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#1 Posted by Drachmalius (490 posts) -

This is a bit blog-ish of me to post here but I'm so baffled that I feel the need to share. All year long I've been planning to get my 8 year old nephew a 2DS with a couple games on it. He's at the age where he kinda knows what he likes, and always loves when I bring the Switch over on family visits. So naturally I thought it would be nice to get him a handheld system that he could take with him on trips or just play in bed sometimes. Some of my fondest memories of childhood were of playing my Gameboy and I wanted to share that with the lad. I was going to give him Mario Kart 7, Ocarina of Time and a couple SNES games (probably Mario World and something else) to get him started.

Today my sister texted and asked what I was getting him, and I told her it was a 2DS. To this she responded that she and my brother in law have a strict "no video games in the home" rule, which is a totally foreign idea to me. My sister (who's kid this is) used to have an NES in her room, and we used to play smash bros. and Goldeneye together. It was just so out of left field and I have no idea why she would take this firm of a stance. I tried to explain about parental controls and such, plus the ability to easily confiscate the thing if he misbehaves but she wouldn't budge.

Does anyone have any experience with a rule like this in their home, or someone else's? I know a lot of parents heavily limit kids' game time but this seems extreme to me. God forbid the kid jump on a Goomba's head or throw a red shell at another racer.

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#2 Edited by Mike (17962 posts) -

Not playing video games at home isn't the end of the world, there are a million other interesting, fun, and probably more productive hobbies out there for people to get into. Probably best to accept it and let it go, ultimately it's none of your business anyway.

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#3 Posted by Drachmalius (490 posts) -

@Mike I understand that and I’ve already cancelled the order. It’s just a bummer because he asked for a switch earlier in the year and while I couldn’t swing it, the handheld was doable.

You’re right though, there are other hobbies.

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#4 Posted by takayamasama (1533 posts) -

I grew up with a no video games in the house rule until around middle school age when we for whatever reason got an original Xbox. It sure didn't stop me from loving them whenever I could get my hands on them (Thank you public library for computers that could access Runescape) and it did get me to go outside a lot, which stopped once we had a home console. It's a dated idea I think, but not the most shocking some still have it, especially if the parents aren't gaming people themselves.

My kids now however...well they got a 3DS and games for the switch and all that fun!

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#5 Posted by Relkin (1029 posts) -

I'll agree with you that it's...extreme. A little stupid as well, if we're being honest. Sounds like your sister has forgotten what being a kid is like. Not allowing him to do a thing he's expressed an interest in at home just means he'll end up doing it elsewhere. Playing at friends houses, borrowing someones handheld to play in the dead of night under his covers; he'll still play games. If they're that worried about it, they should just impose a "screen time" rule.

During my time in grade school, I knew plenty of kids who had "screen time" limitations. Thirty minutes on school days, an hour on weekends (assuming homework/chores were complete) or some variation thereof, and the only one of those several kids I can recall that ever bitched about it was this one friend of mine who started to develop an interest in RPGs, playing which wasn't conducive to such brief play sessions.

It is the parent's decision, of course. Hopefully they reconsider that decision if your nephew continues to display interest in the hobby as he gets older.

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#6 Posted by nutter (1608 posts) -

Hey, they’re the parents. If it’s not a form of abuse or encroaching on others, respect the parents’ wishes.

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#7 Edited by mellotronrules (2451 posts) -

i have 2 nieces and 2 nephews and they live in video game-free households. to be fair- i think it's less about the games themselves and moreso limiting 'screen time' between tvs, ipads and computers.

yeah, it can be a bummer to be unable to share a hobby with them- but they won't be coddled forever, and you can find other ways to bond. my oldest nephew has just been bit by the magic: the gathering bug, so that's been fun to encourage in him.

ultimately you have to respect the parents' wishes though. best you can do is try to sell them on the notion, but it's their kids, so it's their rules.

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#8 Posted by Barrock (4080 posts) -

Maybe talk to your sister and her husband about why they feel that they have to be so strict. You might not convince them, but you might learn something about your sister.

