Can video games replace the real playground?

Play Time

The answer is:

Yes, they certainly could

But

No, we should not allow this to happen!

Video games are fun but they cannot become a substitute for a real playground with kids in real fresh air. It is so sad that so many parents are losing sight that kids have to be kids… they need to go out and explore, discover new things and have their own adventures… this is an important part of growing up…

As most of you know our roof didn’t survive the pouring rain and we were flooded. The roof is sorted but bedroom still needs a crucial make-over. In light of this we decided to sale our mid sleeper kid bed and replace it with a new one. A few days ago the new owners of the bed arrived to collect it and with them a charming 8 year old boy. We agreed that we would pull it apart all together so it would be easier to see how to make back in to a bed later on. Lots of screws to undo… As the bed has lots of storage underneath I started to talk with the little boy about his plans and where his things will go… and basically all he was interested in was to find the perfect spot for his Xbox and games. Ok, I thought to myself, kids play video games, this is nothing new. So to keep the conversation going I asked what his favourite game is at this moment. And the answer was: GTAV. I think at this point Mum noticed my rather shocked face so she started to explain… Oh, but he has 2 older brothers, so you know…I cannot help, all he wants to do is to play a video games…

OMG so what!

Boy is 8 years old, GTA is rated 18!

I could totally understand a teenager close to the age limit playing the game, but this boy is 8!

Also at 8 aren’t kids suppose to do what they are told? What does it mean “…all he wants to do is play video games…” he is a kid, you are his Mum… sort it out!

I just couldn’t follow up on this conversation, so pretending to be busy I start taking some vital bed part downstairs, I just backed off… I couldn’t risk opening my mouth in front of the kids, as knowing me I would have problems with stopping the lecturing “Mum”.

I am not saying that video games are bad, of course they are not. They are fun; they can teach you a lot and for all means play if you want but all things in moderation. There is so many cool kids games the 8 years old would enjoy, why let him play the game which promotes fast dangerous driving, shooting people, stealing and let’s not forget to visit the whore house… he is 8 years old!

We play a lot, we are gamers. We own most of the consoles out there but we never forget that games have age ratings. There are 100s if not 1000s titles on the market and everyone starting out with very young kids can easily pick something they like and something that is age appropriate. Video games can be fun but so can a walk in the park or just hanging with your friends talking chit chat…

Life gets faster as technology progresses, we have much less time to ourselves, for our kids, but we must not lose sight of the important things. Putting kids in front of the TV and turning a gaming console on must seem like the perfect solution!

I don’t think it is!

This is my small private appeal to all the parents out there – please do not let video games replace the real playground, or at least not every day!

26 thoughts on “Can video games replace the real playground?

  1. I completely agree with you. I think I am in the minority but I don’t let my kids play console games yet. They do play games on the pc, BUT I limit the time and they are only allowed to play certain games. There is plenty of time for them to sit in front of a screen.. childhood should be spent using their imagnations, or exploring the natural world.

  2. I can’t stand it when kids spend their time on video games – Hubs is a techie and used to love playing video games but I find it so anti-social, fortunately his hobbies have moved on but I’m still pretty anti video games, especially for kids, I have so many friends whose kids spend all their waking hours playing games and are incapable of holding the slightest conversation with anyone. So I’m a meanie mummy and our 7 year old doesn’t have a console, but plays outside or reads or plays board games instead, luckily so far she hasn’t complained about this.

  3. I totally agree. My son is 15 and plays this game and even then I limit it and don’t like it. this game talks of rape, extreme violence, prostitutes, drugs, crude swearing etc… it’s vile, not at all what an 8yr old should know about. The parent should be punished. x

  4. I had a mega drive as a kid but it was more something that would come out when I couldn’t go outside rather than just because I felt like it, its strange to think about how electronic things have gone in years.

