In depth on No Screens Week at the library

Posted On April 27, 2010

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              This post is to address a comment left by a family friend about No Screens Week at the library. She wasn’t trying to change my mind, but trying to have a discussion with me. First, I would like to address the part of her comment that talks about kids (mostly boys) going and playing video games on the library computers which have an hour-long time limit per day, per card. Although, some kids have found a way to bypass that system. They switch cards between each other. That is a bad way to do screens, because if a bunch of kids are using the computers for more than their fair share of time, when do the other kids get to do their turn? And why do they feel the need to do that? What I thought was that they are incredibly restricted at school and they are probably restricted at home. Then they come to the library and they are free to do as much screens as they want,so they do it as much as they can, when they can.  I know where they are coming from. I myself used to be restricted in screens. And when those restrictions were lifted, I wanted to do nothing but screens. It took a while for me to fully realize that the option wasn’t going anywhere, and that I didn’t have to get it while the “getting was good”. So if you release the control, It may take a while for the child to realize that the option isn’t going anywhere(especially if you are heavy on restrictions a lot).

               You know how Facebook is a way for you to connect with friends? well, online games are like Facebook, in that kids connect with each other. You could call it “socializing”. If you want. If you are thinking about the fact that we are socializing over the internet, and not in real life, then look at the groups of kids for a second. The kids are in groups talking, sharing advice, and basically talking about a subject they can all relate to each other on.

                There are also some perks and life lessons. For instance, my brother, after playing Roblox (a really great online game) is incredibly talkative. And my other brother does all sorts of pretend games. Even I have been inspired by games. Like painting tennis balls into Pokeballs, making Sculpey pokemon, I have made a card game, researched the chinese zodiac, made paper sculptures, wrote several short stories and I am making my own manga(Japanese comics). These are just a few examples of what video games have inspired me to do.

               There are a lot of  good things in video games too. Such as Roblox and Little Big Planet. They allow you to make your own levels. Mario helps you with eye-hand coordination. You feel good when you accomplish something in the game. RPGs (Role Playing Games) give you critical decisions and teach you the value of money because you have to decide what to do with the in-game money. Wii fit, Wii sports and even the Heart gold & Soul silver give you the Pokewalker and exercise routines. There is even a stress outlet. Goombas. You can imagine each of them are one of your troubles as you squish them.

              Screen Free Week is not necessarily a good decision because you will miss out on a lot of great opportunities.


2 Responses to “In depth on No Screens Week at the library”

  1. Cherilyn

    I hear you, Ben. My boys just seem to have a lot more trouble regulating themselves on the computer. What fries my circuits is calling them to go somewhere or to have supper, and they’re mired in a game and can’t stop or they’ll lose their place. It really interrupts the flow of our day.

    Because the computer was getting between them and me and they were sneaking on without asking first, I banned them from the computer for a month at home. (They could use it at the library.) I have to say, it was heavenly not to be badgered for computer time every day.

    Your thoughts?


  2. sunriseovertheiceberg

    Maybe you could try letting go of the control for a while. If it seems like your boys aren’t going to regulate themselves give them some time. As I said in my post it will take some time to realize the option isn’t going anywhere. If you just let them do screens for a long time, they’ll eventually fill the need and move on to other things and expand their horizons. You’ll find it’s a much more peaceful lifestyle. As they say, it has to get worse before it gets better. I think they are so obsessed with the screens because they feel like they don’t ever get to do it enough so they have to be sneaky to fulfill the need. It took my mother a while to realize that video games are a good thing, so we’ve had some rocky patches in the past. I used to pester my mom for video games, just like your boys do to you and I used to get really cranky and get punishments of no video games at all. It was a bad time in our life. It’s better now because we don’t have restrictions on video games and I can hop on whenever I want to and not have to ask. I don’t feel like I have to play them all the time because I know that I can really any time I want to. It’s a rather reassuring feeling. What helps me with getting off of video games is my parents give me a 10 or 15 minute warning before we need to do something else and I find a good stopping place and I hop off.

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