Thursday, March 28, 2013

To video game or not to video game. That is the question.

Here's the short answer.  Not. 

Why does our culture have a love affair with video games?  Why does nearly every single child my oldest's tender age of 6 1/2 that I know have a DS and a Wi and probably some other game system?  Why do we as adults encourage video game culture to unravel in our young impressionable children?  

Our oldest has to to to the YMCA during the day when his school is on spring break.  We are a two parent working family.  The YMCA has some Christian foundations.  A lot, actually, it's in their mission statement.  But, I am okay with it.  It is what it is.  We talk about it in our family.  We intentionally discuss it.  The principles and morals they hold we actually hold, as so often it works out that way with us and Christian themes.  We dig it.  But, here's the thing, they have a Wi at the Y. 

We don't have a Wi.  We won't ever have a Wi.  We don't have a DS, or other game system.  And, we never will.  

When you take your kid to the Y for school's out care, you let some things go.  You can't control the world around your kid.  I accepted that about 3 days into Kindergarten.  Most of what goes on, you are oblivious to.  Hopefully, good communication has been incorporated prior to these experiences so your child will come home and talk through things that are confusing to them.  Hopefully.  

My child loves to play video games.  I know, it's probably such a strong desire because we don't have them, and shame on me and all that.  But, it's more than that.  He loves them!  He is super competitive and video games offer him plenty of chances to explore that drive.  But, I hate them.  I mean, HATE them.  So, what do you know, the YMCA lets kids play the Wi while waiting for their parents at the end of the day.  Which means that when my husband arrives to pick up our son, who has almost reached the front of the LINE to take his turn on the Wi, our son has a fit.  A FIT!  Because he was all sorts of jazzed up to get his turn.  FINALLY!  HIS TURN!  And then here comes bad ole dad to ruin all the fun.  Tantrum ensues.  Ugly.

This is a perfect example of why I hate video games.  They foster unreal experiences (virtual) of extreme excitement, competitiveness, drive, etc.  And these unreal experiences coupled with intense emotions create an atmosphere ripe for mishandling intense emotions.  My 6 1/2 year old, yes, in part because it is forbidden, has a horrible time handling the emotions he feels when he plays video games.  And it is upon us, as his parents, to stop whatever we are doing (which we will) to guide him through this explosion.

What pisses me off is that when we are able to reunite at the end of a long day and enjoy one another and reconnect and be just, together, we can't.  We are thrown immediately into an extremely emotional situation where we are on different grounds and have different stakes and are different but equally valuable feelings and thoughts and ideas.  And we are in conflict.  And this is why I hate video games.  I want to pick up my son and be with him.  Not the him that he is when he's on video games.  Eventually, after an hour or two, he is back.  And we chat.  And we talk about this experience.  And he doesn't understand how we feel.  Because he's 6.  And, much as I would like to say I understand how he feels because I was 6, I don't fully understand him, because I'm not him.  But we try and we wrestle with the common ground and we try some more.  

Ugh, video game culture....I hate you!


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