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#9 Posted by Drachmalius (490 posts) -

@takayamasama Thanks for chiming in, glad to hear you didn't give up on it and snuck in some gaming when you could!

Overall, yeah the sentiment that parents can decide what's best for their kids is one I totally understand and I wouldn't try to stick my nose in it. I made the OP mostly out of confusion because it was so out of character for my sister, like she still has a Wii in the living room (but I guess he's not allowed to play it...?). Maybe I'll do what some of y'all suggest and ask about their reasoning but I'd rather let it drop to be honest. It really isn't my business, and I get that these days there's so many different screens around: we got phones, TVs, Computers, etc. Games would just be another electronic thing.

In the meantime I'll just have to find something else to get him for xmas, maybe some comics or Harry Potter books or something.

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#10 Posted by Sahalarious (652 posts) -

One thing you can't do is question parenting decisions of loved ones (that are of this nature, of course abuse is something to report and address) but man oh man does this bum me out. My sons LOVE games, and as soon as they wake up on a weekend day they play for a couple hours, and then I cut them off. They go "oh maaaaaan" each time, then go build legos, play hide and seek, and ride bikes around. On rainy days I sometimes let them go longer, and they're both healthy and happy, no games mon-thurs however, and friday nights we do some 4 player stuff. To those saying "there are tons of other fun things" yes i suppose....but aren't video games just the fuckin best?

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#11 Edited by Redhotchilimist (2867 posts) -

That's weird. Worst rule I can remember from my own childhood were restrictions on my playtime, but at least I was allowed to play. I suppose your house your rules, but I would've been a frustrated kid in that household. I get your reaction for sure, video games were also a big part of my formative experiences and I have a lot of good memories playing them with my siblings.

I see a lot below of the sentiment that you're under obligation to provide the best possible childhood for a kid to turn him or her into a decent being, but while I have no kids, I do have quite a massive family full of siblings and cousins, and obviously a lot of friends that also play games since I play a lot of games. And there's been basically no correlation between whether you played a lot of video games or zero video games, and how that makes you turn out as an adult. People turn out troubled or successful for other reasons, whether they played GTA and Resident Evil at 10 or whether they never touched a video game. What you have as a hobby isn't gonna be the thing that ruins you. It's all in your personality and other circumstances. Actually I'd say that if there's any commonality, it's that the younger kids turn out more chill 'cause the parents aren't on edge like with the oldest sibling. They get off easier, with laxer rules, and take responsibility on their own.

"No video games" is some "No books/movies in my household" level stuff to me here, and it won't turn your kid into a better person in and of itself. The quotes about how video games have changed just makes me think we're gonna be having the same "video games are harmful" conversations forever, no matter how old I get.

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#12 Posted by Humanity (18249 posts) -

It’s just going to make him seek out games at his friends houses and other places. Videogames are a fun hobby as long as his parents are smart about how much they let him play. In the long in nothing good will come from straight up banning them from the house.

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#13 Posted by someoneproud (366 posts) -

I'd buy it for him anyway, fuck it, I probably like my nephews more than my sisters anyway and I'm not beholden to enforce their rules. Then again I've never heard of anyone in my family setting such restrictions, live and let live I say. sSome friends had strict parents when I was a kid but they could do as they liked (within reason of course) when they were at mine.

For a period of a few weeks I would wake to find my friend playing FFX on my PS2 because he didn't have consoles and he liked it, he'd let himself in (with my prior blessing) but it did surprise my mum when she first noticed.

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#14 Edited by MonkeyKing1969 (7347 posts) -

In truth, I think the earth has shifted under gamers feet- we just don't know it. I think video games are bombarding kids from all directions today, and young people are surrounded by games have have mechanisms that contribute to addictive behaviors.

Today gaming, streaming, YouTube and Twitch are all mashed up and have replaced TV show watching. An eight to seventeen year old has gaming content at their finger 24/7/365. Moreover, game now include additive gameplay loops; that feeling of 'just five more minutes' or 'just a few more move' is now baked into every game. Loot boxes, collectables, XP are integrated into games so deeply that the physiological effect and draw of games IS NOT the same as it was 30, 20, or even 10 years ago.

