Our family has an X-Box which, until recently, hasn’t had much use. We got Dance, Dance Revolution for Easter, which sparked a new interest in the machine for a while, but it was never used excessively…until now.
Each of the three older kids got a new X-Box game for Christmas. They played all three for a while, and then they really got addicted to one in particular. The nice thing about Fusion Frenzy is that all three of them can play at the same time, something that means a lot to Mom and Dad. During the Christmas break, we let them play as much as they wanted, which to be honest, was usually ALL DAY LONG. We figured when school started, things would go back to normal anyway.
Well, here’s what “normal” has become since the free-for-all video gaming began…
First of all, when C.B. is not at school on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, I encourage him to have some rest time with me, usually by putting in a kid movie for him. However, there wasn’t a single movie he wanted to watch if playing X-Box was even a possibility.
Secondly, when he was told he could bring in his favorite Christmas present for "Show & Tell", C.B. brought in the case for the Fusion Frenzy game to show his class. I didn’t even bother telling him that it was not the game he got for Christmas. Fusion Frenzy was actually given to Miss M.
But the final straw for me was a series of conversations that came up between the boys and me. Please be aware that C.B. was a definite part of these conversations, but Big D is traditionally the spokesperson. A synopsis follows…
Big D: Mom, can me and Johnny play X-Box.
Mom: You know we have a rule about TV, computer and video games when friends are over. You and Johnny can find better things to do than play X-Box.
Big D: But I don’t know what that would be. There’s nothing else to do.
Mom: I guess there’s no reason that we should have a basement full of toys then. Maybe we should get rid of all that fun stuff down there.
Big D: It’s more fun at John’s house. I want to go over there next time.
Mom: That’s fine with me. (John doesn’t have an X-Box!)
And only a few days later…
Big D: (After playing for at least 20 minutes on the computer) Can I play X-Box?
Mom: You have already spent some time on the computer today. What does Daddy say about computer games, television and X-Box?
Big D: They melt your brain (with characteristic eye-rolling.)
Mom: That’s right. What have you done so far today that is good for your brain?
Big D: Well, what is there? I can’t think of anything that's good.
Mom: What about all of our books or puzzles?
Big D: They’re BORING!
It had become apparent to us that the boys had completely forgotten what life was like before X-Box. The multitude of toys, books, board games and puzzles meant nothing to them, and that was unacceptable to us as parents. We have given the X-Box a break. It is on a one-week vacation from the Reddy Zoo, much to the disappointment of the boys. We are hoping that this will give them a chance to get re-acquainted with some of their favorite toys and break in some of the other things they got for Christmas. I guess we’ll see!