DS for a 4 year old

Michelle - posted on 08/23/2009 ( 38 moms have responded )

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Did anybody else see the thread on the main page about a nintendo DS for a 4 year old? A lady was asking if people thought it was a good idea. I personally think its crazy to buy somthing like that for such a young child but there were alot of mums out there saying how great they were. Would you buy one for a child of such a young age?

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Jinglebones - posted on 08/23/2009

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I have done a lot of thinking about computer games lately, done some research and talked to a lot of parents - some of whom I respect and admire and some of whom the jury is still out on. Because you asked, I am going to share with you some of my thoughts as I continue to grapple with this issue:
- boys are more attracted to the action type of game than girls and continue to be the primary consumers (I have 2 boys)
- early and prolonged exposure to computerchip games and activities change brain development and pathways
- moderate use of interactive games (played with others) introduced past the age of 5 can actually enhance hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills
- popular culture and peer pressure is a difficult battle for families, many of whom succumb after discovering their children are playing the games at friends homes
- many families start out with time limits that are not adhered to once their children are old enough to be left on their own;
- parents who were reluctant to buy them in the first place regret doing it
- parents whose children are involved with other activities such as sports have the easiest time enforcing limits and ensuring their children develop other interests
- most parents stress balance and using video games as goals for good grades and other accomplishments and taking them away as consequences for poor performance or misbehaviour
- the earlier they are introduced, the stronger hold they seem to have on boys in particular.
- for parents who are less comfortable with technology, there seems to be 2 responses - let them go at it and don't think too much about it (poor monitoring) or denial with eventual breakdown and regret (family battles)

My kids are still pretty young (5 & 2.5) and we are leaning towards no games, but I may rethink this position as I learn more about them. I have hesitation because of 2 factors: violence and addiction - the primary reasons why I am erring on the side of later in their development (after the age of 9). I also think parents need to take into account the personalities of their children - aggressive boys with low impulse control (like my youngest) I would definiteyl not want exposed early. These children need to focus on the social-communication side of development before entering the world of virtual reality where bells and whistles are your reward for touching the right key.

There are no easy answers to this question - everyone needs to find their own way that works for their family. But I really do not agree with the "everyone does it" approach. Every parent's comfort level with technology is not the same, children's personailities, brain development and susceptibility is different. I think people need to do their research. For me, later is better and balance is important.

?? - posted on 08/23/2009

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I have a DS... and we also have a PSP, xbox 360, wii, playstation, gamecube, gameboys, super nintendo, nintendo and an atari... I personally don't see what the big deal is. Obviously it's not something you let them walk around with their nose in it 24/7.



There are A LOT of games that encourage learning and problem solving and other things that children are already starting to learn at 4 years old anyways. BrainQuest is a game that I have that I play and it's all subjects that are in school incorporated into 'helping the animals at the zoo' and they have them for Grade 1-2, 3-4, 5-6 respectively. There's also Brain Age that is 'proven' to be a good brain exercise and my friends kids LOVE playing it when they come over.



Moderation is key. I agree with Loureen - nature is the biggest box of toys. But, the lil things like a DS can also be neat to play with. You can buy leapfrog toys for children as young as 1 that are generally the same concept as some of the games you can get for a DS or wii.



I agree that imagination is important but playing a DS for 20 minutes or half an hour isn't going to take away from the natural urge to use their imagination the other 23.5 hrs in a day.

~Jennifer - posted on 08/24/2009

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Quoting September:

Yes they are maketed towards families that allow their kids to play video games thinking that their children will learn something from them. In my opinion learning from a video game is a sad way to learn. So I will chalk it all up to marketing! I love to sit with my son and read a book, I love going for walks and talking about nature which are fun and educational :)



What if you have a 4 year old that doesn't 'learn' in the typical fashion?  My son tears books apart, going for walks ends in a screaming fest because he 'doesn't want to go in that direction'. 



My son can, however, sit with his clickstart game, and learn with it........so, I don't see how that can be considered 'sad' in any way.  I think what's 'sad' is saying that you know what's right for someone else's family.

Amie - posted on 08/24/2009

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Wow surprised really at how many don't like game systems.

For our family we have an original nintendo, a SNES, a game cube, a wii, a xbox, a xbox 360, a sega genesis, a gameboy, a couple gameboy advances, and Ryan is buying the new DS on Wednesday.