This will of course affect different kids in different ways, but I think even kids who would not have become addicted to a Super Marios Bros game could easily get addicted to today games...which means if you were a teen now you might not have the same balance of play vs work you enjoyed ten years ago

So, I think your sister might be doing your nephew a favor. Moreover, instead of being the uncle who bring over the game system this year...be the uncle who takes the kids out for sledding, ice skating, or a snowball fight. Or if you live in a warmer climit take them out for some Christmas swimming, rock climbing, etc.

I will even add this: If you are an older parent and your kid is going off to college in the next two years - take that damn console out of their packed bags. If they want to game they can game on the "person down the halls" machine...that person/owner will limit your kid's usage just fine. In college, for sure you need to be meeting people and working on face to face social skill be that from dating, join an intramural sport, a club, or just a study group. I don't care HOW introverted your kids is, I don't care HOW unatalthic your kid feels - they need to get out amoung their peers in college. Meet people face to face...even if the club the joining is a video game club that is better than gaming in their room.

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#15 Posted by Vortextk (841 posts) -

When I think of people going to college, playing video games in their room is not where they mess up.

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#16 Posted by Eurobum (466 posts) -

@monkeyking1969: Agreed. I'm so tired of this pro industry hypocrisy. We wrote our replies simultaneously so I might repeat of what you've said already.

Using video games as a collective term is misleading to the point of meaninglessness. Video games today are quite different, from 20 to 40 years ago, where games were simply bad or really hard, with no matchmaking and no online, finish-able in a day like arcade/commodore/atari or PS1 classic as a recent example.

Or take the differences between games today, like a phone game and 50$ itunes store credit for in-game-purchases for instance, giving that as a present would be completely ludicrous.

Video games today in their overwhelming majority turned into a life style, a subscription and a huge (sometimes social) commitment, which mainly erases time. It's like enrolling your child into a sports program, it will leave a mark. A hobby that cannibalizes all hobbies, interests or ambitions. Equivocating and pitching that as a bit of a past time is in one word: deceptive.

I don't think a parent can draw the line for their child, between worthwhile and predatory, ESRB and console eco systems (like "seal of quality") failed everybody in that regard. The common advice is: Play with your kids, but obviously that defeats the purpose and use of these devices as a kind of electronic baby sitter. When every 10th boy suffers from Internet Gaming Disorder, these problems can't simply be ignored.

As much as it is technically wrong to say that all games are bad, most adults writing for or vising this site couldn't tell the difference if they tried. Liking something, isn't it, BTW. The worst part is, nobody is trying, it's bad for business.

Banning something completely is certainly easier for a parent than enforcing the unenforceable, like drinking one glass of ice-tea (instead of half a gallon) or eating 5 to 10 chips from a bag, or catching one Pokemon. Enforcing screen time on a handheld or with a TV in the kid's room, good luck with that.

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#17 Posted by lokihellfire2008 (147 posts) -

@drachmalius: You probably should have asked first. That being said, I can totally understand having this rule. Some children have a hard time focusing on chores/responsibilities and the added distraction of a video game system furthers that behavior. We'd all love nothing more than to sit around and just play games all day, so when a kid who has a system wants to do this it then becomes a fight to get them to do anything else.

You could argue that a gaming console doesn't CAUSE these issues, and you'd be right as it is a natural instinct to do what pleases us rather than work. We will naturally seek the quick dopamine hits of gaming achievements over the long term rewards of hard work, but when you are tasked with raising a human being and setting them up for success, any added distractions or road blocks can be hugely detrimental.

