Taking Action and Separating My Boy from Video Games… at least for now

I’m pissed off.  Angry, with a fire lit beneath me.  And it’s my own fault.

As parents we make mistakes.  We make choices, calculated guesses after weighing a number of factors, that seem important at the time of the decision.  We live with consequences, secretly crossing our fingers behind our backs hoping what we decided was right.  Well, what I decided was wrong.  And the fire lit beneath me is the fire of pure determination to turn it completely around.

See, my B is sweet.  Like, super sweet.  He will give most anything up to anyone if they ask.  If he really wants to hold onto it (obviously toys are what we’re talking about) and he sees it’s upsetting someone, he inevitably, without prompting, stand with an outreached hand and say, “it’s okay, you can play with it if you want.”.  He’s sweet.

Enter video games on a brand new Wii / Xbox system just before he turned 4 last Christmas.  Enter our accidentally realization that he’s really good at video games when he had never seen one before.  Enter an obsession with Legos and a sweet boy who went with his father one day to get video games for the new gaming system and asked, “please, please can I play?”.  Enter a video games that had not so bad of ratings, with swords / lightsabers and cute little Lego guys whose pieces fall apart when they’re hit.

I made a decision that I’m now trying to undue.

Separating my boy from video games

Boys will be boys – a saying I don’t subscribe to.  My boy learned to hit, to punch, to slash with swords, snap with ‘guns’ and otherwise find an ‘angry’, destructive side that otherwise was not a part of his personality.  Yes, he’s growing and developing, and yes, there’s a part of him that’s going through the developmental appropriateness of figuring out how life works…

But there’s another part of him that was introduced to acts of seemingly innocent violence (if there can be such a thing) that has been difficult for him to connect only with video games and disconnect in real life.

In light of recent events in our world, I am stronger in my convictions that while I can control his world, I will dissuade him from becoming a boy growing up in an angry world who has no ability to tell the difference between right and wrong, good and bad, harm and health, fake and real… and control his impulses with such.  Drastic?  Maybe, but I’m not willing to take chances on his future.

While he’s young, I’m unraveling that which I have allowed to be creative.  I’m refuse to stand idly by, noting his changes, the timing to the introduction of video games and his emotionally incompatible development with them.  They aren’t bad video games.  It’s NOT the video games, it’s just my boy isn’t ready for them.  So, they’re gone.  Along with all the swords, guns, lightsabers or anything else violent that we’ve allowed into our home.  When he’s more emotionally capable of understanding these differences, he’ll be able to play them again.

He knows this is an issue, he knows I’m not happy about it.  He knows change is coming.   He’ll be pissed, and that’s okay.  I’ll take the pissed off (now) 5 year old that I can control, rather than the disconnected, dangerous man I can’t.

3 Responses to Taking Action and Separating My Boy from Video Games… at least for now

  1. I remember my oldest brother, didn’t matter where we were, he found weapons…garbage lids became shields ( for you younger people, metal round lids on trash cans) fishing poles became swords. He too was a very sweet kind person. I wonder what he would have been like if we had had more than a black and white tv with 2 stations to watch. I do think boys will be boys…but I don’t agree with introducing more than they need or can handle. My bother knew enough just reading books and watching Tarzan movies. Good luck to and for the record, we never had video games in my house…yes my kids were very deprived, but developed other skills. I just didn’t see anything positive with the endless hours spent playing video games.

  2. I’m in agreement with you and though we haven’t faced this yet, I am not sure how I will handle it. I don’t agree with the desensitization that video games create with our kids. Watching someone die on a screen and then they pop up like nothing happened and try again. You don’t get a second chance when you do something like that in real life. And kids build that up in their minds.

    Though I do have to say that my son (just turned three) has made guns out of weird things, pretended to shoot people, etc and has not been introduced into violent tv shows or video games. Some of it is that adventure they crave in their own genetic make up.

  3. Are you opposed to cartoon violence? Like anvils dropping on heads of bad robot guys?

    You might want to take a look at Disney’s Toontown Online. He can create his own toon and play games and fight robot “cogs” who want to make toons sad.

    I think they offer a 3-day free trial. My son has been playing it for years (as well as playing the Lego DS games); he’s not displaying any desire for anything more realistic (and is a stickler about knowing what rating each game has).

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