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Thread: Too many electronic holiday gifts for young kids?

  1. #11
    Kerlin is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    I am with you, many of these older toys without bells and whistles present much beter blank slates for kids to project their own imaginations. I remember hunting in antique/curio shops for old Fisher-Price playhouses since the new ones just were too decorated and did too much for the kids. I finally found one circa 1964 and DS was enchanted with it for years.

    When DS was 6 we were just starting to really get into Playmobil, and he still loved Thomas Track play. He built endlessly with Lincoln Logs and regular blocks of every size. Mucis was on the piano or the stereo and we all listened. Car trips and other long trips meant books, audiobooks and other small games. He would have been carsick looking at a tiny screen.

    I am not saying that my DS, deprived of all this media, is more creative or better adjusted than anyone else's kid. But I think the opportunity cost of more than a small amount of exposure to this media at this age (6-8) is just too high.

    At later ages I think there are other issues, but I am focusing on this young stage for the purposes of this discussion.

  2. #12
    Kerlin is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    <<With regards to getting used to being bored...I just don't see the point of this in this day and age. I DESPISE waiting in line and always have. I pulled out my itouch in the post office line and played Bejeweled yesterday. How is this detrimental? It kept me calm and relaxed when I would normally get upset.>>

    I think for you it is one thing, for a 6 year old it is another. And this is one of the aspects of "instant gratification" media that worry me. Your 6 year old has not yet learned how to handle much of anything, and needs to learn it. Boredom, i.e. time which you do not control, can be viewed negatively and thereby to be instantly filled with stimluating media, or it can be viewed as a fact of life that needs to be tolerated from time to time. Patience, which is the ability handle boredom or tedium, is not something everyone is born with and as to be learned by most. Instantly supplying stimulation to fill virtually every boring moment tells young kids that they will always be stimulated and entertained, and that they do not need to have time to let their minds just drift. Much can be learned, observed, understood or imagined during times of seeming boredom. Boring moments are often times of interesting conversation that go beyond the everyday routine. And I think electronic media is destroying many of these important growth and educational moments.

  3. #13
    Allegro is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerlin View Post
    I like the big box as fort, batcave. Often these non-purchased things are the best toys anyway. Kids often like to make their own toys.

    One of my main gripes with the MP3 players is the earbuds. Not only is it hard to tell what they are listening to (this is more an issue with older kids, obviously) but that it is just so easy to turn up the volume and hurt developing ears. And the isolation factor.
    We can set DD MP3 player so that the volume doesn't go above a certain level. Also (I don't know if I mentioned this) it has an external speaker that she uses quite a lot.

  4. #14
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    Default here's my understanding of why they are harmful

    to developing children - If you look at it from a physiological / development pov electronic media like tv,games,ipod,computer, etc are an imitation of reality and not a particular good one.

    for instance visually these devices are not very rich, they present a very narrow field compared to the real world. When interacting or watching these devices we have very limited physical interaction but a highly stimulating (often) context like a game or a movie - in either case emotionally there is no real connection even if people are hurt or die, we simply observe these events. Our heads and bodies are basically very still - if we were engaged in a game in real life we would most likely be moving, using our eyes and our bodies to 'play'. Similarly what we hear from these devices is less rich than what we experience in the world. Studies are coming out that indicate damage to hearing using ear pods and not from the volume but losing the ability to distinguish different types of noises. and so on, when you start thinking about the real world vs the electronic world. Looking at a picture/film/etc of an elephant doesn't give you any sense of what you get when you stand next to a real live elephant. If I know what an elephant is in real life and then I see a picture of one, the experience is completely different than if I have no experience to associate with the picture. If you get what I mean.

    and they are addictive. To adults and to children but of course not to ALL children and ALL adults but certainly to a large number.

    On top of all that -
    We need time to ponder, to muse, to reflect, to wonder, to think - to let questions burble to the surface about what we have seen and heard and done. When we fill every moment with noise and music and bright flashing lights and other 'entertainment' we rob ourselves and our children of those gifts. Meaningful conversations are more likely to take place when we have time.