As a parent, I can say that there are likely many things I do with/for/to my kids that others wouldn't understand, but no one knows my children better than I do. My son has a very addictive personality for instance. He literally will walk around the house with a book in his face because he loves reading so much, and if that was a gaming handheld instead we'd never be able to get him to change his clothes, or come down for breakfast etc. Also, on the few occasions we have actually allowed them to sit down and watch tv or a movie, when it is over, they are so full of unreleased energy that they start acting like chickens with their heads cut off bouncing around the house and being wild. Yes this is specific to my kids, but that is the point. Your sister knows her son better than anyone, and she is also the one who has to deal with any temper tantrums or bad behavior resulting from him wanting to sit around on a game all day instead of doing anything else.

How many of us as adults have to struggle to fulfill our responsibilities and make good choices instead of playing video games? Now think about trying to get an 8 year old to make good choices and to do their responsibilities instead of playing video games when they don't even have a monetary incentive and you can start to see the problem.

I don't find it odd at all that they would have that policy, especially if they aren't gamers themselves. I AM a gamer, but all of my systems are in a locked room in the basement, and I only play when they are already in bed or on special occasions when they have earned a game night we will hook my xbox up to the projector and play games together as a reward for good behavior. The only times they have been allowed to play games on a handheld are on their leap tablets as those games are educational and the kids quickly tire of doing the same things over and over. If I handed my son a Minecraft machine he would never surface lol

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#18 Posted by cmblasko (2842 posts) -

Her kids, her rules. Undermining her authority to be the "cool uncle" would be an immature thing to do. When you have kids, you can let them play video games.

Personally, I'm with most people in the thread, I don't see the harm in it and my kid will be able to play a moderate amount of video games when he gets older. I actually can't wait to play games with him.

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#19 Posted by BallsLeon (530 posts) -

Let him know you buried a 2DS with games in the woods behind his house.

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#20 Posted by FlashFlood_29 (4305 posts) -

That's a tender age of development and no matter if I agree or not with the decision, I don't see it as unreasonable parenting.

o years - take that damn console out of their packed bags. If they want to game they can game on the "person down the halls" machine...that person/owner will limit your kid's usage just fine. In college, for sure you need to be meeting people and working on face to face social skill be that from dating, join an intramural sport, a club, or just a study group. I don't care HOW introverted your kids is, I don't care HOW unatalthic your kid feels - they need to get out amoung their peers in college. Meet people face to face...even if the club the joining is a video game club that is better than gaming in their room.

Only problem there is that it's a young adult, you're talking about here. At that point, over-restrictive parenting is not going to do much help; your parenting in the past has already made its influence and set up a foundation of values and morals, and now you can only continue to hope to guide them towards the right decisions. Overstepping restrictive bounds at this age is much more likely to only do harm. Suggesting and persuading them to leave it behind would be a better approach (which isn't to say agree with the whole sentiment but just referring to the actions suggested).

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#21 Posted by KingBonesaw (1295 posts) -
Loading Video...

The 2DS has a camera.

Also just FYI I don't think that the original wedge shaped 2DS supports SNES games through virtual console but the "new" 2DS XL does.

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#22 Posted by Justin258 (15492 posts) -

While I do think it's a shame that they have that rule, my only response to it is a bit of a shoulder shrug. Not having video games in the house isn't the end of the world - he'll just find other things to do with his time. Personally, I think a similar (and better) effect could be achieved by simply putting a strict time limit on games (example: you can only play games on Sunday evenings), but at the end of the day this is a parent who has given thought to what she thinks is best for her kid and that's a really good thing.

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#23 Edited by Efesell (4060 posts) -

@monkeyking1969: This is all very reasonable and then the last paragraph happened.

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#24 Edited by Casepb (515 posts) -

Someone might have already said this but buy it for him and just keep it at your house for him to play. I must admit I chuckled at the thread title at first because I thought they only allowed video games that could be played outside.

@efesell: I agree. Your kid is a grown ass adult now they can do whatever the hell they want when in college. Besides if it was me I would either just buy another system, or sneak in my existing one without my parents knowing. Looking back I was a sneaky as hell kid. I would often take back my stuff once my parents went to sleep, even if it was under their bed... those were the days.

