I must first say that this is my blog, a diary of sorts, and I post my feelings plainly. THIS IS A LOOOOONNNNGGG RANT!
Please be warned because I am really annoyed at this present time.
This is for all the moms out there who embrace video games for their children; For all of those women hiding in the shadows afraid to speak up; For Women Who Have to explain and defend their parenting to those who devalue our choice to embrace the games for your children.
BE NOT AFRAID!! THERE ARE OTHER WONDERFUL PARENTS JUST LIKE YOU! :-)
Most parents want what is best for their children. Most parents really do.
But more and more I'm finding that some parents, usually "newish" parents, want to jump on some sort of crazy bandwagon to tout their notions about parenting so that "the rest of the parents" will oooo and aahhh over their wizened choices.
Most of the time, I've noticed, those parents are the ones who are imposing some sort of limitation on their children, for no good reason other than, Because They Can or Fear or Because they've heard it is the right thing to do.
That, to me, is ignorance in action.
I was reading some posts recently, on a nationwide group site, that really irritated the snot out of me. A mother of 2 sons, ages 8 and 4, stated proudly that video games are off limits in their home and that she only allows 30 minutes of computer time in their home per day. She whipped out the name of some book as her valuable tool of knowledge. There were all sorts of positive replies from other mothers of young children stating they too will have none of that "non-sense" in their homes.
I suppose, since I've actually had experience raising children past the age of 8 years old, that I have some sort of "Hindsight is 20/20" perspective, but that doesn't make the imbecilic posts any less abrasive.
As my heart began to beat faster and I relied on my breathing to lower my blood pressure, I had to ask myself, "Shelly, why are you so very upset about this?"
I mean I am mad! I don't get bothered about other parenting styles very often, so why is this an issue of such importance to me? Let me tell you, I could have just jumped through the screen to slap some sense into these women.
I think it was the tone. I could just see their snotty little blond tipped heads as they implied that "those" parents who let their children play video games day in and day out are ignorant, uninformed and allowing their children to become fat, addicted, dead heads.
I'm nearly positive that if one of my children were to go over to their home and begin talking about playing his latest game, that those parents would look over at their spouse with an all knowing glance as if to say,
"That child is one of "those" kids. I can't wait to tell Marsha at the next PTO meeting."
Well, you know what? I'm sick and tired of listening to this crap! These are MY children they are referring to in their posts!
I'm Creating My Own Bandwagon....one with some experience behind it.
(Disclaimer To my good friends who limit video games. I am speaking to those judgmental little snots of parents who have that better than thou, condescending tone. I am going to rant at them. Please know I am very judgmental in this rant because I feel the need to respond or I'm going to explode. The post I tried to send on that site was denied. All they were allowing through were the "against gaming" comments soooo...Please take this as the rant it is intended to be. However, if you also believe I am a bad parents for allowing video gaming to ad nauseum at our home, I'm sorry to say that this is also directed toward your views also. Hey! Turn about is fair play! :o)
Now look, I understand that, in today's world, when they say their children are computer free and video game free it somehow makes that mother feel like she has jumped onto the "I'm raising my kids the right way" band wagon. They've probably bought into the myth that video games make kids fat or that they have too many blinking lights that cause ADD or whatever the case may be. Too bad they won't read the facts! Or look at the picture of the TOP video gamers in the world. Guess what, they're THIN! (that's Walshy and his crew)
Maybe they want accolades from others or whatever, but this sort of self indulgent thinking can really inhibit their children from achieving their full potential in our modern world.
"Modern World" I know that is a buzz word. Some parents want to shelter their children from the Modern World. They want to keep them held back to the time of horse and buggy when civilization was simpler or they at least want to hold their children back to the days of Pacman so they, as parents, can actually understand the games. However, unless they are planning to raise them in a commune or as an Amish person they are sorely kidding themselves.
Let's give up the fantasy, shall we? Our child will grow up very soon and probably need to work in this modern world. I don't care how many gardens we plant or how well we teach them to recycle and can foods, they'll still need to live in the modern world so give up the "no technology" fantasy. Wake up! We aren't raising children we are raising adults!
