My husband and I are at odds to whether to buy my son a playstation or Wii for his 7th birthday. He is gifted and is very obessive, energetic, imaginative, loves Harry Potter, star wars, lego, not much of an outside kid, prefers reading to sport.
I already have many battles with him about restricting time on computer games and DVD/TV so I am extremely against adding a game station of any type. We also have a bright 3 year old boy who follows his big brother interests.
My husbands thinks Wii might be good to do together as a family or to get him interested in sports. All my sons friends at school have one or the other so my son thinks he is the ONLY ONE in the world without.
I would love some opinions on the positives and negatives they have experienced with their families. Am I overacting or not?
We have Wii and restrict its use, a lot. I think if you established with him that the time battles must stop and have some sort of negotiation around how if you are happy with his accepting the rules gracefully then Santa may come to the party.
We like Wii, 4 yo girl and 6 yo boy can play together peacefully (otherwise, pretty rare event). We use the Sports like bowling as a family and with guests over. The children love MarioKart and son + husband like LegoStarWars.
We find it great in the winter and I use it as bribery often. Children are required to have their jobs done to get it and doing them slowly cuts into their Wii time - super fast jobs (quality control required).
Much more interactive than TV/DVD but also another screen-based activity.
We have both Wii and Playstation 2. We love Wii - I do especially! You can play tennis, golf, bowling and all that good stuff from the comfort of your own home. It's great for exercise in the middle of winter! However we only have the sports games - haven't tried the other types on it. I hurt my shoulder when we first got it from all the tennis I played!! For playstation 2 we have several Buzz games which comes with 4 controllers so 4 ppl can play at once. They are really fun and we play these as a family - good for more quiet sit-down play. Thinking games or strategy-type games we generally play on the PS. We don't tend to use either of them overly much though as the kids play games on their computers.
Hi - our girls haven't been too obsessed with the PS2 as of yet, but we've had some nice times as a family playing Lego StarWars and the co-operative game of Up. We dont do normal shoot-em ups (somehow Lego and light sabers seems ok ; )
They have also really liked Dog Island, but that probably appeals more to girls.
(We also use it for SingStar.....)
If you're concerned about exercise though, perhaps opt for the Wii.
(I have been very tempted by the Nintendo DS as there are a couple of really neat games that are only availabe for that platform: Scribblenauts and the Professor Layton series. They looked like great fodder for g&t kids.)
I have friends with kids (mostly boys) who do find it really hard to manage their gaming time. I think in that instance that clear, consistent rules are the only way to manage it.
We have Wii, and it's great fun! Wii Sports Resort is one of the best games. It is physically very active. I have had sore muscles the next day from playing some of these games with our kids. After our son plays Wii golf, he goes outside and putts around with his golf clubs on the lawn for ages, so it really gets him interested in sports.
We've just recently acquired a Wii and a Nintendo DSi after much resistance from both my hubby and me. We finally relented and I don't really regret it much. We do have to impose strict rules, but it is also a great way for me to get the kids to do chores or practice her piano ("you can play 1/2 hour of Wii if you do XYZ"
DD (10) loves both. For the Wii we also got a balance board and she does the skate boarding (SkateIt and on Wii Fit). She is very physically active though. She was put off her real skate board though, because she fell and hurt herself a few times.
My older daughter couldn't be bothered much with any of these, but she does enjoy the odd game on Wii Fit. She would must rather just sit and read or watch TV.
Staci - we have a Playstation and will get a Wii. However, in your case, would these games be appropriate with a 3yr-old in the house? I'd imagine there'd be quite a difference in coordination and motor skills required for some of these games between a 3yr old and 7yr old. You might find that the 3yr old is a bit excluded? I may be wrong - we never had one with a child that young. So you'll need to think of ways/games to include him too.
We've found a major positive of the playstation is the family time as we all like it; however, our kids are close in age so games that suit one suit the other.
Would you get your husband's support in enforcing strict limits on screen time? It seems to me from your post that he wants one, you don't. If you do decide to get one, make sure you and your husband are in agreement on the rules etc before getting one. If you're at odds over how much time, which games, who plays and when, before you have one, then it could become difficult. That to me seems to be the biggest issue you're facing. Establish limits first.
If your husband truly wants a family activity and an activity that sparks an interest in sports, why not take up something like orienteering together? I'm not suggesting this as an alternative to a Wii (I really want one of those!) but have you considered less-traditional sports?
Personally, I'd get one just because the other kids have one. I realise that seems like a terrible attitude but some gifted kids have enough trouble as it is 'fitting in' without making it worse by being the only child not to have something. My own kids, like many highly gifted kids, are 'different' (two years younger than classmates for a start) and although their individuality should be valued, sometimes it's hard for them. So I'm not averse to buying them what the others have to help them feel included. As parents we don't overindulge in shopping - we don't buy the latest clothes, things for the house, cars, etc. And the children don't get everything they want. But if there's something that will help them 'fit in' more, then they'll get it. This may not be teaching them the "right" lesson but sometimes the heartache is just so great I will do anything to help them feel more like normal kids.
My advice: Establish some ground rules with hubby *first*, decide how the pair of you will enforce them, try other family sport activities as well, seek out games for the 3yr old too, get your Wii, enjoy the time together, and relish in your son's happiness when he gets to go to school and, just like his friends, talk about how cool a Wii is ...