Having all of this and having games specifically geared for our kids has not impacted them in the least. They ask maybe once every week or two to play a game. They would much rather be outside playing, even in the dead of winter. Their book collection is almost as big as mine and my husbands. They read every day, even our toddler has books geared for her age. Our kids lack for nothing and yes they are spoiled. We don't have a problem with this. Our kids are still well behaved, love school and have active imaginations. They also are involved in a few extra curricular activities each. With the new school year starting on Monday I'm going to be running like crazy yet again but I gladly do it for my kids. It's what they want to do.

Just because they have game systems and use them once in awhile doesn't mean our kids are lazy or dumber than other kids out there.

Melissa - posted on 08/24/2009

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In my opinion, there are better things children should be doing. Especially at that age. Playing outdoors, putting together puzzles, drawing, reading, and so much more. I think electronics are taking over, and of course it's the fault of those who let them. People say in moderation, but if you allow TV in moderation, video games in moderation, cell phones in moderation, etc.....all of that adds up and it's really not so moderated. Anyway, I might change my mind on the video game bit as my children get older, much older, but as of now I see no need for such things.

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Heidi - posted on 08/25/2009

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Well for my youngest son who turned 4 in June we got him a DS for one of his birthday presents, but we did get him learning games to go with it such as Smart Boy games. They are good interactive games and help them learn. My son so badly wanted one because his 10 year old brother has one. He rarely plays the game and if he is in the mood to play it we limit the time that he plays it. I think its ok for a 4 year old to have one, as long as you don't rely on it as a babysitter. The games also can teach hand eye cooridination, and the pincer grasp. The games that my son has teaches him reading and language skills as well. With preschool and the learning games he is now printing 3 and 4 letter words and is working on 5 letter words. I think it really depends on the kinds of games you get to go with the system, and as long as its used in moderation its fine.

JL - posted on 08/24/2009

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In the elementary school that my daughter goes to each grade requires students to do around 30 minutes a week online playing a game called Ticket to Read at home and her school is one of the top 10 schools in the state and the program is a outgrowth program connected to one of the best reading programs utilized in the elementary school systems across the US. Yes the program is a game but it is all about reading and it is conducted along with the 15 minutes of book reading they are required to do every night. I don't think video games in general or online games are horrible if they are being used in moderation as a learning tool AND as someone who has taught I can say that not all kids learn the same and some learn better with the type of interaction that is required through educational games. Those of us that teach well we use every available source there is to help our kids learn so be prepared when your kid is in school to have them working on learning games on the computer to help expand their knowledge and help them learn in a fun inviting environment. I get the insistence on not allowing your kid to become obsessed, depedent or playing inappropriate stuff but to completely rule out video games as a totally negative thing is not warranted.

?? - posted on 08/24/2009

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Thank you September :) That's very kind of you to say. I think the same of you, as well as Jenn & Amie that you all seem to be doing what is best for you and your family and that makes you all wonderful mothers. I agree with you. Every family is different.



I didn't take Jenn or Amie's posts in a defensive manner. You said that games being educational is a marketting scheme and we all posted that that's not true because we all own educational games. There's no defense there.



I think if there is any "defense" in the posts it would be towards your "sad" comment. There are MANY learning tools for children that come in the form of a computer game or in a console game. And as much as a book is educational, and a walk to the park can be educational - a game console can be as well and it seems unfounded to dismiss them ALL and chalk the educational factor up to marketting.

September - posted on 08/24/2009

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Jo I never meant to throw folks into the defensive mode by stating my opinion. I'm sorry if I offended you in any way...that was not my intent. Every family is different and I think that is a beautiful thing! Video games or not :)

September - posted on 08/24/2009

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Quoting Jo:



Quoting September:

Yes they are maketed towards families that allow their kids to play video games thinking that their children will learn something from them. In my opinion learning from a video game is a sad way to learn. So I will chalk it all up to marketing! I love to sit with my son and read a book, I love going for walks and talking about nature which are fun and educational :)



I sit and read with my son everyday. We also go outside and play everyday. We also play with LeapFrog and Playskool toys that are interactive. We also have movies that we sit and watch and discuss, everyday. Activity - inside, outside, with a book, with a console, with a computer, with a person or on their own is an opportunity for your child to learn.

I said it before and I will say it again now - MODERATION IS KEY.

I think it's sad when anyone can dismiss ANY learning tool - learning is learning.


