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…About Video Games and Young Kids

by The Momma on April 22, 2011

This week, Lex from Dorkisms is joining us for our chat. We had a BLAST talking with her, and veered off into many many directions (so apologies if things are a little scattered!) and it pretty much solidified that 1) she’s awesome 2) we need to connect with more awesome folks like her and 3) we will DEFINITELY be doing this again!

The Daddy: Video Games: Emotional Violence Desensitizing Activity or Fun Time to Engage with Your Child?

The Momma: Well, video games are going to be a part of the Noodle’s life–I remember you playing games with him sitting in your lap when he was like, 3 months old.

Lex: Jer and I always knew that our kids (when we had them) would be growing up with games.

D: Yeah, seems kind of hypocritical for us to say “video games are bad!”

Lex: We’ve limited our game playing big time with since the girls were born.
Lex: I mean, I think we did it more when they were teeny b/c they didn’t know what was up. They could see a mothman and be like “…baba.”

D: Same here.

Lex: Here’s the thing: the wee ones seem to be interested in the most age-inappropriate titles
Lex: It’s some kind of unwritten law.

M: I think it’s different when they’re older though, when you can explain a little more.

D: …but I think you need to do that anyway with you know, life.

Lex: For sure.

D: Every time I ever hear about video games or music or whatever it is that influenced kids to be evil and go postal, I get pretty frustrated. It could be anything, but it’s blaming the wrong problem.
D: What about you, Lex, why aren’t you concerned, playing in front of your kid?

Lex: I’m extremely concerned. I mean, she sort of creeps in like a ninja. I’ll be all “it’s quiet/nap time, stay in your room”…

D: So you don’t play in front, she just sneaks in?

Lex: No, not if I can help it.

D: oOOOooh. sorry.

Lex: lolol don’t be
Lex: But, like, in the case of Resident Evil, I have limited my play times as much as I can.
Lex: But then last week she crept down the stairs as I’m shooting a licker in the face with a shotgun and I had explained “this is scary, this is a grown up game” but that didn’t deter the Midget. Instead, she sat down and was like “Who’s that guy?”

D: And?

Lex: Then she started recognizing characters that appeared in MVC3 so her interest was doubly piqued.

D: She didn’t freak out and think “Oh my god! You killed someone!”

Lex: Well, I explained before hand that I was killing monsters and I guess it helped that what she saw (the licker) didn’t look human.

D: Sure, but she didn’t recoil in fear or get scarred for life. Its the death concept that I think isn’t a reality yet. Has she ever experienced something being described for real as being dead?

Lex: That was my next thing. She learned about death very early when our cat dropped dead. Thankfully not in front of her or anything. But we had to explain what happened. Jeremy and I agreed that we weren’t going to sugarcoat it or lie about it

D: How old is she?

Lex: She’s 4.5 but the cat died when she was 2. She still talks about it, which is really sad.

Lex: She doesn’t seem to get scared of, like… MONSTERS, though.

D: So she actually does have a concept of it.

Lex: Big time :(

D: Well, I think that there are times to expose kids to stuff, and times to wait, but I guess I just never fell into any camp about sheltering kids from video games. I know it’s a good idea, I just can’t wrap my head around what’s the best age.

Lex: Yeah, I don’t think there truly is a “best” age…

M: I think her age makes that pretty different though. I mean, the Noodle isn’t even 2 yet vs. 4.5. That’s a pretty important 2 years, development wise.

D: That 2 year gap may be all it needs.

M: I have to ask if you handle Midget & Munchkin differently in how you deal with this stuff? Or think about it. Because isn’t Munchkin a little closer to the Noodle’s age?

Lex: Yeah, she’ll be three on Halloween and she’s much different than her sister in so many ways.
Lex: To my dismay, Midget led her downstairs during my RE extravaganza today. Somehow “go play in your room with your sister” turned into “scar your sister for LIFE”.

D: Did SHE freak out?

Lex: LOL not even close!

D: I just don’t think it necessarily makes sense that a kid is gonna see an image onscreen and then associate it specifically with violence or death, especially when shows like Yo Gabba Gabba would be regarding as insanity if we thought the kid was gleaning as much EXACT reality from it you know?

M: True, YGG is kind of like a drug fueled trip.

Lex: YGG scares the shit out of me

D: Magic robots? Monsters? Talking Food? Who’s to say that isn’t damaging?

