How young is too young for video games??

Mell - posted on 07/21/2011 ( 30 moms have responded )

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This question came to me whilst i was reading a review on a toy i was thinking of buying my son for his fourth birthday! A woman said her three year old grandson played with it for five minutes then left it to go back and play on his DS.

In my opinion i think that 3 years old is way too young to have a DS!
My son actually asked me to get him one ( His cousin has one) but I said no..
1. Because hes toooo heavy handed with his toys and I bet it would last all of 10minutes.
2.Id rather him use his imagination and creativity when playing

Ive seen a few kids at birthday partys just sat playing them and not wanting to go and play then acting as if it was a chore to do so when asked!

Call me old fashioned but i miss the days when we would ride our bikes all day, climb trees, when a cardboard box could be a den, a castle, a rocket what ever we imagined lol

So how young do you think is too young for video games? and with all the new tech out there ( t.v's, computers, consoles, handheld games) are we dulling our childrens imaginations??

Id like to know what other peoples ideas are on this :)

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Fiona - posted on 07/21/2011

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@ Elfrieda only parents who don't research the games they buy their children buy their children inappropriate guns and violence games. there a plenty of games across the range of consoles that are specifically developed for children.
the DS has assorted games that help teach them hand eye co-ordination, maths, and other basic skills dependant on age. The wii has a wide range of family friendly games and wii sports comes with the console free. competers have a ton of educational games. you just need to research.
you may find your husband being into computer games helps you when the time comes that you have a kid hanging off your arm begging for grand theft auto 511. because you'll know what the game is about and if your child is capable of handling the content. My husband and i are both 'gamer geeks' when ds starts playing computer games we will be able to confidently choose the games he can and can't play based on the content, the age restrictions of the game and whether or not we believe him to be capable of handling the content.

as to the OP ds is already watching his dad play wow. i don't know when he will start gaming or if he will, that is a decision i will be leaving to circumstance and whether or not he wants to game. i do however have a nice selection of games from popcap that i bought on special from steam. a ton of kids games for extremely cheap. best way to get games.

i apologise for the atrocious grammar and spelling

Elfrieda - posted on 07/21/2011

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I'm really extreme on this one. I think no child should play any sort of video game (except in extreme circumstances such as air travel or similar) until he's 6 or 7 years old. Same reason as you - it spoils them for regular kid playing, not to mention guns and violence.

My husband loves computer games, though, so we'll see how that goes. :/

Amie - posted on 07/22/2011

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Eh, our 2 yr old is exposed to video games. Since we got the kinect she even plays. She also plays with our oldest old DS. (mostly she likes to take pictures with it lol) Our oldest got a new one (the DS XL) for her bday.



We have loads of video games and systems, I think we even have an atari somewhere. My husband is a gamer connoisseur, seriously. He likes RPG's mostly though, as do I. We have our 360 and PS3 hooked up to the internet but we never play online. Oh my husband used to on the 360 to play some game with his friends. They've moved on to other games and he never cancelled the internet on it. So it's there, ah well. At least the PS3 comes with free net access (you use your own net).



Our son (6 yrs) has his own nintendo game system, can't remember which one and it's too late to go look. His great gramma bought it for him along with a lot of games. Problem we have with that is some of those games are worth quite a bit now, so those are put away. haha He has lots of other stuff he can play with.



We also have my laptop, the desktop and our oldest daughter has her own desktop. The 3 oldest ones (4,6 and 11) have their own laptops too - but they aren't here. Their gramps (my husbands dad) bought them for the kids. Those stay at gramma & gramps though for when the kids have extended stays.



Oh plus the t.v.'s and DVD players, etc.



Even with all this our kids still spend more time outside than in. They always have something to do and their lives don't center around technology. Mostly because we're modeling what a healthy relationship with technology is like.



They don't see us sitting in front of the t.v., our games or the computers for hours on end. (I do know people who are like this though) They see us doing the housework, the yardwork, reading our books, me doing my scrapbook, etc. They even help us do these things - when they're not playing outside or going for walks in the bush or doing crafts or or or - there's a lot they do and a lot they have.



Some days they do prefer their games and techie stuff, that's alright. They never sit for long periods. On days in the house they spend it bouncing around the rooms, running in circles with the dogs or in the basement playing soccer or basketball or something.

Amy - posted on 07/22/2011

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I'm so out of it, what is DS?