Kudos to you! Sounds like you're a great Mom :)

September - posted on 08/24/2009

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Quoting Jenn:



Quoting September:

Yes they are maketed towards families that allow their kids to play video games thinking that their children will learn something from them. In my opinion learning from a video game is a sad way to learn. So I will chalk it all up to marketing! I love to sit with my son and read a book, I love going for walks and talking about nature which are fun and educational :)






What if you have a 4 year old that doesn't 'learn' in the typical fashion?  My son tears books apart, going for walks ends in a screaming fest because he 'doesn't want to go in that direction'. 






My son can, however, sit with his clickstart game, and learn with it........so, I don't see how that can be considered 'sad' in any way.  I think what's 'sad' is saying that you know what's right for someone else's family.





If you read my first post I was clearly only stating my own opinion. I've never once said that I know what it best for anyone's family. I just know what's best for mine :) I never knew that my opinion whould cause so many to go into defense mode. It's kinda funny!



 



 

?? - posted on 08/24/2009

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Quoting September:

Yes they are maketed towards families that allow their kids to play video games thinking that their children will learn something from them. In my opinion learning from a video game is a sad way to learn. So I will chalk it all up to marketing! I love to sit with my son and read a book, I love going for walks and talking about nature which are fun and educational :)


I sit and read with my son everyday. We also go outside and play everyday. We also play with LeapFrog and Playskool toys that are interactive. We also have movies that we sit and watch and discuss, everyday. Activity - inside, outside, with a book, with a console, with a computer, with a person or on their own is an opportunity for your child to learn.



I said it before and I will say it again now - MODERATION IS KEY.



I think it's sad when anyone can dismiss ANY learning tool - learning is learning.

Amie - posted on 08/24/2009

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Quoting September:






I'm not talking about computer games!









 





Then what exactly are you referring to? I know that a few of the ones I have are on the recommendation of not only her teacher but her psychologist. They've helped immensely in furthering her education and getting her back on track to be mainstreamed fully in public school.



And the ones I have are not all computer games. A lot of the same games come out for the computer and various game systems.

September - posted on 08/24/2009

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Quoting Amie:



Quoting September:






It's never been proven that video games are more educational then reading a book so until it is....I will still think that video games are no good! Thanks for your opinion though :)









Wow... I think I should let my kids teacher know this. I'll bet she'll be so happy to know that the computer GAMES they've been using to teach the students have been debunked by a mom online.



 



I'm not talking about computer games!





 

September - posted on 08/24/2009

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Yes they are maketed towards families that allow their kids to play video games thinking that their children will learn something from them. In my opinion learning from a video game is a sad way to learn. So I will chalk it all up to marketing! I love to sit with my son and read a book, I love going for walks and talking about nature which are fun and educational :)

Amie - posted on 08/24/2009

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Quoting September:





It's never been proven that video games are more educational then reading a book so until it is....I will still think that video games are no good! Thanks for your opinion though :)





Wow... I think I should let my kids teacher know this. I'll bet she'll be so happy to know that the computer GAMES they've been using to teach the students have been debunked by a mom online.

?? - posted on 08/24/2009

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I never once said that it was MORE educational than anything. I said that they can be educational and you can not just disregard the educational factor and chalk it up to marketting, just because there may be other things that are MORE educational. Reading a book is not ALWAYS more educational than playing. Thanks for your opinion.

September - posted on 08/24/2009

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Quoting Jo:



Quoting September:

Educational my butt! It's called marketing people!






I was playing my "Brain Quest Grade 5-6" game the other day (which by the way as only $5) I learned A LOT that I did not know about animals, about world history and just general facts about the world. I wouldn't knock the educational aspect and I wouldn't be chalking it all up to "marketting."






As much as you can chalk something up to marketting - all marketting is based on some sort of truth. Otherwise every single company in the entire market would be considered a bunch of lying scheming fakers and no one would buy anything from anyone.






Obviously marketting CAN be exaggerated - but if a company were to spend hundreds of thousands on a marketting campaign about how educational a game is and then the game ended up being a Grand Theft Auto style game - they wouldn't be staying on the market for long, let alone be keeping any sort of positive reputation. 






There are MANY educational games out there. And it's not all marketting, although, some are - halo, wow, gta, etc - the games that are geared towards teenagers and adults who can go out and buy their own games. Not so much the games that are geared towards children though - those games you just have to snoop around the Walmart cases or check in the bargain bins. There is only 1 or 2 games that I've seen marketted anywhere that were geared towards YOUNG children - and that was a Dora The Explorer game and a NeoPets style game.






