Monday, February 16, 2009

Kids and Video Games

Okay, first let me tell ya my stance on video games. I'm not crazy about them. About once a year I might play pacman or tetris online - but that's it. I especially don't like them when it comes to kids. It spooks me out the way some kids are hypnotized and spend hours completely detached from reality. Sometimes I think my house is the only house left that does not have a video game console. (Are there others out there - please let me know I am not the only one!) But then I also refuse (up until I change my mind) not to have a TV in the children's bedroom either. I say 'up until I change my mind' because once in a while the kids will ask me when they can have a TV and I will tell them, 'when I change my mind'.

So...anyways, I don't like video games and I don't want them in my house.

With that said, I don't mind if the kids go over to their friends house and play video games. (Does that sound hypocritical?) Actually, my son is the only one who ever goes over to his friend's house a few times a week - then about once a month spends the night. I know when he's over there they spend the night, all night, zombied out in front of video games. I never minded that because - hey - get it out of your system. Also, I feel like it's controlled, as to where he only does it a few times a month - not everyday all day, so I'm okay with that.

Tonight while I was getting super ready, my 3 older kids were sitting at the table eating some apples and peanut butter dip. My son was talking something about Grand Theft Auto. When I asked him what he was talking about he asked me if I knew what it was. Uhhh...yeah - do you? He says, yeah - it's a video game my friend got last week.

Okay, never mind - I thought I knew what it was - didn't know it was a video game.

So he starts talking about this video game where you break into peoples cars and steal stuff and - well you get the idea. So, I get a little worried. I asked him if he would break into peoples cars in real life? He said, 'No, it's against the law.' I asked, 'What if it wasn't against the law - would you do it?' He said, 'No, I wouldn't - it's not right to take things that don't belong to you.' After questing him a little more and then finally asking him, 'If something is wrong to do in real life, why would you want to play a game acting as if you were doing something wrong?' To which he answered, 'Mom, I know what's right and wrong - I know what's good and bad. But playing a game about stealing stuff is fun.'

To which I was speechless. I didn't know what to say or how to respond. He's a good kid and I know he knows the difference between right and wrong - but to hear him say that, as if to say 'Don't worry Mom, I'm a big boy now' about brought a tear to my eye.

On the other hand...I still don't know how I feel about this video game. I don't like the idea of a video game where your acting like a criminal. Is this a big deal? Am I being biased because I am not an avid video game lover?

I would love to hear how other parents feel about this topic.


Controlling My Chaos said...

I think I share a lot of your same opinions about video games. I've heard that there are even violent video games where you kill people just because it's fun. We have the Wii, but we don't have that many games. So far it has not been an issue because the kids only play it once or twice a week. I can see how it could become a problem though, and I think that's why you don't want one in your house. Who wants one more thing to police their kids on. So, no, I don't think it's hypocritical of you to allow them to play the games at their friends' house and not yours. I think you're smart.

Sonia said...

My son has those games, we have no issue though
As long as they know right from wrong

One Mom, Five Kids said...

I've seen the Wii - and honestly it does look like a lot of fun and interactive. I think you put it into words when you said it's just another thing to police. That and I don't want to be in competition with my kids over a video game and I might never see them again if they had one.

It's great your kids only play the Wii a few times a week. Is that a rule you set or are they just not that interested?

Anonymous said...

Both hubby and I grew up without playing video games and we turned out just fine. Now that we're adults we do have a Wii and we do enjoy it but play together once or twice a week at most. I do like it because we have the games which require you to be physical and move around. (Neither one of us had a tv in our bedroom growing up either.)

As far as the Grand Theft Auto game, I'd be a little concerned. The game doesn't just focus on going around stealing cars- murder and prostitutes are also part of it. I believe it's got an "M" rating which is essentially like an R/NC-17 movie. I definitely wouldn't want my kids playing it...