Lex: Oh, yeah, definitely.

M: Muno’s eye alone!

D: I happen to like YGG, but it’s a similar argument, in my opinion. What about bugs bunny and anvils or safes dropping?

Lex: I fear that Clifford the big red dog is far more damaging than some of the things that are deemed “inappropriate” for wee ones.

D: Right? Why aren’t we looking at these things the same way? It’s a weird double standard.

M: Well, I do think with video games some of it does come back to the fact that you’re driving the story, not being passive.
M: So people freak out over the fact that you’re “teaching” kids how to kill stuff.

D: But again, that’s inferring a LOT to the kid. What does he know about what that means?

Lex: From what I have heard, that’s pretty much the meat and potatoes of it. That whole interactivity aspect of gaming.

D: How does he make the leap all of the sudden that what he sees onscreen is being directed from the control of Mommy or Daddy? Seems like some big leaps.

M: Well, again, yes, at 2. But as he gets older…

D: Right, but then as he’s older, we can explain the concept of GAMING as opposed to controlled reality.

Lex: Exactly. And that’s what people seem to miss.

D: It’s this weird thing where people assume their kids are gonna get brainwashed, that there’s NO other parenting going on, that were not explaining what’s happening, and the kids are just watching passively and being forcefed the situation. It isn’t fair to the kid or the parent, and puts FAR FAR too much power in the guise of this game.

M: Well, but isn’t that the gist of many parenting brouhaha’s? That the parent isn’t going to parent, but let TV or music or whatever parent?

D: Well, yeah and that’s stupid. I’m sure the same argument was made when violent pictures, books, comic books and TV shows came out.

M: So it comes down to, as usual: parent your kids.

Lex: LOL pretty much!

D: If you ARE just planting your kid in front of whatever it is, you SHOULD be terrified.

Lex: WORD.

If you’re interested in joining us for a Quiet! The Adults are Talking  email me at themomma (at) noodleknobs.com


D: I’m sure the same argument was made when violent pictures, books, comic books and TV shows came out.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Lex April 22, 2011 at 9:58 am

Once again, thanks for having me! Good conversation = good times!

Reply

The Daddy April 22, 2011 at 11:08 am

A pleasure! Hopefully in the future, we can work out all the kinks to make it a litlte more smooth. Less chaos, less rambling, fewer ninjas.

Reply

Lex April 23, 2011 at 9:43 am

Nothing wrong with ninjas :)

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TechyDad April 22, 2011 at 11:19 am

Yo Gabba Gabba is definitely weird. The talking food gets me the most. It is happy about being eaten (and, in fact, begs to be eaten on occassion). Then the character tosses it down his/her throat whole and the food starts dancing in the character’s stomach, presumably while being digested. “There’s a party in his tummy! So yummy, so yummy. His digestive acids are so burn-y. It’s painful, so painful. We’re dissolving all away-y. Goodbye-y, cruel world-y.” Can someone please tell me what they’re on so I can make sure to stay far, far away from that stuff?

Reply

clara April 26, 2011 at 2:16 pm

The food is happy! Because food is for eating, that’s its job! Then it gets digested and goes back to the earth and grows MORE FOOD! Yay!

If it was a show for small fruit and vegetable children, it would be a very different POV.

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The Daddy May 3, 2011 at 12:36 pm

I am TOTALLY with you on the talking food. Who’s happy to be eaten? And then more singing in the stomach, full of the aforementioned acids? Borderline sadistic. But now, I have a brand new song to sing along to, and thank you for that.
So burn-y, so painful!

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Brobee April 26, 2011 at 1:50 pm

HATERS GONNA HATE.

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The Daddy May 3, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Dammit Brobee, I expected this kind of response from you. Go eat your vegetables!

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Natzu August 2, 2015 at 2:42 am

i had prickly pear catcus in my back yard in Cocoa Florida growing up we used to pick the fruit and make mud pies out of them lol and now i find out you can make jelly out of them and that they are really benifical to your health;)

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clara April 26, 2011 at 2:19 pm

I don’t play video games but I take the same approach as you all. Explain. Answer questions. Trust. You never know what’s going to scar a kid for life (or for a year) – mine was scared of sheep for almost a year, he got over it. My younger one is currently terrified of bugs, which is awesome given that spring is sprung. Who knows why.

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