We had someone pity us because we had zero game things in our house. They gave us their old xbox. My daughter is 4 1/2 and about once every two months the xbox gets used by her and daddy playing some snowboard game or a race car game. They have fun crashing in both. They only play for about half an hour and she gets bored. Thank goodness. I actually forgot we had it until this post. Gardening and canning has taken up most of hte summer. My son is watching chip n dale cartoons right now while the girls are sleeping. Sadly, it's TOO hot to go outside today. I hate stuck inside days. My kids live for their swingset and bikes and chalk.

They went to grandma's house and she's like let's play wii. They were like..WE play what? My mom was upset that my kids couldn't 'figure it out at their ages' [4 and 2]. uh..sorry. we don't have one. can't afford to buy one and not priority. she says i'm setting my kids up to be technologically behind. eh. they'll learn in school fast enough!

What age? Haven't crossed the bridge on when i want my kids to play. A lot of technology dulls minds. Even mine. I have't read a classic novel all year. But I have made trains and airplanes out of diapers.com boxes!! I order two things of diaper cases at one time just to get the giant box for kids to paint and play in.

Really, until the kids can take care of the games without ruining them, i don't think they need to be playing them often.

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30 Comments

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Melissa - posted on 07/21/2012

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I have a 3 year old daughter who plays on my IPad and laptop. I put her on the educational games though.

Meredith - posted on 12/12/2011

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My 8 year old loves to do the Wii fit so I definately allow her to play that, she likes to try the yoga and the running and of course the tight rope on it. My husband is a huge gamer, and yes I play on occasion also, but not like him, and believe me it really gets to me sometimes how much he is on his games. Now I had a DS for the game brain age that I bought a tinkerbell game for my oldest to play on it, but she isnt on it all the time, in fact she prefers to be out with her friends playing.

Emma - posted on 12/12/2011

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My kids aged 5 and 3 1/3 both have the new Leapfrog LeapPads, My Daughter loves playing sing Star and little big planet with us on our PS3 , and both my son and daughter love the dance mat game on the PS2 . these things are mostly played on rainy days or during the high risk sun hours mid summer.
I think there are pros and cons to young kids playing video games . but as with everything its about teaching moderation.

Kitty - posted on 12/10/2011

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my son is 7 been addicted for 1 yr now and not doing tooo bad but we are trying to get him off the fighting games!!! but it is hard!

Janice - posted on 11/18/2011

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I agree Mell, 3 years is too young. Real play is going to the wayside too much.
Unfortunately my view on this is not actually what will happen in my home because hubby is a major gamer. Growing up he had every system and in our home we have a PS3, a Wii, a PSPgo, and 2 computers! My daughter really doesn't play any of these yet but she knows that shaking the Wii remote during Donkey Kong makes them pound the ground and while I was grocery shopping my Hubby got our then 23 mo old on video excitedly yelling "I did it" as she made the monkey move.
Obviously, I still plan to limit my daughter's (and son's) game time but I'm sure we will be buying EC games for my daughter at her 3rd B-day.

Brittany - posted on 11/18/2011

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My son Caoleb is 6 and he likes to play on the Playstation 3. All three of my kids know how to work the PS3 they are 6,5,and 4. We use the PS3 for a lot more then just games.

I do allow my kids to play games but, only on the weekends. Caoleb wants a DS for Christmas and I will get him one, if I can afford it. I do not mind the kids playing games as long as all of their stuff is done.

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My 2 year old does not have a ds but my 7 year old those.I had a heart attack one day i came into the sitting room while my 7 year old was in school.The 2 year old was sitting on the sofa with it on and playing it correctly.I could not believe it, as my 7 year old plays with it very rarely with school etc.I only buy puppy or vet games etc.My 2 year old loves them.There is a limit.As with everything.
My 2 year old like my first born are very advanced.There both book worms and love to be outdoors also.
I think we have an excellent balance with everything as its clearly showing with our oldest school reports.Nothing is taking over in the place of there academic learning.Same for my 2 year old's development.Shes a bright spark.Although eye wise i am curious if its okay to hold a ds close to your face.

