Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Taming the Gaming Monster (Post 1 of 7)

An interview with Love and Logic speaker Jedd Hafer and blogger Jill Hasstedt

I am excited to be able to share over the next few weeks the answers to some questions on the topic of video games that I posed to Love and Logic speaker, Jedd Hafer.   In the last 20 years, the video game industry has exploded! They are fun, engaging, highly addictive and expensive! Gaming can be as much a problem in marriages (as Dads absent themselves from the family) as it is for young boys who are more interested in gaming then in family interaction, homework, sleep, or physical activity. 

All of this presents quite a challenge to parents.  With these concerns in mind, I posed a series of questions and real life scenarios (from what I often hear in the Love and Logic classes I facilitate) to Jedd.

Jedd Hafer
Question 1: Jedd, a common perception is that when it comes to gaming, males are hit harder hit than females. Is this true?
That sure seems to be the case. Not to say it’s not a problem for girls, but there is some data that shows males gaming a lot more than females. In my house, my 3 boys are much more into gaming than my one daughter. Of course, ALL kids need good limits and supervision when it comes to video games.

Question 2: How much screen time is too much screen time ? (At age 5? 10? 15? )

I’ve heard my friend and mentor Dr. Charles Fay say 'As much as 30 minutes a day.'" That is not very much – most kids have waaayyy more. But there is a lot of data linking excessive screen time to poor school performance, aggression, and departure from parents’ values. I would not presume to tell parents an exact number, but the healthy number is probably lower than we think.

In my house, we are more flexible, especially as our kids get older. The limit often ends with “when chores and homework are done”. My kids have the ability to have more leisure time if they have taken care of their responsibilities. Just like real life!

Where we have blown it is when we let them play games TV FIRST and then fight with them later to get stuff done."

Next Post: What boundaries do you see good parents setting?

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