Saturday, February 11, 2012

Video Games are Better Than TV For Your Child

What I am about to write is based on some scientific research, but I am way too overwhelmed and lazy to come up with reliable statistics and research for you look at. If you're so inclined, please do the research yourself.

I have in my house a giant television.

In addition to a giant overwhelming looking thing known as a television, I also have a tiny human who is addicted to watching this structure. His name is Ari and he's 3 and 3/4 years old.

To my dismay, Ari's favorite sentence to utter is "I wanna watch something!" I've tried various things to combat his television addiction. The other day I was talking to my best friend and early childhood teacher, Mint. She suggested that instead of watching television, as an electronically based alternative, Ari might play video games.

Now, before you start judging this statement, hear me out. As it turns out, when a human being, adult or child, sits and watches television, their brain goes into a trance like state. Television has an effect on a person's alpha brain waves where they simply zone out.

Video games, on the other hand, are not entirely passive. If you, or your child, is engaged in a video game, preferably an educationally based one, he/she is critically thinking. He/she is considering her next move, processing the game, and most importantly interacting with the game. This is a better alternative than sitting on the couch, mindlessly staring at the television and consuming copious amounts of chips, popcorn, or cookies.

Ari likes to play games on Wil's Ipad.

He plays both educationally based games and fun ones. I've started to wean the TV time, and when he asks to watch something, I ask him if he'd like to do a puzzle on the Ipad. He gets just as excited about this as he does about watching Dino Dan, so I'll take it.

He's also particularly taken to the Wii, and is really good at Wii Tennis.

As for myself, I hardly watch TV anymore. I'm mostly addicted to the Internet and my Iphone. I wonder what those things are doing to my alpha brain waves.

Let me clarify something, I'm not advocating that you let your child sit there on the couch playing video games all day long. Ideally, I'd like my son to be playing with real toys, reading books, and interacting with other children all day long. But, this is not reality. Sometimes, we need a distractor as parents. Occasionally, I need a break to sit and not think, or to do the dishes, or to go to the bathroom for G-d's sake!

Video games serve as a helpful alternative to the mindless contraption that is the television.

So what's you take on video games? Would you use them with your kid as opposed to letting him or her watch the boob tube?


  1. You know that really make sense! We do tv and video games but I am more weary of the time they play the video games. I guess I worry they will just get more sucked into them or something.

  2. Absolutely! I totally encourage anybody who has an issue with their kid(s) wanting too much TV to try this approach. I have noticed, especially with interactive components like kinnect and wii, that games can be a very practical skill building tool... especially the fun non-educational ones. I truly believe that kids learn better with fun than without it. Although in our house, with a strong emphasis on passing on production, editing, and critical analysis skills, I encourage a lot of TV too, but I constantly engage in conversations about story structure elements like contrast and plot devices, and we discuss how different FX are made (which sometimes leads to us actually making them together).

    1. That's really cool, actually. Coming at TV from a production standpoint is unique and could make for a really interesting dialogue!


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