pretty good plot. I just wish there were more options out there for nice, wholesome movies for those families (like mine) who would like to enjoy a movie with their ENTIRE family! Does anyone know of any other movies like this one, if so let me know!
I was watching America’s Got Talent the other night with my six year old child and we were enjoying the various talent-filled acts….and then an act came on that not only made for one uncomfortable conversation, but also made me angry because this is supposed to be a show I can watch with my ENTIRE family. The act that I am talking about was the comedy vocalist. He made a few comments that were neither here nor there, but then talked about spreading peanut butter all over his body and then his dog wouldn’t even go for it. My daughter didn’t get it, and wondered why he would do that, and why it was funny. I wish we could have been warned, because we have TiVo, and could have fast forwarded had they warned us in some way that the following act might not be suitable for young audiences. I just wish that there were people out there, tv producers and such, that were looking out for ALL of us, especially those of us with young children with innocent eyes and ears. I remember watching a nightly television show with my parents growing up. We had a few shows to choose from…shows like the Cosby Show and Family Ties, and then later on there were shows like Full House, and Seventh Heaven. Now, I am not sure what shows, that air on the main channels, I could watch with my six year old. If anyone out there knows of a show that is shown on Prime Time television that could be thoroughly enjoyed by all, please let me know.
My husband just got back from a week-long vacation. Before we left my children would wake up and I would allow them to pick out two short shows (equaling one hour or less) or a short movie to watch. My son would wake up EVERY day saying Mickey Mouse, because that is one of the shows they always chose. My son is just starting to talk so we were all excited he could put these two words together. While we were on vacation there was no tv or movies allowed. They didn’t seem to care as there was many fun-filled family activities to keep them busy. I thought once we came home they would be waking up with the same Mickey Mouse chant…however that was not the case. My son didn’t even say Mickey Mouse the first day. He got up like we did on vacation and sat and ate breakfast together, and then went into his room to play with his toys. I think we, as parents, tend to think that a habit is impossible to break, so the idea of even trying to conquer it seems like a mountain not worth climbing. However, I have found that most of their “habits” or “routines” are facilitated and enforced by us, the parents. I think that habits sometimes are easier to break than we might think!
As parents we read all of the time about how obesity is at an all-time high, and how media usage is up every single year, but we struggle to put the two together. I know that when I was growing up we spent 80% of our time outside, swimming and biking in the summer, and sledding and playing in the snow in the winter. There was never a time that my mother would let us sit and veg out on the couch on a sunny day. My daughter has joined a healthy club for the summer and they have her coloring in her fruit and vegetables every day, her water in-take as well as monitoring her physical activity. She has absolutely loved it! She has to do 60 minutes of physical activity a day which is not hard to do in the summer. She loves to ride her bike, take nature walks, play tag with her friends, jump on her trampoline and swim at the local pool. However, my husband and I made a pact this summer to try and limit the television to two half hour shows a day, or a short movie, her choice. We have unplugged our Wii that we got for bowling and other activities, and she hasn’t even asked about it. I have to admit that with the new decision to go outside we spent a little bit of money (about $20.00) on bubbles, a jump rope, hula hoop, rubber ball, and a frisbee. My daughter has even spent her saved up money on a scooter she found at a garage sale. These new found outdoor activities has allowed us to feel better, look better and spend more quality time together. I hope that this will help us connect as a family through out the year and not just this summer!!