Monday, December 20, 2010

do video games kill imagination?

Miles was scheming this morning, desperate to get a Wii in our house.

I denied him yet again. Even told him that maybe we should cancel Christmas gifts altogether because his disappointment at not getting a Wii would be very depressing for his parents. (Avery very quickly made it clear that he would NOT be disappointed in anything!)

I told him that he need to be using his imagination. "What would you be doing or thinking if you weren't obsessing about a Wii," I asked him.

"I don't have an imagination anymore," he said.

"Why don't you go write a story about your imagination. Where did it go? How did you lose it? Your quest to find it...What has it been up to?"


He returned with this limerick:

I lost my imagination
I think it went on vacation
It didn't like me

I played too much Wii

And it's learning multiplication

He explained to me that if he still had his imagination, it would be learning plutification which requires imagination, but instead it's just learning math facts.

I think he's brilliant. But, of course, I'm his mom.

why we don't have a video game system in our house (yet?)

It's Christmas time. The time when those of us in the No Video Game Camp start to question how dedicated we are to saying NO to Wii, XBox, PS3 and a DS. I really don't mind if my kids play these at your house. I just don't want them in mine. I often run through this list mentally to remind myself why I fight the temptation to upgrade my coolness status with my boys.

1. Video games take over your thoughts. I know what it's like to be sitting in class and wishing I could just stop thinking about fitting Tetris pieces together.

2. Video games give you a false sense of accomplishment. I could place Sonic the Hedgehog with my eyes closed in high school. I'm not even exaggerating. Also, hearing my boys regale eachother with stories of conquering levels at the dinner table drives me nuts. I have no context to even feign interest. It's isolating.

3. Video games take away time that you could be making a real memory that's worth sharing or writing about some day. (I'm feeling the irony here, but this is cautionary, not inspiring!)

4. Video games kill imagination (because of their thought domination!). Now, I have to say the lack of video games has inspired video-game-like imaginations. My boys used to pretend to be in a video game while we drove around town.

5. Video games would be the FIRST thing I would take away if I were going to discipline my kids. I don't want to give my kids a gift that I KNOW I would take away almost daily. (I feel the same way even if they were to invest in it themselves. So I've squashed the idea of saving for it.)

To be perfectly clear, my kids have played plenty of Webkinz and computer-based video games. But, because it's on my computer, it's very limited compared to what it would be if they had their own system.

Which brings me to number...

6. If they DID have their own system, I wouldn't regulate it enough. I would SOOOO enjoy the peace and quiet it would bring that they'd play it forever (when they weren't grounded from it, of course).

related post to follow shortly...