Jeannette - posted on 11/17/2011

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I held off on any console or handheld games until my kids were 9, 11, and 14. So, my oldest child was in high school before she was seriously exposed.
They did have PC games and we let them play those, but their time was limited because they had to share a PC. My kids have ridden and broken bicycles, gone on camp-outs, fishing, nature trail hiking, white water rafting, and all kinds of neighborhood games outside. So, I was glad I limited the console bit, but that is mostly because I married a gamer. My DH actually got rid of his consoles when we got married because he knew he would play them for hours on end and set a bad example for our kids. lol!
My nephews have had handheld DS and whatever else, plus the consoles, and that is all 3 out of the 4 ever want to do. They hardly ever go swimming, they never went outside to play when they were younger. When they'd come stay at our house for the night, my kids would try playing outside with them, but they would come right back in and tell me how bored they were and why didn't I have any games. When I offered board games they told me how much they hated board games, so I will be honest, I would dread the visits sometimes. Even trying to take them to the park was a chore. Get a picnic, eat, let the kids take off, within 15 minutes the older two were back at the table telling me how bored they were. The only activity I found they enjoyed for hours was laser tag. Yep.
It depends on the kid too. My middle child considers herself a gamer, but really, she's not dedicated as her brother and father are. She will play games she likes for hours on end (she's 17), but she has so many other interests. My son and husband love games and sports. Thank goodness my son plays football, loves to hunt and fish, because I could see him turning into a couch potato if he didn't have any other interests or hobbies.

Sharlene - posted on 11/16/2011

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Well this well shock you course it did me,My girlfriend has a 17 month old boy that has a I Pond Pad.????? I really could'nt believe.at that age.And to answer your thread 3 seems fine just aslong his not on it all the time i guess

Jae - posted on 11/16/2011

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I myself am a gamer mom. I limit my daughters game play but honestly, age appropriate games are actually good. They promote hand-eye coordination, problem solving skills, use of the imagination, and are great for stress relief. For me, I am a single mom to a 7 yr old with Asperger's Syndrome and ADHD. Her game time has helped so much with teaching her social skills (like following the rules) and has helped her focus. She doesnt do well with other children, but having an interest in games has helped her open up more. But this is just me. I respect other mothers rights to raise their children how they see fit. However my best friend was told most of her life how horrible and immature playing games were. She is now a 24 yr old gamer and most recently a published author as well. There can be pros to game playing as well as cons.

Rosie - posted on 07/23/2011

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well, i had my first child play a bob the builder game on playstation when he was 3. he did super good at it, so i kinda thought i should encourage it?? i'm a dumb ass yes i know. sigh. he is now 11 has ADHD, and can play video games for hours if i let him. i don't think he "got" the ADHD from playing video games, cause his father is EXACTLY the same way as him, but i can't help but wonder if i hadn't let him do it so early if he wouldn't have such a love for them now.
my youngest two are 6 and 4. my 6 year old plays the wii occasionally and he started that this past christmas. he also has a leapster that he got for his birthday in october. he seems to not care to much for them. will play them for a few moments and then turn them off himself.
my 4 year old has never played a video game or been on the computer. he doesn't seem interested yet, so i'll keep it that way as long as i can.

how young is too young? IMO 3 is too young. maybe 5? i dont' really think we are dulling our childrens imaginations by letting them play video games. it's how LONG and how often they get to play them that bothers me.

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We are considering buying him a DSi for his 7th birthday, but it will be for long drives and plane trips only. I can't imagine him needing it any other time.

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J has been playing them since he was 4 or 5, I'm pretty sure it was 4. He does not have his own hand held system, unless you count the Leapster2 learning toy thing. We do have a PSP (the hand held playstation thing) that we allow him to use on planes or long drives. We have Little Big Planet, Cars, and a couple of puzzle games--I spy & such for it. No violence.

We also have a Wii & PS3 in our family room that he plays on occasion. Again, no violence. He has his own netbook for going online to PBSkids.org, Starfall.com, and a couple others I have approved for him. We also have an Xbox360 in my husband's office which J is not allowed to play (my husband bought it specifically to play one game that my BIL plays online, so they meet up & play--huge waste of $$ if you ask me).

All in all, if you don't include trips, I think he plays about 2-4 hours a week. He doesn't play it on weekends, and we really just don't have time most days. He plays it mostly on Mondays.

Corinne - posted on 07/22/2011

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I do think that's a bit young for something like a DS. We have a vtech games system in the kids playroom. The games are all age appropriate and most feature Disney characters. Neither of my kids are that interested, they usually want to play outside or they have their nose in a book. I would rather they didn't have hand held consoles at any age, and they won't be having a T.V or console in their rooms. Guess I too am a bit old fashioned in that sense :)

♏*PHOENIX*♏ - posted on 07/22/2011

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Maybe 3years old and up is a good time to play video games…they do have educational ones that they can play.
3 is to young to have a DS because often their attention span is at 0 and they can be rough on toys and not take care of it properly, but there are always exceptions to the rules (some 3year olds are a bit mature and will take care of their toys better then the average 3year old)

Fortunately for me I don’t really regulate how often my son plays anymore he is 8 and plays outside just as much as he plays his DSi, Playstation3, Wii and my iPad. He is VERY active outside and likes to draw.
Now if he was a zombie and had fits when I told him to stop playing his games..then I would regulate…would have no problem doing so.

