Parents Talk: Video Game Deprivation
Does depriving your kids of video games build character? Or does it simply cost them friends?
We were having The Talk. Our boys were telling us something that to them had long been obvious, but to which we’d been oblivious.
Their friends weren’t coming over anymore because there was nothing to do at our house.
And by that, of course, they meant we didn’t have a video game system.
The discussion wasn't an epic battle on the order of Mortal Kombat: Parental Deprivation. That might have been easier to deal with, in a way.
Instead, our young teen boys' message had a quiet, measured tone, as they were clearly resigned to the idea that our household was never going to be blessed with a game system. Years of hearing our dismissive (if ignorant) remarks about video games had led them to that silent conclusion.
They were simply cluing us in to the social costs of our unspoken, and they figured unbendable, ban.
In perhaps classic Minnesota passive-aggressive parenting style, we had never officially instituted a ban on video game systems, but we'd made it clear in subtle and not-so-subtle ways that they wouldn't be welcome in our house.
There were sporadically enforced rules on screen time. We rolled our eyes at their tales of epic video battles at friends' houses. Options like going outside or reading a book were highly encouraged.
Were we happy to avoid another wallet-taxing distraction? Yes, we were.
Were we willing to make our family social outliers for the peace and quiet of a home free of video-game explosions and jingles? Yes, we were.
Were we being old fuddy-duddies? Yes, we were.
They've adjusted, and probably the harm wasn't permanent. But should we have put aside our feelings against this new-fangled form of fun and listened when our boys sat us down and explained the modern facts of kid life?