Now, if these "No Gaming Technology" type mothers haven't been duped into thinking that games make kids fat or ill, then they must just get a sick thrill out of enforcing rules that limit their children. Maybe they just want to "show them who's boss." They must just get a kick out of announcing that power to others and generating moot discussions about the right way to raise children. Yes "moot" because they are usually speaking with like minded parents who will give them all sorts of validation.
I, however, (in my most self affirming, prideful voice) do not like to limit, inhibit, or deny my children their full potential in any way. I don't like to jump on bandwagons. Knee jerk reactions can cause harm. Give me facts...Thank You Very Much!
I try to limit my children only when they are indeed in danger. Like say, ohh...geeze...what do I limit? Ummm... well...
Okay..I just asked Kazz because I couldn't think of any limitations I impose on my children.
He came up with three.
1. I wouldn't allow Kazz, at ages 14-16, to be alone with girls. Reason: Self Explanatory
2. I won't let our boys ride around the neighborhood will- nilly. They have to tell me right where they are going and then come right back. Reason: Predators, Rule #1, and we live in Detroit for crying out loud!
3. I don't allow disrespect to me, to other adults or toward anyone. No eye rolling, backtalk or sighing in disgust. Reason: People who are a respectful command respect in return. This translates into happier marriages and better boss/employee relationships. Win/Win situations.
When I'm not limiting my children's world I am challenging conventional wisdom. I have a hard time following dogmatic parenting or rigid parenting styles. One thing in particular that really gives me that prickly sensation on the back of my neck is hearing popular parenting myths propagated as fact and witnessing the, "you are absolutely right" affirming responses when they don't know what the heck they are talking about!
So when I read all the posts from parents who deny their children technology, not only did that familiar prickly sensation arise but I was overcome with an understanding that these well meaning (hopefully) parents were limiting their children's potential...Period.
"Why in the world would a parent WANT to limit learning experiences for their children?!" I ask.
"Learning?" you say with an eye rolling laugh. "Well, they will just have to learn outside! You're limiting them by allowing them to play games all day!" you say.
Guess what... You're not only assuming that video games are bad or hurtful you have gone the extra mile to Deny, Preach, Restrict and Curb a wonderful blessing your children could be using as part of their growth and development.
"We have enough books to off-set that situation!" You say
Guess what...Books are NOT the best way to learn anymore. Are they fun? Yes, for some people. But are they better? No! Textbooks are borrrinnnng! I dare say that they are one of the main reasons why Public Education is failing. The "time tested" textbook system has failed and in this era, they are nice to have, but not what it takes to succeed in the technological world.
"Oh you are wrong! It's because of those stupid games that books are dying out!" You say?
Yes, technology is pushing out the textbook. Laptops and Kindle are taking over. That only strengthens my argument! What's the first thing college students do these days when taking a new course? They go to the first class to see if they need to buy the book! And what's more,
the first thing most people do when they want to find the answer to a burning question is look it up....on the INTERNET!
Technology is here to stay, just like Rock and Roll. Get used to it or become one of those frumpy old farts from the "Ban Rock and Roll" era. That, my friend, is how your children will remember you if you don't stop this nonsense now.
If you truly want your children to grow into well rounded adults who are FULLY capable in the world they must live in, then teach them to garden, read, recycle, build a clubhouse AND type, use computer programs, look up things on the Internet and PLAY with technology. Let them PLAY!!
Video Gaming is a valuable tool for learning. Limiting video games and computer time ranks right up there with the book burnings of years ago! These limiters, these parents, are book burning!
If you want to give them knowledge, buy them a computer! Buy them Video Games systems!
Limit, Restrict, Reduce, Censor, Deny...These are words that those mothers are PROUD to say!
I've had some experience with Video games and television and music and cell phones.
We have PlayStation 1 and PlayStation2. We have the X-box and the X-box 360. Every one of our children have their own computer. We also have 4 cell phones, and 4 televisions.
Excess? Is it excess when schools buy new books, computers, games? Is it excess when a homeschooling parent buys new curriculum every year or $50 worth of books every month from Amazon or eBay? We're homeschoolers! These are learning tools!
Instead of buying curriculum to death, we buy technology that actually works and gives us ALL of those books and more!
