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Wii and Video Game effects on children

I have three children and my two older ones have been making some new friends at school. When they are asked to go over their homes and have a playdate inevitably their friends want to play video games most of the time. One play date they sat in front of the television playing the Wii the entire time. For some reason parents feel it is okay and that the effects of this amount of exposure in unimportant. Well, I can tell these children are more hyper active, less able to control themselves and easily dissatisfied. Does anyone have any evidence to support this that I can pass on to parents? Thank you. Love and blessings.

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Interesting topic, Kyra. In general, this has been a rising concern. My boys are out of their teens, but this trend of video games began when they were around 5 years old or so.
I found it difficult to comprehend the idea that so many children (even back then) were spending so much time playing video games. And comparing that "play time," with the amount of time playing outdoors, I found to be even more alarming.
We had the video systems that were popular at that time, it was balanced out with not just time outdoors, but other activities (sports, karate etc) as well.

Here are two links that may be helpful:
http://www.kff.org/entmedia/loader.cfm?url=/commonspot/security/get...
and
http://www.psychologymatters.org/videogames.html

Blessings and good luck! :)
AW
I didn't purchase any video games for my son... so he only played v-games at an arcade or at friends house... he was much too busy with gymnastics, karate, skiing and music lessons. By the time he was a teenager he was in bands and never lacked for creative things to do.
But my grandson's generation is much more entrenched... and I have become much more concerned. However, as a social worker, I look at both sides of the coin. If they weren't playing video games, what would they be doing instead? That question leads to an even bigger issue... what alternatives are accessible to them? Urban/suburban kids live with many constraints. To name a few... cities have car centered designs... not human centered. Neighbors are strangers, and parental energies are stretched thin after jobs, inhuman traffic congestion and an increasingly stressful socioeconomic climate.

"...these children are more hyper active, less able to control themselves and easily dissatisfied."
Again... what would these children be doing if they didn't have v-games? Would their parents be spending more quality time with them? Would they be eating a better diet? I see the game fear as more of a symptom than the heart of the problem. I see games as a positive step above TV watching... especially Wii and Guitar Hero.

Have you ever witnessed someone in a traffic jam get angry at the person in the car in front of them. That person is also stuck in traffic... Similarly, I think its easy to see the immediate symptom of a larger problem... without seeing the larger picture. It is impossible to point at excess game activity without pointing at parents and its impossible to point at parents without pointing at community and its impossible to point at community without pointing at policy. And woven throughout this enmeshed circumstance, the missing link is the human factor.

In defense of games... I have witnessed kids reach amazing conclusions. One day after playing Black & White, my then 10yo grandson announced that communities thrive and prosper more when they help each other, than when they compete and war with one another. I'll admit... when I was skipping rope and playing jacks... I never reached that sort of conclusion.
Wii has been a boon for retired folks. For example, Wii bowling activates them without the strain of lifting a heavy ball. Its a fun and interactive indoor activity... and they can do it with their grandkids in the safety of their home.

Anything in excess is unbalanced and leads to further imbalance. But there are far worse things that kids have done and do than play v-games. I would prefer that parents spend evenings teaching their kids to cook healthy foods - rather than throwing some ramen in a pan or going to Mickey D's. I would prefer that children never go home to the threat of an alcoholic parent that requires the children to walk on eggshells or hide behind a v-game. I would prefer that parents never be so medicated that they aren't aware of where or what their children are doing... etc.

I empathize with your concern. What can you do? Show the kids who come into your home other options. You cannot pour out of a cup, what has not been put into it. Fill their cups with your unique brand of love and caring. Scatter your seeds of compassion... you never know what bounty will come from it. Metta, Jeanne
Jeanne said: "Anything in excess is unbalanced and leads to further imbalance. But there are far worse things that kids have done and do than play v-games. I would prefer that parents spend evenings teaching their kids to cook healthy foods - rather than throwing some ramen in a pan or going to Mickey D's. I would prefer that children never go home to the threat of an alcoholic parent that requires the children to walk on eggshells or hide behind a v-game. I would prefer that parents never be so medicated that they aren't aware of where or what their children are doing... etc.

I empathize with your concern. What can you do? Show the kids who come into your home other options. You cannot pour out of a cup, what has not been put into it. Fill their cups with your unique brand of love and caring. Scatter your seeds of compassion... you never know what bounty will come from it."


It does begin and end with parents. I also agree with (and love) the advice you have given----"Show the kids who come into your home other options. You cannot pour out of a cup, what has not been put into it. Fill their cups with your unique brand of love and caring."
Blessings,
AW
Thank-you AW, for the feedback. Sometimes I get on my soapbox and can't find the way off... especially when the subject is children. There's no formula, just love and trying...

AkashicWreckage said:
It does begin and end with parents. I also agree with (and love) the advice you have given----"Show the kids who come into your home other options. You cannot pour out of a cup, what has not been put into it. Fill their cups with your unique brand of love and caring."
Blessings,
AW
I agree with Jeanne--this is a much bigger, more complex issue, and v-games are an easy scapegoat, just as TV was when we were growing up. Our society is in the process of transcending into a new value system, and v-games are just one small aspect of the overall picture. Anytime a new technology is introduced, it has the potential to both help and harm the society that invented it, and it's quite easy to go into fear mode and remember the good ol' days before that technology was introduced. I'm sure many of us who are parents wish that our kids were reading instead of watching tv/playing v-games etc... Well, there was a time when books were the new technology... I'd bet money that the parents of the post-Gutenberg generation were horrified to see their little angels wasting away hours engrossed in reading, especially in light of the proliferation of printed scientific (i.e. "satanic") documentation...

I'm sure you will be able to find evidence to document both the evil and the good of v-games, btw. I'd recommend a book (LOL), called "Everything Bad Is Good for You." Very interesting read!
Hi Kyra,

Just read an article on social networking, but it may address some of the same issues you're concerned about. Links below:

Part I: http://blogs.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-tao-innovation/200903/und...
Part II: http://blogs.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-tao-innovation/200904/mor...

I think in Part II there was a reference to an article in The Guardian, which gives an opposite viewpoint to what was discussed in the blog.

Hope that helps... It's a fascinating topic!

Nancy
Thank you for the words of wisdom. They are all very helpful and insightful. Yes, the advice to show and share my options in the house is what I strive to do each time a child comes over. I've had to tell parents that my children only play on Saturdays. One parents thanked me and said it forced his son to think of other things to do and understand what friendship means.
Love,
Kyra

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