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Poll: Video games are . . .

evil. 2 (5%)
eh, no big deal. 3 (8%)
some of them are fun. 19 (49%)
they rock! 10 (26%)
my life. 5 (13%)
allow me to explain. 0 (0%)
   Discussion: Video Games...
Kris 'engaged' Bedient · 16 years ago
... are evil! At least, that's what I've been telling my son. Now there is some evidence that limited video game play may be beneficial. What do you think?

Jeremy is only 6, but already he is seeing peers playing them while he isn't. Maybe the damage of being left out is worse than the risk of becomming obsessed.

Are there any games that are safe for little kids? And what system would be best to get? I was looking at gameboy advanced sp because it seems to be the only one under $100.
Bender Back · 16 years ago
I don't think they're good for young kids.

This may be just my experience, but all of my cousins (both sides of the family) who started playing video games at a young age seem to be socially, developmentally, and perhaps intellectually stunted.

My cousin Hayes, for example... this interaction occurred last year. He was nine at the time:

Hayes: *says something about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles*
Leah: Oh, wow! I didn't know they were still around. I used to play Turtles as a kid. I wanted to be Raphael, but they always made me be April.
Hayes: You had the video game?
Leah: No, we'd play.
Hayes: ...in the video game.
Leah: No. We'd pretend to be the characters.
Hayes: Ew, that's weird!

On the other side of the family, Jared, now 16, will completely ignore other people at every chance and hide in a back room with some electronic device. Eliza (10), the daughter of my mother's other brother, can tell you all about her Pokemon and Neopets, but that's friggin' it. Both of them? Dull, dull children.

I've just met so many kids attached to their Gameboys. It really frightens me.

I'd wait until he was older.

However, YMMV.
sheryls Back · 16 years ago

i agree, he may be too young. i played atari when i was that young but it's just not quite as engrossing. there's only so long you can play pitfall before you get pissed off.

i started playing nintendo when i was 9 because, well, that's when it came out. i cant say i'm a social leper or anything. but it's up to you as a parent to moderate the usage.

also, the leapfrog learning system (the leapster) is something John's 7 year old niece uses and she loves it, and it teaches math, vocabulary, etc.

i would say that a lot of games help with problem solving and logic skills. and of course, the age-old hand-eye coordination decree. i couldnt tell you if that's true. am i terribly hand-eye coordinated? sure i guess. but there are other ways to teach it. musical instruments, for instance.

i'm really tired so i dont know where i'm going with this (and it would be ironic if i was tired because i was up all night playing final fantasy, which, i was not ;) but essentially i dont think anything your child does that he enjoys and has some rewards would be detrimental as long as you dont let them dominate his life.

Brian Dinsky Back · 16 years ago

I've been playing video games since I was 2 year old. It is pretty difficult to say whether or not this has had a negative impact on me, but I can definately say that it has had a signifigant andpositive impact on my hand-to-eye coordination. I would agree that moderation is a good idea for young gamers, since a lot of games these days aremore about the graphics, and notas much geared towards increasing cognitive capacity.

Nintendo is a WONDERFUL company to stick with if you are interested in games that are family-oriented/appropriate for young gamers. Nintendo just announced/is about to release a new mini version of the Gameboy Advance, called the Gameboy Mini. I'm not sure if it is more money than the GBA SP, but it's pretty darn sweet-looking. Although, the GBA SP might be more appropriate, as it has a lid which can be closed, offering protection to the LCD screen on the GBA, whereas the Gameboy Mini has an exposed screen. That's the only considerable difference I can think of.

As far as handheld games go, Nintendo is by far the way to go. If you are speculating any sort of home console (more parental oversight vs. something he can take with him and use anywhere for as long as he can get away with, presumably), I would suggest Nintendo's GameCube, as it features the same family-safe type library of software.

