All Your Base Are Belong to Us.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. Until my son received a DS for his birthday in July, he pretty much had zero interest in video games. His cousin does have a Wii, but we don’t see them enough for it to have become a regular habit – and because he isn’t really all that familiar with the games, he gets easily frustrated. However, after several months with the DS, he’s become a bit of an expert. Sort of. (Though there is a good deal of getting us up out of bed in the wee hours so we can “just help me with this one mission, mom.”) He’s definitely showing some signs of early obsession with the device. Only advantage? Works awesome when I need to punish him for something – or even the threat of doing so.

On one hand, he comes by it honestly. After all, I cut my gaming teeth on our Atari 2600 and my Aunt’s ColecoVision. (Woo! Go Zaxxon!! And the Smurfs!) I played Zork and Bard’s Tale on the Apple IIe. When the PC finally showed up it was Death Knights of Krynn. King’s Quest (all of them, except the last one which totally sucked my ass). Monkey Island. Sam & Max. Grim Fandango. Gabriel Knight. Ultima Underworld I & II. Elder Scrolls. Heroes of Might & Magic. Civ I, II, III, IV. Caesar. StarCraft. Atlantis. Doom. Quake. Myst. NWN. Half-Life. World of Warcraft.
Getting the picture? There’s a ton more that I haven’t listed, of course, but clearly, Connor probably doesn’t stand a chance. (Lucy, either – she’s *terribly* attracted to the laptop – in a way that Connor never was. And of course, now both of them like to watch me play WoW, though for totally different reasons. Lucy wants me to just ride around on the flaming horsie. Connor points stuff out and says “Ooh, mom! Kill this guy!” )
Indeed.
Problem is, I’m not sure I want him *quite* this involved, this young. I’ve started making him read to me for about 30 minutes each night – he gets frustrated with it, but I think he knows more than he thinks he does. I admit, I have a hard time with the teaching – I was pretty much self-taught and reading the newspaper by age 5 – but we’re working on it.
I’ve also signed him up for basketball. I’m not sure he actually knows how to dribble, but I assume they teach you that sort of stuff during practice. And I have my doubts as to his overall athletic ability – he’s well over 4 feet now, and I think those long limbs make for clumsy running, but hopefully he’ll grow into them.
In either case, I want him moving his little butt as much as possible, whether that’s physically or mentally, but I’m beginning to wonder if it’s already a lost cause. He discovered that the Bolt DVD came with an extra disc and when I explained it was so you could put it on your computer or your iPod, his eyes just lit up.
Him: “So I could watch Bolt when I’m in school?? I want an iPod! Can we ask dad?”
Me: … (thinking back to when dvd players were finally standard in laptops and I started sneaking in old Buffy episodes to work…)
*sigh*
Apples and trees, y’all.
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2 Responses to All Your Base Are Belong to Us.

  1. Kendris says:

    *looks up from watching Silverado on her iPod at work* Huh?

    Seriously, tho, it sounds like you're taking the right approach by enforcing short periods of reading & physical activity. 30 minutes won't kill him, and as he gets older, try him out on different genres to see if anything clicks.

    Parental guidance seems to be the missing ingredient in most of the video game addiction stories that I hear about, so the fact that you're dealing with the situation proactively is a big step in the right direction.

    Nothing wrong with being a video game geek, after all ;-P

  2. Songlian says:

    Hear, hear! @ Kendris' comment. Mom always hated games with a passion. Threats like "I'm gonna take your computer away if you don't stop playing that game now!" were quite common. Naturally, both me and my brother came to like games despite the fact that she was clearly convinced they were so bad they should be banned. I think it's very smart that you play WoW with Lucy and Connor next to you, while at the same time implementing a balance between reading/outdoors activities and their gaming interest.

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