I enjoy reading Steve Yoder’s Wall Street Journal column that he writes with his son Issac and now also with Levi. This morning the column addresses video consoles in the house. The train on that one has left the station in our home. We bought a classic XBOX when David was only 6! I actually was not for it at the time but did not feel strong enough to put up a fight. We now own 2 XBOX 360s and a PS3. No WII and I have no desire to get one, but I’ll probably lose that battle eventually. The battle I’m fighting now is holding out on texting for our phones (Cassidy & David have cell phones) which I expect I will soon lose. I feel the same way about texting as Steve feels about game consoles. The way kids use texting (most of the time) is a huge waste of time and it teaches them to be less social.
Levi makes the argument that it is his money and Steve replies it is not about the money but about the idea of owning a console and deciding he doesn’t want that distraction in the home. I think that is a reasonable reason not to own a console. Levi brings up the fact that his older brother was allowed to keep a used Nintendo that didn’t work too well. Steve argues that he allowed it because it didn’t work consistently. That’s not a very convincing argument. Whether it worked at ALL or not, the message sent was that game consoles in the home are OK…then…but now they aren’t.
Game consoles are pure entertainment just like watching TV. I happen to believe there is nothing wrong with mindless entertainment. Just like ANYTHING, the problem comes in excessive use of any form of entertainment be it TV, drinking, computers, comic books, etc. Yes it’s hard to constantly monitor and restrict activities like TV or game playing but nevertheless, I believe that’s what you need to do.
Do we do a good job of restricting TV/gaming in our home? Not good enough. Which is why even though we choose to allow these “distractions” in our home, I wouldn’t condemn someones choice to disallow either of these activities in their home. The only question I have for Steve is does he disallow computer games, portable game players, iPods, MP3 players or other electronic devices that could serve as unnecessary distractions? Since there is not a TV in their home, I wouldn’t be surprised if the answer was yes.