I would say though that 85% of the DS games I own (20 or so games) are on the educational side. The others are Mario games, SimCity, Monopoly, Scrabble & Viva Pinata.






It's never been proven that video games are more educational then reading a book so until it is....I will still think that video games are no good! Thanks for your opinion though :)

?? - posted on 08/24/2009

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Quoting September:

Educational my butt! It's called marketing people!



I was playing my "Brain Quest Grade 5-6" game the other day (which by the way as only $5) I learned A LOT that I did not know about animals, about world history and just general facts about the world. I wouldn't knock the educational aspect and I wouldn't be chalking it all up to "marketting."



As much as you can chalk something up to marketting - all marketting is based on some sort of truth. Otherwise every single company in the entire market would be considered a bunch of lying scheming fakers and no one would buy anything from anyone.



Obviously marketting CAN be exaggerated - but if a company were to spend hundreds of thousands on a marketting campaign about how educational a game is and then the game ended up being a Grand Theft Auto style game - they wouldn't be staying on the market for long, let alone be keeping any sort of positive reputation. 



There are MANY educational games out there. And it's not all marketting, although, some are - halo, wow, gta, etc - the games that are geared towards teenagers and adults who can go out and buy their own games. Not so much the games that are geared towards children though - those games you just have to snoop around the Walmart cases or check in the bargain bins. There is only 1 or 2 games that I've seen marketted anywhere that were geared towards YOUNG children - and that was a Dora The Explorer game and a NeoPets style game.



I would say though that 85% of the DS games I own (20 or so games) are on the educational side. The others are Mario games, SimCity, Monopoly, Scrabble & Viva Pinata.

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I won't be buying one for my son at 4 years old. That being said, we do own a few game consoles and a computer (obviously) with games on it and so he's gonna get exposed to those things. I just prefer to find other things to occupy his mind. The way I look at it, he's got his entire life to do those kinds of things, but only a limited amount of time where it's perfectly fine, acceptable and recommended for him to just go outside and play in the dirt. Or slide down his slide 50 times in a row.

JL - posted on 08/24/2009

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We have a Ninetendo Wii in the house and my 6 year old plays one game only on it and that is the Disney sing along Karaoke game. My daughter got for her 6 birthday a DS. She is not on it all the time. In fact the only time she uses the DS really is when we have appointments and she plays in the waiting room and when we are travelling. She only has 3 games and we were very particular about what games she could get and she was only interested in the games that required more thinking skills. She plays a Nintendo Dogs game where she has to take care of her dogs....feed them, love them, bathe them, and teach them voice commands. Another game she has is one where she has to do chores and things which require her to use math skills. The last game is one where she has to match things and recognize patterns. They are all basic games with no action or violence and they do not require anyone to have any expanisve knowledge of controller use and they are all labeled age appropriate. She wants two games for Christmas..one where she can imagine she is fashion designer and the other where she can imagine she is a teacher. She likes the imagination games the best, but personally I do not think a 4 year old is ready for a DS at all.

Mary - posted on 08/24/2009

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Quoting Erin:

I actually don't like video games for ANYONE, let alone a 4 year old. That's just how I was raised, so I have no intention of allowing or encouraging my daughter to have them at such a young age. I know there are cases where they can be educational and challenging, but from my experience they're also incredibly anti-social.



Oh, I am SOOOO with you!!!  I love them, but they are such a time-suck, which is why I forbid myself to even start playing anymore.  I REALLY think they need to be banned for 43 year-old men, lol!!

Vicki - posted on 08/23/2009

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Haha, I have twin cousins who are five now, and they both got their own PSP for Christmas last year. My uncle is a huge computer nerd, and I am the same. I have my NES and Wii and a couple of Gameboys... I'm sure my son will be playing some games as there are many many appropriate for a young age. Oh, and my uncle's older son who is 12 now I think... when he was four, he could match me in a racing game. Pretty awesome, I think!

Kylie - posted on 08/23/2009

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I will not buy my 4 year old a DS or a PlayStation. She has so many other toys and outlets for leaning and imagination she does not need it. I have a cousin who has a little boy who was born 3 days after my daughter. He has a DS, an xbox, a play station and a gameboy. I wont have him over my house because he is violent with my daughter and loves punching and kicking games and my cousin and i clash when we get together as she thinks its normal child behavior. My daughter will sometimes see my cousins son when she is visiting my Mum, My mum has an xbox which my daughter has no interest in but my cousins son always plays on the xbox for the whole visit. my daughter asks him to come play chasey or see the dog and he doesnt repond he is just fixed on the game. It's sad and personally i think it's lasy parenting on his mother's behalf..its just easier to turn on the game than get out the craft activities or play a game with her son.

