Bearing in mind there isn’t (yet?) any issue or even real interest or involvement with video games on our son’s part, that doesn’t mean we aren’t thinking about the time they will be more tempting to him and aren’t thinking about how to hold off or diminish the attraction they’ll have for him.
I’ll confess right off my negative bias respecting video games and the use of computers by children. I know kids are getting exposure to and skill in a kind of strategic thinking, but it’s the amount of time that is spent in front of screens instead of out in the real world, the violence and sex stereotyping, and a tendency to lose our ability to interact face-to-face that is at the root of my discomfort.
But back to the video games…. At what age do boys tend to get sucked in to vicdeo games – my thought is 9 or 10. In a nutshell, we’re telling our 7 year old that:
- computer games aren’t your friend
- if you’re sick, sad, or lonely the computer game doesn’t care
- computer games always want you to go oto the next level; it doesn’t care if you’re hungry, sad, frustrated, feeling stupid, need to run around, or losing touch with your loved ones
- you are smarter than any computer because you can think about the human effect of your behaviour; you can apply information to new circumstances; and even though computers are powerful tools that can be fun, they will never compare with a human
- no matter how much you might be helped by computers you are still a human with human needs that can only be helped by another human; also there are humans who need YOU
- you are in control
- you are stronger
I acknowledge that this is probably all theory at this point, but I hope it will inform how I manage my son’s use of computers as he begins to use them more. I don’t want to tell him he can’t use a computer or that computers are bad. I don’t believe these things. But I don’t want him to be controlled by them or to lose his humanity because of them.