    I don't believe that someone that doesn't play/listen/engage with electronic media is less interesting, informed, conscious, socially adept, or less able to be in this world. People that use computers or other gadgets don't need to be taught about them when they are small children or even large children in order to be completely competent with them.

    and there is so much more I could say about this, the disconnect from this world to be somewhere in your head is not limited to those that walk around plugged into to something but the constancy of it is. I used to take public transport to work, which involved walking/bus/ferry/rail depending on my route on any day. I would from time to time be so absorbed in my thoughts that I would sometimes 'wake up' to find myself at work. (more disturbing when driving!!). I wouldn't observe people, things, animals, the sky, the world around me. When I would plug in - this was a constant state. Removed from the world. Hardly where we want our children to be and we do not know how this plays out developmentally.

    I think it is harmful to young children.

    So the entire experience is a very fragmented version of what and how we would be in the world.

  5. #15
    mckenziecat is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Default fwiw, my kids' neurologist would not let his own child

    have any video games until he was 16 and relented only then because of social issues (no one wanted to come to his house, because he had no games). He feels they are not good for a developing brain but I think that is based on his gut feeling and not research. But I do trust his gut feelings!

    Having said that, my 9yo ds has a ds and mostly only plays with it during carpool. He has a handful of games for it that he's gotten as gifts, but he has yet to spend any of his own money on games. He once lost it (in the house) for a few months and it was not a big deal. We also have a wii that is rarely used. We use it mostly when we have a crowd of family over and they all take turns playing. My kids do use the computer some, but they share mine - so that limits it naturally My kids are just not that into it, so I let them play some for now. 7yo dd in particular has very little to no interest.

    As a side note, dh and I went to a big arcade recently (geared to adults - it has a bar) and I was just flabbergasted as I walked around. All these adults with glazed looks on their faces and guns in their hands shooting at various gory things. It was a HUGE arcade and so it was just shocking to me. I just thought it was a shameful reflection of what our society has become. My dad always says, I wonder if the Romans saw it coming? I'm guessing yes. After that experience, I was so upset thinking wow, ds is only 9 but in a few years, these are the games his friends will be playing. Yikers. A little wii bowling I'm ok with, but the gory shooting? Oh, my. Do the Amish take converts?

    Interesting thread,
    beth

  6. #16
    June2 is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    I like electronics as much as anyone and my children will be getting a mix of electronic and non-electronic toys for Christmas, but I do see problems with it. I know that I spend way more time than I want on the computer. One of my teen sons really seems to be addicted and I have to take and hide his computer to get him to focus on other things. My 7 year old has a very active imagination and can play for hours with Matchbox cars, Legos, or plastic army men, but after visiting a friend who does NOTHING (not exaggerating, this boy has no other interests)but electronic and computer games, ds constantly wants to play this one computer game. I let him play and when I tell him he needs to stop, he cries, whines and complains. I've noticed that his behavior seems to be negatively affected by too much time with electronic games. I don't see that with other kinds of play and I might have to wean him from the games or set more rigid time limits.

  7. #17
    novice5 is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerlin View Post
    Some recent posts about holiday gifts caught my eye and I wanted to start a discussion over here on the subject.

    Quite a few posters have mentioned that their kids, some as young as 6 or 7, have requested things like Nintendo DSs, ipods or MP3 players, or other similar electronics for the holidays. Others are getting their kids these kinds of things because they are so prevalent in the culture now and assume they want them or should have them. Others seem to be clueless about what to get their kids so talk about getting them for lack of any other great ideas.

    Is this a good thing? Get our young kids savvy with this stuff early since (a) their sibs all have these things and (b) this is where their culture is going anyway?

    Or is this an age when kids should be spending more time with imaginative play and more traditional toys?

    Interested to see what folks think. Most of you probably know my take on it ; )
    The key is a mixture of free time activities. There is nothing inherently wrong with a boy playing a Lego website electronic game for 30 mins once a week and listening to music on an ipod 10 or15 mins. a day (as long as content is supervised-more on that below). It's no different than kids with transitor radios or LP players that I grew up with in the 60's.(Not my DS as his screen time is typcially not the computer.) As long as the kid also spends a good deal of time in physical play, creative play or just sitting and reading.
    Obviously it is not a good idea to allow hours upon hours playing video games, watching TV/DVDS, or sitting in front of the computer etc. I've seen kids do this. It's a little scary frankly. I think frankly the encouragement to have kids use educational computer webistes is not a good idea. There is a whole different mental process when you have to write out a math sentence or draw a picture or write a paragraph or a list of spelling words. Since the dawn of time the act of writing something down is in itself a learning process. You don't need interactive websites. Get out a book and a piece of paper. Sorry..off on a tangent.