Sarah - posted on 07/22/2011

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I also don't think that a sensible amount of time spent on computer games is going to stifle a child's ability to be creative and imaginative.

My eldest loves being on the computer, but she also spends ages drawing pictures, playing outside, with her little sister and doing all the other things that little girls do.

Sherri - posted on 07/22/2011

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I limit it to an hour a day. However, really hard to when you have a wide variety of ages to ban it from the younger kids when you have teenagers. I have a 14, 12 and then 5yr old. So as I said my 5yr old is exposed to things my older ones never would have been at such young ages.

Jenn - posted on 07/22/2011

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I am old fashioned, I guess. My children do not own any video games, just a V-tech Reader they received last year. They have both been on my computer for online games such as Starfall or NickJr. But never daily and they have limited time on it. Instead, they play together or with friends. For hours they will use their imagination and entertain themselves. Now my oldest reads so I encourage books...long live real books!! We may get a Wii this year for Christmas but it will not dominate my children's lives. It drives me nuts to see kids constantly playing video games. They are all too often used as babysitters.

Sherri - posted on 07/22/2011

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All my kids had video games by 3 yrs old. They started off with hand held v-tech games systems.

Heck my 5yr old has an IPOD touch.

Teresa - posted on 07/22/2011

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I got my son a DSi XL for his 4th birthday and I wish I had not. I have to really limit his time on it.

Jenni - posted on 07/22/2011

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We let my son try an nostalgic sega car racing game and then some vintage Mario Kart when he was 2.5 yrs. ;)



But yeah, it was only a one time thing. Well we let him give it a try a few days in a row. He loved it but of course got really frustrated because he couldn't 'do it'. We didn't intend on letting it become a habit, which I'm glad... because when it was time to stop playing, he threw some wicked tantrums. So ummm pass...



He's 3 now and I can't see myself introducing video games anytime soon. If I do at any point, we'll start with educational video games at the very least.



I am not a fan of any violent killing games. Video games would have to be age appropriate. And their access to them would be limited.



Those DS's seem like a godsend at times, however. I have one. ;)

I use to play it during my monthy prenatal checkups in the waiting room. lol I played a lot of pokemon.



Btw Fiona, love the pic... is that from the new black and white version? I don't have that one yet. :(



=^;^= *meowth*

Sarah - posted on 07/22/2011

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My youngest daughter is 3 and she sometimes plays on the DS or on the Wii.
She has been since she was about 2 I guess.

It's mainly because she wanted to join in with her big sister, so we'd let her have a little go........sometimes she could do it, sometimes not.

They very rarely go on the DS or the Wii now, they loved it for a while, but they grew bored of it. My kids are quite fickle that way! lol

So I've got no problem with young kids having a go at these things. I think the problem only comes in when the child, whatever age they are, spend a ridiculous amount time on these things.

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I have a quite unpopular opinion.... I will never buy my kids a video gaming system at any age. They've received cheapie $1 ones as party favors before though. Even my 3 year old 'plays' those... We have a computer. That's more than enough. My girls have been playing on occasion since 3 (rare til the past couple of years) and my son also plays a bit on occasion. They have to share w/ me though and I'm a computer hog. lol

My 4 year old nephew plays games like Mario Kart on his parents Wii.... It's almost scary how good he is.

[deleted account]

None of my children are ready for video games but i have a Wii that i will be setting up when i move and i will be allowing them some time on that.
I think within the next 2 yrs i would buy her one but i don't have the money.

Jodi - posted on 07/21/2011

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I bought my daughter a DS when she was 5. She has a Leapster Explorer too. She is now 6 and still enjoys playing with both.

I would never have bought her a DS when she was 3, she would have ruined it. She ruined her brother's.......

To be quite honest, she doesn't play either of them a LOT. We mostly use them for when we go out to dinner and know she will be bored waiting, sitting in a doctor's office, plane or car trips and the like. Or when she is sick and we just want her to curl up and rest. It certainly hasn't dulled her imagination - she has the most creative imagination I know.

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