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#25 Posted by someoneproud (366 posts) -

@cmblasko: Meh. They have authority over them, not me. I don't care if I'm the "cool uncle", very much doubt they think I am. I can and will do as I like now and always, how they treat their kids is up to them, how I treat my nephews is up to me. I'm not an agent for enforcing their decisions and they don't have to like it.

All the kids in my family play is Fornite and it really doesn't interest me so we don't really play together. I don't tend to bond with them much until they hit drinking age tbh.

No, you're an immature thing to do. I know you are, you said you are but what am I?

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#26 Posted by hippie_genocide (2387 posts) -

@drachmalius: Their house, their rules. Gotta abide by it, duder.

I'd buy it for him anyway, fuck it

Do this if you want to waste $100, cause strife in your sister's household, and be looked at as the black sheep in the family

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#27 Edited by Deathstriker (1023 posts) -

SMH at the comments here telling the OP to mind his business. I didn't see the OP saying "should I get him a DS anyway and sneak it to him", he's asking a question - if it's weird or extreme. I'd say yes to both of those. Denying something normal to a kid as a form of control seems like a pretty silly idea and probably doesn't work... it would be better to set time limits so he's used to playing video games rather than him experiencing it all at once when he eventually moves out. The old stereotype/rumor that sexually repressed women like preacher's daughters or Catholic girls can be slutty once they move out is the same thought process. Also, it's his sister, it's not like it's some random co-worker, if he wants to talk to her about (and not be pushy) it's fine if he's close with his sister. I can say whatever I want to my sister and vice versa - that are no "rules" between siblings IMO if you're close.

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#28 Posted by cmblasko (2842 posts) -

@someoneproud: Well I know if I had an uncle buying me Game Boys or Game Gears when I was little he sure would be the "cool uncle" to me lol.

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#29 Posted by Drachmalius (490 posts) -

Thanks for all the earnest replies. It was good to get the perspective of some parents too since I don't have kids of my own and don't know what parenting entails really. Just want to make it clear that I'm respecting her wishes and won't try to undermine their house rules, the order's been cancelled and I got him some kids books instead (for the people suggesting I get it anyway, I'm just playing the long game and will sneak him some bootleg copies of old PC games once he gets a laptop hehe). Reading through the thread it makes a lot more sense to me why they would prevent him from having his own console, but if I had kids I probably wouldn't take such extreme measures. A strict time limit seems pretty safe to me, but whatever.

And I'm sorry but I have to laugh a little about taking a console from a kid heading out to college...at that age teenagers find a way to get what they want and go behind their parents back.

@casepb: Good suggestion! I do have a 3DS of my own that I'd happily let him use if they ever come to visit, and I always let him play a little Shovel Knight or Mario Kart on the Switch when I go there. The problem is we are usually going out and doing other things on visits so he can't just sit and play for long. But I'm sure he has other friends he can visit who have games too :)

@deathstriker: You make a good point and I'd talk to her further about it if we were closer, but there's a nine year gap between us and we never really talk outside of family events. So I'm respecting their rules.

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#30 Edited by vinone (304 posts) -

Hell, my parents probably played more video game than me growing up. My mom and dad would go back and for setting records in time trials on Super Mario Kart. I'd come home from school and my mom would have played all day and set every high score in Pokemon Snap. My dad and I played Excite Truck until 6 in the morning the New Years after the Wii came out. So in my household this is totally foreign. Outside of my household I can't really think of any of my friends or classmates growing up that didn't have video games due to parental rules either. It was normally due to disinterest or financial reasons.

As for my opinion on keeping video games out of the household. If a child enjoys them making a strict no video game rule I think seems pretty weird. Video games are a part of our culture and a part of growing up for about the last 30 years or so. Socially it feels pretty shitty to be strictly no video games though. It seems like he enjoys video games and I'm sure he'd love to play and talk about them at school with classmates. I know I wouldn't have had my closest childhood friends if I didn't get to go to school and engage and talk about the things I got to experience and liked. (Even if when I was an 8 year old it wasn't actually video games all that often.) But I guess there's a million other things to connect over and talk about.

