Posted by: rivettingkatetaylor | November 25, 2008

video games… not

Some people are worried about the violence in the video games their children are playing. My advice: chuck out the play station.

Some people are worried about their children being text bullied. My advice: don’t buy them a cellphone.

Actually don’t chuck out the play station. Sell it to buy some games that will help turn your children into normal human beings and not RSI-riddled TV-eyed unsociable little people (I was going to say monsters but it sounds too harsh).

Of course my children are perfect. Not. But I have and will continue to hold to some rules in my house about what they are and are not allowed to do. Video games/playstation is one of them.

They do love to watch TV and play games on the computer, but it is programmes or games that I approve (like Words Rock or Braintastic) which they still think are fun and don’t click on to the fact they are educational. Mini golf and games similar to the old Pac Man-type scenario are also popular. But this is limited and not allowed on school days except as a reward for something.

My children play outside after school. They bounce on the trampoline, they run around in the paddock with their lambs, they climb trees, play in the woodshed, ride their bikes, build train tracks etc. They have tennis and swimming and have friends over to play. Violent video games are just not necessary, let alone wanted. They don’t need video games.

The choice is ours. How many times have you been forwarded that email about growing up in the 80s. How free we were. How lucky we were. If we are sick of the effect of today’s environment on our children, do something about it.

Here’s a thought. Give up your high powered, high paid job in the city and move to a “lesser” job in the country. With the money left over from transferring from an over-valued city house to a gorgeous cottage in the country you can deck your kids out in whatever extra toys they need to amuse themselves after school (and they might even learn to talk to each other because they won’t be able to get cellphone reception).

With the time you save not sitting on the motorway, you might even get to play with them yourself.

Buy monopoly, buy scrabble. Buy a portable volleyball net. Buy a trampoline (without the safety net around it for goodness sake). Murphy’s law – every time I boast about our $20 trampoline purchase I just know one of them is going to fall off and break something.

And break they might. But they will learn the boundaries of when and where to do somersaults won’t they. A friend of mine was paranoid about her kids hurting themselves on the trampoline and then her daughter broke her leg falling out the back door of their home.

It doesn’t have to be buy, buy, buy either. So many things in New Zealand are free. Go to the beach. Go to the river. Walk a track (an hour, a day, overnight). Go to the park. Go to a playground (and yes, mums and dads, you too can go down the slide – just get off your grown-up bandwagon and have some good old-fashioned fun). Go for a picnic. Make pikelets. Draw pictures on the concrete with chalk. Fly a kite. Walk around the top of your fence following your kids (that’s hard and I hate it).

Sit down and relax and spend time with your children (and I don’t mean a two-person game on the playstation).

Here’s a saying (and I have no idea where it came from): while we teach our children about life, they teach us what life is all about.

So live.

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