  5. My eldest likes games but it’s a balance, we do loads outdoors too. No way would he be having gta at 8 years – my husband plays those games himself so he is very aware of the content and would enforce strictly that they need to reach the age on the box of the game before trying those type of games

  6. What?! GTA?! Totally inappropriate for an 8 year old..!
    This parenting attitude is why by 3 year old comes home from school talking about shooting people and how the other boys there want to play with guns all day. I can’t understand why parents would let young children watch gratuitous violence, be it TV, films or computer games…

    I am not anti computer games at all, but parents should make sure their children’s choices are age-appropriate and encourage them to experience other activities too (especially outdoors where possible).

  7. Completely agree! I am not a gamer, although my partner is. I would rather read a book. It’s hard having to accept that nowadays computers are part of everyday life, as in my childhood they were only really something you used at school. We did have a Commodore 64 but it took so long to load we’d start doing something else! All kids should be outdoors when they can, playing and learning, exploring and being interested in things around them. I recently blogged about my girl being fascinated by boxes and balloons. Yes computers are here and I don’t think I would stop my daughter playing (age appropriate) things but I’d like to think she also had more interests outside of computer games too. Thought provoking post x

  8. It’s scary when you hear what other people are doing, and peer pressure is so huge at school. Screens over take too much and I am guilty of too much TV but there’s no way she would play something that is too old for her.

  9. Completely agree. My son has friends who play call of duty! My eldest is 9 there is no way I would let him play thatt or any game with an age restriction that is just not appropriate. He has a couple of games which are a 12 but we checked them out first. But when he’s played outside he always seems so full of life and a happier child x

  10. That must be hard to stop a younger brother from joining in with his older brothers but that’s pretty sad he’s so addicted at such a young age.

  11. I definitely agree that gaming should not replace outside time. I love being outdoors and going to the park wight he little one, going for bike rides, playing in the woods, scooting, feeding the ducks, building dens. I can’t imagine a childhood without those things but it does break my heart that this is the reality for many.

  12. It’s all about balance in your house as my lot love their electronics but love playing outside just as much xx

  13. They say games improve hand-eye coordination and some mental processes, but I think the same rule should apply to any indulgence – ‘everything in moderation’.

  14. So sad!! We have a Wii and a ps3 that is used for Netflix and that’s about it! When I worked as a teacher year 3/4 kids came in telling me how tgey played these games and I was horrified!

  15. This is one topic I feel that is a sore subject, I hate it when very young kids get given techie toys for birthdays, christmas and they learn that those pressies are only ones good to play with.What happened to a football that you can kick in the park or skipping rope that you can play in the garden with. Too much technology at young age has spoilt the kids childhood.Visiting from blog club group g

  16. I couldn’t agree with you more! Gaming has its place – and can be fun, family friendly time (I’m thinking of the “party” and Sport type games in particular) but nothing beats going outside 🙂

  17. We are a family of gamers in particular the boy is an Xbox nut. We have a strict routine and he is only allowed to play it at certain times and for a certain length of time. I think it is all about balance and as long as they are getting social time, outside time and family time I am happy for him to play it occasionally. Great post x

  18. My son likes video games and unfortunately so does my husband! *rolls eyes* BUT no 18 rated games are allowed on unless the children are in bed! I will not allow it! Some of the older rated games my hubby plays are vile and I don’t want my kids seeing that!

  19. We love video games, but it is about finding a balance of different activities- and there is NO way my ten year old would get his hands on any of that game series! I wouldn’t have it in the house – sadly he will inevitably come across it at a friends with less vigilant parents house one of these days. When my 17 year old daughter was 11 she went on a sleepover and the parents let them watch an 18 rated horror film, she had nightmares for weeks- and needless to say never went there again! I like to think I am a fairly liberal parent, but as you say, age ratings are there for a reason!

  20. I think there won’t be a single mum disagreeing w you but what happens in real life is dramatic, mcdonalds is a family restaurant and video games are games!!! It’s lazy parenting and it’s down to US, mums and dads to make sure our kids grow up in a healthy -body n mind – environment. I admire your self control, I would have latched out!

  21. I agree with you, but even some adults act like kids too. The son of mom’s bff is humming the theme of his favorite game the whole day and his fingers are in motion the whole time.

I love all comments :-)