    Since the idea of moderation in all things is as old as time I think that really is the only point. I am more concerned with the content than the delivery device most of the time since I think most reasonable parents understand the moderation idea.
    TV content is garbage. After preschool with the exception of a handful of PBS shows for school age kids the content is CRAP. And inappropriate....in terms of every darn Disney show having something to do with dating or stupid preteen behavior.
    Many of the DS games are too violent. And unfortunately my son's ipod does have fm radio...which can have poor content at times.

    My thoughts are regulate content and duration and things are fine.
    Most 7-8 yr old boys who live in America are not going to spend all their time creating stories outside wearing handmade costumes. DS LOVES doing that. (Unfortunately most boys his age don't do this...not seen as cool at this age.) He will put on a whole show to music from Gershwin or Bach for us. He will build Lego creations that are cool. He reads ( 7 yr old) ..up to an hour uninterrupted. He sets up obstacle courses for Hot Wheel cars (or himself!) in the hall. He plays basketball, practices piano 30 mins a day, plays baseball, takes ballet, and is a serious student. He'll set up party days or game nights for us where we play charades or indoor tag. He plays tabletop hockey with his friends. If he had siblings I'm sure he'd recruit them. So, if he watches Phineas and Ferb (I find myself laughing at this show) on Sat. AM or spends time playing Super Mario or listening to piano music while he does an electronic maze on the bus in the AM he will be fine.

  8. #18
    sfpierce is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Default can my boy play w/ yours???

    I think they'd get along GREAT!!

    ("... and we're watching and we're waiting.... (singing along to Phineas and Ferb))

  9. #19
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    Personally, I don't have a problem with electronic gadgets. My 5 year old has a DSi, my 8 year old has a PSP, and we also have a Wii and PS3. Not to mention, they both will listen to my iPod from time to time. The only gripe my dw has is that they like to listen to my kind of music, so the 5 year old's favorite groups are KISS, Motley Crue, and Kid Rock while the 8 year old likes Pantera in addition to the Crue and KISS. Even with all of that, they both would rather be outside playing sports or jumping on the trampoline or skateboarding or practicing their karate/jujitsu.

    I don't believe that these gadgets are to blame, it's the fault of the parents if they allow these gadgets to effect the lives of their kids. For us, it hasn't been an issue as they are both well rounded kids, but if that changes, we will address those issues as they arise.

  10. #20
    Hollie_B is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gangrel View Post
    Personally, I don't have a problem with electronic gadgets. My 5 year old has a DSi, my 8 year old has a PSP, and we also have a Wii and PS3. Not to mention, they both will listen to my iPod from time to time. The only gripe my dw has is that they like to listen to my kind of music, so the 5 year old's favorite groups are KISS, Motley Crue, and Kid Rock while the 8 year old likes Pantera in addition to the Crue and KISS. Even with all of that, they both would rather be outside playing sports or jumping on the trampoline or skateboarding or practicing their karate/jujitsu.

    I don't believe that these gadgets are to blame, it's the fault of the parents if they allow these gadgets to effect the lives of their kids. For us, it hasn't been an issue as they are both well rounded kids, but if that changes, we will address those issues as they arise.
    This is my take also (except for KISS and Motley Crue...Kid Rock definitely). My ds (almost 8) has a Wii, a Nintendo DS, uses the computer (loves Club Penguin) and jams to my Iphone.

    I can tell you that he rarely uses any of these things. To the point where I think...come on, I've spent a lot of $$ here. He is a big Lego geek (takes pics of his creations to send to Lego magazine), plays outside daily while creating scooter clubs and playing kickball, makes movies with the neighbor kids and loves to dress up and play in the backyard. His favorite past time is reading and writing stories. Most of the kids in our neighborhood are the same way.

    I think a lot of it is the home environment. Dh and I don't really watch tv until the kids are in bed, we are always outside, we are always doing things as a family. OTOH, we have friends that we may visit and they allow their children to sit on the computer/ds/Wii while they have company/friends over. That's a no-no to me.

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