Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Technology Void

I could claim some higher-ground here in my parenting.  I could call it intentional.  But if I'm really honest, money is more of the motivator than a deep belief against gaming systems.  However, I will admit that I'm glad that money is a factor and has prevented us from purchasing any of these devices for our boys.

Yesterday when B got off the bus he was mad, at me.  "Wow, what's with the face?  What did I do?"

"I want a DS."  Part of me wants one for them too, really...when I see how it makes them feel a bit inferior to their friends.  They've taken full assessment of their situation, done the research while they are at friends' houses.  They know we have a technology void.  This weekend I even caught B in a little-white-lie with his cousin, "Yeah, I have an ipod."  His cousin responded, "Well we have three, but we have to share them as a family."  Actually, B does not have an ipod.  His father has one that he lets the boys have full access to.  B keeps the speaker and ipod right by his bed, so I guess it feels like it is his, but it is not.

Often when I go pick the boys up from playing at friends' houses the mom will say, "Wow, they like to play video games, don't they."  I don't know how many times I've gone to pick C up from a playdate, and I have to search the home to find him hidden in the corner with a handheld system in his hands.  I feel like that health mom who doesn't allow their kids to have refined sugars and turns their children in to ravenous beasts around candy.  (One of these children was in my 6th grade class and stole the Ding Dong out of my lunch for months.  Oh and my husband did not have a TV growing up, which only meant he figured out what time shows were on and made sure he was at a friends house when the shows aired...much to the annoyance of his friend who was bored of those shows.)

Now before you think I'm a horrible mother, the boys do play video games.  They can access many of the same games that their friends play on our computer.  They love it.  It is a passion for them.  I've had other moms tell me that maybe I should just get my boys a Wii, "Then maybe they'll get it out of their systems."  Um, I doubt that.  I remember when my oldest was two and I was basically clueless in my mom role and actually told a friend, "Yeah, we really have been pro-active in our screen time and B just isn't in to it."  Um, B was two, that was it.  Developmentally he was just not at that zone stage...now he is.

Sometimes I take our computer and hide it, so the boys will not ask to use it.

The other night I did this and it forced them to play and create.  And I didn't have to deal with the begging.   I  went upstairs and watched B play with his Legos.  He was having fun creating worlds and vehicles for those worlds.  There were sound effects and general ingenuity.  I thought to myself, "Well, maybe when they get out into life they will be the innovators and creative-thinkers of their generation.  Maybe when they are the next Steve Jobs they will say in a speech, 'I thank my mom for my brain.  She denied us access to technology growing up.  Even though I didn't like it at the time, I appreciate it now.  Unlike our peers, our brains were left to grow and develop, forced to create and solve our own bouts of boredom'."

Oh, who am I kidding, I know it is only a matter of time before we finally save up, give in, and buy a gaming system.


Lissa said...

So far we're only using gaming systems with games that require we're active when we play. In about a month we'll be banning TV during the week. For now I'm enjoying the time they aren't aware they're 'deprived'. ;-) Melissa Thomas

Heather said...

We gave in last year and got the boys DS's. I will say they were both the best and the worst thing I have ever bought them.

Jo said...

Your cousins kids play original x-box, softmoded and refurb gameboy advances. Yeah, we're cheap! But they actually thought the gameboys WERE ds when they opened them at Christmas.

Jen Rouse said...

Let Eric talk to you about his opinions on gaming, and he will make you feel GOOD about letting your boys follow their desire for the screen! He's shown me all kinds of articles/studies about how the problem-solving etc. found in video games actually boost certain thinking skills. I don't really care if they do, I still hate seeing my kids stuck on a computer. Luckily for me, my kids aren't that into video games, so it hasn't been that big of a fight for us.

Rebekah said...

Lissa, I love the idea of family game night like that! Heather, I totally agree...I can see getting DS's great for our long road trips, but then they are there and the battle begins.

Jen, I know...I heard a radio program all about how computer games actually do not hurt brains, but I just hate that my boys can't think of anything creative to do unless it involves a screen. And actually, they do. Tonight they played like expert children.