I say Wii! Our 11 & 9 yrs old boys LOVE it! Have had it for two years and we still believe it was better choice of it or Playstation. It gets them off the sofa and playing all sorts of games, of which they come away wet with perspiration. Haven't yet (touch wood!!!) heard them argue over it when it's just the two of them, can be an issue if a friend is over but that gets sorted with negotiation. If we had our time again we'd definitely pick Wii. Good for adults too!!!! :-)
I flat out refuse to get the kids a Wii or Playstation because I have no desire to wind up in the role of "Fat Controller" over yet another screen in our house - managing turn-taking and time limits for 3 kids using the TV and PC is already bad enough.
I love playing Wii or Playstation as much as the kids do, but I just don't buy the argument that "everyone has one". They really don't.
Lest I sound like a complete grinch, I should explain that I indulge the family's Wii/Playstation needs by hiring one during the school holidays. We hire it for 48 hours, play non-stop till our eyes are hanging out, and then return it to the shop. The kids are more than happy with this arrangement as a compromise.
Managing time limits is simple if you are super firm and super consistent. Any argument, eye rolling etc -device goes off and stays off for time you deem appropriate. It was hard at first, to be so firm, but the benefits have continued long term.
I was surprised at the responses and how many people have a Playstation or a Wii and are having fun with them.
We are obviously one of the few who don't have either and don't intend to get one. I feel that at school they are inside most of time so when they are at home they need to be out in the fresh air not stuck inside watching another screen. My daughter isn't sporty either but that doesn't stop her being outside having fun.
We have played Buzz at friends and it was a lot of fun but not something we need to own.
Mel's idea of hiring one for 48 hours in the holidays sounds like a good compromise.
I have to add that neither of my children are mad about the games. We don't have to worry about limiting time as they are very rarely on them. Just like their tv's - having tv's in their rooms have never been an issue as they don't spent a huge amount of time watching them and never have. They are used in the mornings before getting out of bed and then usually tv isn't turned on again till late afternoon/evening. During the day we sometimes use tv for our homeschooling projects ie if I have recorded a documentary. Our kids much prefer creative pursuits!!! In fact I suggest the Wii so at least they get up and moving!!
Staci - I'm the Anon who posted above on the 26th - we have PS but not Wii although I want a Wii.
I do need to add that our situation is the same as Rebecca's - we don't need to do a lot of limiting of screen time. The time together on the PS (we love singstar) is great, however, there simply isn't the time in our household to spend too much time on it as we're busy doing other things.
How would you feel about spending the money on a game if you don't get to use it much? For us, it's worth it, others mightn't feel the same way.
Do establish limits first though if you get one, regardless of how much opportunity you think you'll get to use it. It will ensure you and hubby are in agreement over rules, important in enforcing them of course.
We've 3 boys and there's no way we'd get a PS or Wii for our family. They are all born leaders with very very strong will, determination and persistance, and it'd end up being a very long and protracted period of time for me to be continually setting limits. They are all or none boys, so it would become an obsession. For me, it's like when there we're little, better to take all the valuable stuff out of exploration range, then I get to say yes, and not no all day.
Also, for our family, I think it's better for them to go outside and play, or play with each other.
My family already interacts too much with screens of various sorts. I can't think why I would spend money on a new system + games ++ when TV, DVDs, and the internet are already available.
While I only dream of being a TV-free household, MY OPINION IS :-) that although you can learn "things" from TV, games, etc, you would learn something more valuable by spending that time doing practically anything else.
(because you are using more of your body and brain and interaction skills)
For the whole family, I would whole heartedly recommend Wii! There are heaps of interactive games for the whole family. I love it more than my children! Itís convenient to get out a game like Trivial Pursuit when it is just a disc frankly! There are games for the spellers like My Word Coach (the vocab on this is hard, donít underestimate it!) all the Sports games for a bit of activity and a laugh! Funny rhythm games like Major Minors March. The balance games in the Wii Fit series are great for coordination, again, for the whole family to battle it out. In fact there is a really hard circus balance game in Wii Fit Plus with the balance board where you are trying to balance on a ball and catch balls thrown at you at the same timeÖ great fun and not that easy for anyone!
Like Rebecca, we donít find it has become an obsessive thing. Just now and again. We have one RPG, but for those who have RPG players on PC its more active than that as you have to physically wield your sword/controller. In Harry Potter you have to dance a crazy jig to mix you potions (well thatís how it looks from where Iím standing anyway). The controllers take more coordination than a computer mouse as they are not being pushed over a flat surface.
We highly recommend it. There is not much however for a 3 year old on it though as it does take more coordination than a PC in my opinion. Oh, and we didnít bow down to any pressure, we wanted it for us! We are RPG, and adventure/puzzle gamers ourselves :)
Go with your heart. If you think it'll become another thing to battle over, it probably will. Does your family need it? Not at all, they won't miss out on anything important without it. And there's a very good chance that they'll gain something without the screens that is a very rare thing these days.
Screens support the work/entertainment division in people's minds which is what leads to very insular living... rushing around to entertainment in cars instead of taking pleasure in walking and interacting along the way; having no time to enjoy growing food and cooking it from scratch because we spend so much time returning the rental DVD's and cruising the internet for the best Wii prices and fixing the computer when something goes wrong; rushing through the piano practice so we can play the favourite computer game instead of playing music together with the family and the neighbours; watching TV instead of standing at the port and admiring the big ships and imagining the journey they've been on.
I'm really happy to see all the positive posts, to realise how much families are gaining from Wii and so on. Good on them. But only choose that if it's what you want, not if you're concerned about the peer pressure from school. It is a slippery slope.