Hope it works out for you folks.

sheryls Back · 16 years ago

Riff brings up a good point, stick with nintendo if you're that young. playstation and xbox are definately geared for older gamers. there are games geared toward children on the two platforms but not as much.

i know a gamecube is less than $100 these days, i got mine last year for $99 around christmas time. it may be a good idea for a christmas present for your son. ebay is also a good place to look for games.

Brian Dinsky Back · 16 years ago
$50 Used, EBX. I think maybe $60 at Gamestop.

Sad thing is, my modchip, and the hd component cable i'm ordering for m'new hdtv, both cost more than my GameCube did. There's something seriously wrong with me, they say.
*joolee* Back · 16 years ago

I grew up with very little video gaming & TV. The most we ever had was a Sega Genesis, and the only game that interested me was Sonic the Hedgehog.

I don't think that he'd be damaged by not having video games. 6 yrs old isn't too young to learn things like "Just because all the kids have it doesn't mean I will." I mean, for fun, video games are def. mind numbing, de-stressing tools. It's like candy - good in moderation.

And if you are concerned about motor skills, teach him to juggle! :) All the cool kids juggle and it's a more physical activity than moving your fingers quickly.

caroline: tired. Back · 16 years ago
teach him to juggle! :)

dude...totally. i learned to juggle at camp two years ago- i didn't actually take the circus arts, but i got two trial classes where i learned to juggle.

it's so friggin addicting...and good fun. plus, people are amazed, unless they themselves can juggle. oh, and you can juggle pretty much anything if you try hard enough, which is what makes it fun if you're bored. :)
lawrence · 16 years ago
I don't think video games are inherently bad. But overindulgence is certainly not healthy, and there are definitely video games out there that are quite inappropriate for six-year-olds.

But it really depends on the game and how much time kids spend playing.
Talcott Back · 16 years ago
Yeah, I pretty much agree with that

I'd stay away from Quake, Doom and that sort (for the most part, some kids have the reality/fiction distinction down early on) but there are plenty of games which are fine for younger kids. Maybe it's a generational thing, but I tend to look back at most of the older nintendo games.
Mario, Megaman, Tetris, Racing Games, etc. Plus, you can find old nintendo/super nintendos fairly cheap.

It realy depends on the kid and their reaction. If they're spending all thier time playing, then the time should be cut back, but that's not hard to impose if the system is in the family room.

Just keep an eye on how the kid's react, and go from there.

*shrug*
I don't personally know anyone who has been harmed by exposure to the games, and I know a number of kids who have been helped by it.
Bender Back · 16 years ago
My cousin Jared had brain cancer. It was on his brainstem and they thought that video games would help him regain some coordination in one of his hands.

They were right to an extent. It also made him a creepy little socially retarded addict.

If he had parents that knew how to parent, though, that probably wouldn't have happened.
meh · 16 years ago
Recent Studies have shown that video games help with fine-motor coordination (something they've been suspecting for some time), and they also can help build the ability to make quick decisions based on numerous factors.

That said? I think 6 is a little bit young to be allowed anything like free-reign with games. So long as you control his game playing time, however, and you're the final authority of what games he's playing? I think it's not a bad idea.

Something like the GB Advanced SP is probably a good call: It's cheap, and it shouldn't be too hard finding apropriate games (my opinion only; I've never tried to find age-appropriate games for a little kid).

There are puzzle-type games (and I think some racing games) made specifically with children in mind, most of the Mario games are probably still good, and I think they still make a lot of Disney-based games.

The big thing is just that you know what you're getting him into with any game you buy for him to play - listen to what he thinks he wants, but pay close attention to the game's ratings - and if you can, find someone who can tell you if it's really age-approrpriate or not.

I remember being little, and being the only kid I knew without a Nintendo. And I remember playing Super Mario Brothers with two of my cousins on my Dad's side. It's not as bleak as it looks - the idea of small kids playing video games. But as implied already in this thread - a lot of the potential value/detriment comes from how the parenting deal with it. So I think you (and Jeremy) will probably be just fine. :-)
Brian Dinsky · 16 years ago

As it were, I got lucky, as video games have more or less only benefitted me in the long run. My reflexes and hand-to-eye coordination are both signifigantly developed. Additionally, I neglected to mention the signifigant improvement of dexterity as a result from my experience with gaming over the past 2 decades.