If children are not learning to type, use computer programs and understand technology, THEY ARE BEHIND and will have a TOUGH time finding a job when they are adults!! Used vehicles, an affordable home and budgeting have allowed us to offer these tools to our children. We are very blessed to have them.
Count how many years it will be before your children turn 16 years old. That is how long you have to teach them to use technology before they get a job at McDonalds and have to use the screen to take orders. If they get a better job, the will need better skills.
Technology is not to be limited to help children...It is to be USED to help them! Video games and computers are wonderful learning instruments that enhance our children's lives and BETTER prepare them for the future they HAVE to live!
Yes, it is true. My husband and I have allowed our children to experience technology, unhindered by time restrictions. THIS is our blessing to them.
Yes my friend! I am NOT AFRAID TO LET THEM PLAY!
I see my children sitting for days on end trying to master a portion of a game. I see them, with their red eyes, studying the game, planning strategies, sitting, scrutinizing, sometimes day after day until the task has been accomplished.
Brian and I encourage it!
"Why your children must be stupid, slackers who are fat and ignorant." You say.
Why my children are physically active, well rounded, intelligent, social, laughing, joke telling, fun loving little rascals. I have football playing, foil fencing, Science loving, friend hanging out with, tree climbing, 8 hour a day video playing boys in our home. When Kazz was 14 year old he probably played video games and computer games more than that!
"They're damaged and you don't even know it!" you say.
Kazz, the hours on end video gamer, just turned 17 this month. He will graduate from college with an Associate of Business degree this year. He has a 3.4 gpa, has been on the Dean's list and still "plays" video games and is on his laptop hours and hours a day.
Our 12 year old learned to read playing video games. He learned to type so he could play online. He's also well on his way to going to college at the age of fourteen.
Our 9 year old largely learned to read and type playing video games also. He can tell the best stories and communicate beyond belief.
They also happen to be the best front flipping, back flipping, trampoline crazy antics initiators on the planet.
"Why they will become recluses!" You say.
There have been upwards of 10 children, teens, and adults alike in our backyard playing video games on our back porch. If anything video games promote sharing, friendships and bonding.
Video game playing has introduced our children to computer technology. Technology that is here to stay. Video Games have introduced and given our children practice in following directions. They have learned how to scrutinize and practice problem solving and logic. Games have also given our children practice in the use of their fine motor and spatial skills. They have, very often been quite a fun tool for Brian and I to bond and play with our children also.
I will not jump on that video game denying band wagon.
I will not be a part of information denial.
I will not impose restrictions on my children's interests.
I will allow them to grow, learn, experience and have a great deal of fun while achieving those goals.
I will allow them to learn!
LEARN I SAY!
Oh and I forgot one important thing about games, they are also entertaining and fun!
"BUT they need to develop their imagination! The only way to do that is through playing outside and working and chores. The old fashioned, no electricity kind of way."
As I count the many stories my children have written about games, characters and strategy, it is hard for me to even give that line of thought a moment of my time. I've witnessed backyard plays that were excellently organized to the fullest extent because of ideas fostered from video games.
Old fashioned? Yes, outdoor fun is wonderful. Climbing trees, planting gardens and reading books have a wonderful place in our lives. Here's the rub, I can't remember the last time some parent announced proudly that they are limiting the time their children are allowed to learn, experience, imagine, investigate, interpret and consider....
Oh Wait! THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE SAYING WHEN THEY LIMIT TECHNOLOGY!
Can we just get over the limiting of technology time to our children and include it instead? Let's just "jump ahead"...to the present day please....if for no other reason than I Just Can't Stand To Hear the ridiculous, unproven, CONDESCENDING, ignorance anymore.
I AM NOT AFRAID!
I AM A GOOD PARENT!!
I AM A GREAT PARENT!!!
MY CHILDREN ARE INTELLIGENT, NORMAL, INQUISITIVE, VIDEO GAME LOVING KIDS!
I WILL NOT BOW TO THE CONFORMING "WISDOM" THAT SATURATES THE HERE AND NOW.
I'LL WRAP MY ARMS AROUND THE FUTURE, GIVE IT A BIG HUG AND SAY...
PLAY ON BOYS! PLAY ON!
(Stumbling off my rant box...shewww I feel better)
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