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#31 Posted by doctordonkey (1746 posts) -

Shame that kid has a couple of drips for parents, but there isn't a lot you can do if they won't budge. It's their child. All you can do is let him play to his heart's content whenever he visits you.

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#32 Posted by Shiftygism (715 posts) -

No games doesn't sound that bad. I actually regret the hundreds of hours wasted in my youth on shit like Final Fantasy and the garbage I had my dad pay an obscene amount of money for. I don't know if I'd enforce something like that myself as I'd have better judgement being a life long player, but the internet makes me want to raise my kids in the bush on a daily basis.

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#33 Posted by someoneproud (366 posts) -

@drachmalius: Ah, the ol' clandestine pc games strategy eh? Horses for courses and that, I'm sure he'll be happy when the time comes :)

#coolestuncle

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#34 Posted by CupOfDoom (92 posts) -

I wasn't allowed to have a console as a kid - only a gameboy with a few mario games - but that didn't stop me from using the internet to play tons of video games. It wasn't the worst thing and, I did eventually get consoles when I was a teen.

Your nephew will be fine without games and, will find other stuff to entertain himself with. And who knows, maybe his parents will have a change of heart when he gets older.

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#35 Posted by Humanity (18249 posts) -

I wasn't allowed to have a console as a kid - only a gameboy with a few mario games - but that didn't stop me from using the internet to play tons of video games. It wasn't the worst thing and, I did eventually get consoles when I was a teen.

Your nephew will be fine without games and, will find other stuff to entertain himself with. And who knows, maybe his parents will have a change of heart when he gets older.

My parents also didn't like consoles so I never had one growing up and instead my brother and I played a lot of PC games because we were able to rope our parents into thinking it would help for school. I did write essays on it and used my Encyclopedia on several discs to do research projects - kind of like a little slice of internet before the internet. I don't really think not having consoles was beneficial in any way really. I played games on the PC and then I rode my bike a lot and I rollerbladed, had friends I would hang out with etc. I was a normal kid that did a bunch of things and my parents didn't really force me into any of it. Not having a console just meant I was out of the loop when my friends would talk about Final Fantasy or whatever and they would be equally perplexed when I would talk to them about playing Vette! or Bureau 13.

So yah don't force videogame abstinence on your children in some weird hope this will raise their social skills because thats just downright draconian. Be a smart parent, introduce them to games, explain to them the limitations, set ground rules, enforce them. Trying to block your child off from gaming in this day and age is not going to work, the media is just too widespread. As a parent it's better that you control the message rather than your kid sneaking away behind your back because you won't let them near the things and having weird experiences unsupervised.

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#36 Posted by ghost_cat (2214 posts) -

I see why you're baffled by that, but I wouldn't worry about it so much. If anything, that kid will play games at a friend's house or install Doom and Tetris on the house smart fridge.

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#37 Edited by csl316 (14856 posts) -

Fuck that, the parents can't take the time to understand a hobby and just ban it instead? Sorry, I just don't like the notion that games are inherently a bad thing. Their ban is a lazy response to a modern reality, and with some oversight games can be a fun, beneficial activity for the whole family.

No games in the house... bah, go back to the 80's. Is she the type that's planning to enroll her kid in sports 6 days a week?

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#38 Edited by dgtlty (1180 posts) -

Won't the kids get bullied for being the only ones at school not playing Fortnite?

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#39 Edited by Onemanarmyy (3966 posts) -

Their choice ofcourse, but i'll just remember the times when my game-restricted cousin came over to play some games with me and got super hyped & bouncy (stomping his feet, making sounds with his mouth) from mundane activities like driving a car around in a game. I wouldn't want my kid to have such extreme reactions to the stuff they eventually will find away from parental supervision. I feel like my parents always knew they could trust me with this stuff because they knew it didn't impact me in a negative way.

Restricting game time makes a whole lot more sense to me. The nice thing about kids going outside to play with buddies is that it will become a rhythm where the outside time just happens whenever a friend shows up. So it doesn't become this struggle between parent & kid where the kid refuses to leave the house :D