Now all they need to do is make a Super Mario that teaches you how to talk to girls! ROCKIN'! :P

Nik Chaikin Back · 16 years ago
Right on brotha"!
sheryls Back · 16 years ago
isnt that what dating sims are for?
Brian Dinsky Back · 16 years ago
isn't THAT what Japan is for?
:P
caroline: tired. · 16 years ago
I think when I was six, the original game boy came out, and somehow i won one. along with it, i won a couple games, including super mario, tetris, and kirby's dream land.

i still have that game boy, even though my bros have the newer ones, and the original games are still fun. they're not addicting or anything, but they're still incredibly fun. especially kirby-that little dude rocks.

until two christmases ago, game boys were all my family had. now we have a gamecube, which i find a lot more addicting than the game boy games that i could play for awhile, but not feel like i have to complete anything. kirby and mario didn't have a save feature, so you started over each time. games like "animal crossing," are totally addicting, and that's the game my brothers are currently obsessed with. (both age 10) I have a game on there too, and apparently some tiger is mad at me for not playing often enough. and if I were younger and a little tiger in my tv was mad at me, i'd be playing that game more often. ;)

gamecube is good too, but probably better for older kids. and kids like me, who can use super smash brothers to get the cute neighbor boy to come over. ;)

so, yeah. game boys are a smart choice. they're less addicting, can be taken places, (like on loooooong car rides) and have games that are targeted more towards kids. plus, they've still got a "cool" factor.

now you've got me wanting my game boy. *goes to fetch some AAs*
Kris 'engaged' Bedient Back · 16 years ago
ummm, might wanna close that tag, hmm?
caroline: tired. Back · 16 years ago
ha. wow. :P
Bruce Rose Back · 16 years ago
Tetris is the most addictive game ever.
caroline: tired. Back · 16 years ago
when you're six?
*joolee* Back · 16 years ago
When making origami turtles in calculus class gets boring. :) Gaaaw...I used to have dreams about tetris - blocks fitting into blocks. I loved my TI-83.
caroline: tired. Back · 16 years ago
you took calculus when you were six? ;)

just kidding.
*joolee* Back · 16 years ago

haha, NOOOOOO.

That was what we called 12th grade sped calc. For those too stupid or lazy to take AP Calc.

nate... Back · 16 years ago
No, when you get a dual player version and play one game with each hand. :)

That's how I developed my tetris "problem".

I had to stop playing it... it was controlling my life.

Bruce Rose Back · 16 years ago

Ok... Tetris was the most addictive game ever, when it was the pack-in for the original Game Boy. My addiction was finally broken when my Tetris NES cart was stolen.

It's still a captivating game, especially for people who (a) despise first-person shooters, and (b) think sports games are overrated.

Video games have been going downhill since Coleco went under.

Jºnªthªn Back · 16 years ago
It came out in 1989. You came out in 1991. You must be thinking about the gameboy color.
caroline: tired. Back · 16 years ago
You came out in 1991.
true, true. well, that's the one i won. the big, chunky, grey one in the photo. i'm looking at it right now.