My daughter plays the wiggles and ABC games online every now and then. Shes learned so much from the limited time on the computer. She knows how to use a mouse, open a new window, find bookmarks, use the numbers and space bar on the keyboard etc..it quite astonishing how quickly 4 year olds pick up computer skills.

Erin - posted on 08/23/2009

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I actually don't like video games for ANYONE, let alone a 4 year old. That's just how I was raised, so I have no intention of allowing or encouraging my daughter to have them at such a young age. I know there are cases where they can be educational and challenging, but from my experience they're also incredibly anti-social.

Sharon - posted on 08/23/2009

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Dawn, Are you trying to say all children under 10 yrs playing video games will be gamer nerds?

DAWN - posted on 08/23/2009

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Hell no I would not. There are far more beneficial things to be buying for a child instead of a video game. Say good old fashioned books for example. If we start our kids on video games at the age of 4 than chances are by the time they are 10 that's all they will be doing is sitting alone in their room, getting fat and playing video games.
I am also sick of people saying yeah my kid has a game BUT... my kid has a cell phone BUT...but nothing, there is no need for a child this young to play with a DS.

Jocelyn - posted on 08/23/2009

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i wouldn't buy a ds, but i think i would get one of those leapfrog hand held ones (i have no idea what they are called lol) the ds games don't seem age appropriate, while the leapfrog ones do. i think of it as the lesser of two evils :P i'd still limit the use tho.

Jeannette - posted on 08/23/2009

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We didn't allow portable or console games until the youngest was 9, much to my husban's disappointment. Our children were always playing outside, being creative, and for 4 years didn't have televsion either...soooo, they really had to use their minds!

We have now had them for 5 years, and yeah as Lisa Hale pointed out, I sometimes regretted it. However, my kids were still involved in baseball, football, tennis, marching band, band competitions, a guitar club, piano lessons, tae kwon do, girl scouts, boy scouts, camping trips...each child had their own intrests, but this is a list of most of what they wanted to do. My husband is an avid gamer, and HE is the one who makes me feel regret sometimes! lol! He has gotten better the past year or so....now he is okay with hitting pause to do something!

My brother got a console game when he was in high shool, and he never moved. His son has had a console game since he was a toddler, and although he rarely ever plays outside (not even when his cousins are playing outside) he at least is involved with marching band, boy scouts, and did soccer one summer.

I think it mostly depends on the parents....the same goes with tv viewing though....if a parent treats it like a babysitter then that is way too much exposer to one interest.

Sharon - posted on 08/23/2009

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Maybe because my kids are older now - but at the time the nintendo ds didn't offer games designed for 4 yr olds. Well, not many - 1 or 2.

Yeah - some people are death on video games - but my kids don't seem to have the issues that plague so many other kids. Mine were leaping around playing guitar hero on the PS2, then they cleaned up and found the gear for the Wii rock band and played with that, but 80% of their day - they've been outside.

Lindsay - posted on 08/23/2009

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The DS is the portable one, isn't it? I could understand getting one for travel but for everyday, I don't think it's necessary just yet for a 4 year old. I'm sure my kids will have some sort of gaming system in the future, but if they aren't asking for it, I'm definately not showing up with one to suprise them(I didn't read the thread, don't know if the child asked or the parent was just was considering getting it). We have a PS2 and I have to admit that I enjoy a little guitar hero occasionally. I think video games go along the same lines TV. Moderation is the key.

Sarah - posted on 08/23/2009

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my son is one and he just got a baby vsmile for his birthday. It has a lot of different learning activities for him. I think it is just a matter of moderation, we play together with his for maybe 15 minutes a day, it is just another thing for him to enjoy.

Sharon - posted on 08/23/2009

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I did my best to politely discourage her. Ours were all older before getting that toy.

Cassie - posted on 08/23/2009

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I agree completely Loureen. Four year olds are so imaginative; you could hand them a pile of junk and they could have fun for hours!! No sense in using video games!

Charlie - posted on 08/23/2009

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There are so many things you can engage a 4 year old with why get a computer game .

Cassie - posted on 08/23/2009

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I think that is way too young!!! Outrageous actually. I don't want my kids having any game system at all. I want my kids using their imagination, playing outside getting dirty, not relying on video games to keep them occupied. That's just me though!!!

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