My son has made best friends with our backyard neighbors. We’re constantly tossing the boys back and forth over the fence. This weekend we discovered a secret about our backyard neighbors – they have a video game console.
Like many parents of this generation, I grew up with a gaming console at home. The ever awesome Intellivision. But that was it for console gaming in my life, a 5 year span in the mid-80s. I owned a PS2 for a month before tossing it after I spent an entire 48 hour period in my living room playing Metal Gear Solid.
So playing a little Wii Tennis at his buddy’s place was my son’s first introduction to console gaming. I had thought I would get a gaming system when the youngest was closer to 5 (he’s now 3), but I’m starting to wonder – are we weird for not having a video game system?
All is not lost for my sons. We have 2 iPads and my old iPhone 3 has become their de facto iPod Touch. So they can game all they want, but it’s not the big intense, and immersive console gaming.
My boys play mostly cartoon games, Angry Birds, Bad Piggies, do puzzles, math and reading games on iOS. There are no first person shooters, there are no war games, there is nothing involving weapons. Good luck trying to find a console system that avoids that genre. I’m trying to raise my kids with an understanding that guns are not toys, so tossing them in the basement with Halo 3 for an afternoon would defeat the purpose.
I always thought a gaming console would be something we would get when both our boys were into grade school, but my wife has said “No!” Still, we don’t have a problem with him hopping the fence on a rainy day to go and play in his friend’s basement.
Am I “depriving” my kids of a piece of youth culture by not having a console gaming system?
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