my brother got the color when he got his tonsils out, and he was born in 1994. so it was later than then. but i ended up playing it, because while he got attention, i wandered around the house. :P
Nik Chaikin Back · 16 years ago
I got a Game Gear when i had my brain surgery
Jºnªthªn · 16 years ago
I always thought the idea of violent video games leading to violence was ridiculous.... until the day I played Carmageddon II for 3 hours, and then went out driving. It took a lot of willpower not to run over pedestrians and ram cars out ot my way.
Tori Rose · 16 years ago
Okay. My family used to play video games together. The Legend of Zelda was like family time because we were all good at different things... my mom and I were great with the puzzles, my brother could kill any of the bad guys, and my dad laughed at us cause we were total dorks about it. I dont think its hurt me at all... We didnt play all the time though. Video Game time was restricted so that we would do other things, like I loved drawing and playing with small figurines andmy brother was into sports. I think its just a matter of making sure it doesnt completely take over your kid's playtime. My parents also restricted our television to Seseme Street before school and Inspector Gadget when we got home for a few years. Same principle - make sure kinda use their imaginations. I still have all my gaming systems. It never stunted my mind, and it certainly helps with hand-eye coordination, but I definately think that if a kid spends ALL his or her time with video games it can cause problems.
siobhan's a londoner · 16 years ago
Well all we had was an amstrad ith a tape deck for games and no personal computer until this year. My other believed that computers were evil. AS a result I get addicted to computer gaes and see themas a guilty pleasure. I am hooked on SSX3 on the X Box and even on Solitaire and also Klax. think would have less of a problem if I had some access as a child and there are studies that show it helps for some children but thy may not have social skills. I think the social skills bit is dependent on the parent though. If you leave the console in your childs room and are paranoid about him leaving the house and talking to people then you may get those side effects (as a family I saw in a recent study did).

Thanks to my mother I have a fear of/ fascination with new technology which does not put me in the best position when looking for jobs.

Finally Zelda made my friend Paul geta 2:1 and not a First in his degree because he felt the had to finish it rather than study for his finals. Fil spent too much tme on Championship Manager rather than do one of his essays. Students always lik excuses not to work and video gmes are the perfect excuse. Ban computers in college,maybe but not before?
sheryls Back · 16 years ago

Ban computers in college,maybe but not before?

might be hard to get a computer science degree then, don't you think? :D

Talcott Back · 16 years ago
You'd just have to get really good at working a difference engine :-D
sheryls Back · 16 years ago

heh. well, not to mention the fact that it's a total self-control issue, and banning it isnt going to help anyone.

i graduated AND played videogames :P

Jºnªthªn Back · 15 years, 11 months ago
There are these commercials running for some online school that seems to equate programming games with playing games. "Can you believe we get paid to play games!" - shit like that.
sheryls Back · 15 years, 11 months ago

ha! no kidding. no, no that's like saying "working for pixar! i cant belive i'm being paid to watch animated movies!"

Bruce Rose Back · 16 years ago
Klax is such agreat game.
Gordondon son of Ethelred · 16 years ago
Does anyone know the glory that was pong? I remember when that came out.

I think I still have my breakout video game. Yes that is how they were sold, not as game systems but as games. It did have pinball too but I was never too crazy about that.
Talcott Back · 16 years ago
I know the glory of it.
Although I'll admit that most of my pong playing was on Commander Keen's watch ;-)
Bruce Rose Back · 15 years, 11 months ago

I think I'm down to three pong sets now, but one of them is color.

How about the Odyssey2? Electronic Table Soccer is fantastic.

Brian Dinsky Back · 15 years, 11 months ago

YEAH DAWG. I still have my father's Super Pong standalone console relic. Silly 'lil thing, it is.I love how it runs on batteries, produces it's own audio output, has both controllers built into the unit, and the only wire running from the damn thing is the composite output.

I mean, CMON, the entire controller was a friggin' potentiometer.

I'm tempted to pop that bad boy open and tinker around. I don't think I care if it voids the warranty...

I'm tempted to flush-mount a 2.5" TFT LCD into the damn thing, then redirecting the video output right into the screen. Of course, only problem then would be how to power the whole thing while keeping the unit mobile. Sounds like useless fun to me. Let's see... this pong runs on what, maybe 3-4.5 volts? I'd need a whole extra 12v power source just to run the LCD.I love how my little projects are never even remotely worth the time aside from a sense of constructivity. I'm sure the pong machine would be pleased to know that few of my projects tend to get past that whole "dude that would be SWEET" stage.

Ahh, sweet video games... who needs social interaction ANYHOO? Isn't that what the internet is for?

End tangent.

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