Age appropriate video games

A segment on ABC news, discussing the use of tablets to entertain babies, threw me a little, until I realized they were talking about ipads. Then I was really confused.

It would never occur to me that a four hundred dollar electronic device would be an appropriate plaything for a toddler. Not even for the three minutes it took the child to destroy the thing.

Some children are placed in front of tablets as early as ten days old. This is not the same as watching television as you give the baby a bottle at 3AM, this is literally a video babysitter. No doubt there’s already a babysitting ap. Not only is this replacing human contact, it is replacing the desire for human contact. Babies that are exposed to tablets end up preferring the screen to their mothers.

Many of us have bemoaned the lack of social skills in the age of social media. We recall the idea of “outside“, that place where things grew out of the dirt, and bugs and lizards lived. The place that had baseball diamonds, or maybe asphalt. The place that a growing number of preschoolers rarely see. The place that might actually ease ADHD.

In fact, studies have indicated a link between video games and ADHD. Why would anyone want to get them started earlier?.

We may have reached an evolutionary tipping point. Women, mothers and particularly pregnant mothers, have always been protective, if not overly protective, of their children. The “mother bear” analogy is first in our minds. Yet lately that seems to be changing. Listening to a BBC report on the controversy surrounding paint fumes during pregnancy, the thing most astounding to me was that there is a controversy. Alright, there hasn’t been any research completed, but why take the chance? My wives were the healthiest they had been in their lives when they were pregnant. They stopped drinking and smoking, ate properly, and took every imaginable precaution.

Watching the segment on the news, no one mentioned the use of television as a babysitter, instead they pointed out the hand/eye coordination benefits. In fact, they mentioned one study that indicated the effectiveness of video in teaching children, as young as nine months of age. That is in spite of the American Academy of Pediatrics’s official recommendation is no “passive screen time” for children under two. Let me say that again. The American Academy of Pediatrics says no video, not even Sesame Street, for children under two. There is no such thing as an “age appropriate video game” for a nine month old.

When my children were ten days old we couldn’t put them down, yet there are people who would place their ten day old child in front of an ipad? Did the child become boring, or was the child bored of the parent? I know that I look at life and relationships differently than most people, but if you don’t have time to hold and raise your child, why did you have a child in the first place?

When did our priorities shift from raising healthy kids to having twin SUVs? One thing that stood out to me was the aftermath of the shooting in Newtown Connecticut. There was an argument over armed guards in schools. We have armed guards in banks, but not schools. Kind of indicates which we consider more important. In its website on “How to select the best instructional video games for your kids”, Epica games credits the author of the piece with “Sarah is a qualified journalist. She has written many articles on free kids’ games, including the best games of 2013 and games to enhance a child’s education.”. “Qualified journalist”? Does that means she takes dictation?

Somewhere along the line, we switched from seeing 1984 and “Brave New World” as cautionary tales and began seeing them as instruction manuals.


6 comments on “Age appropriate video games

  1. I’ve seen this (and I am herby coining the phrase) bot-babysitting becoming a real parenting method as well. Very concerning. We have a young neighbor family that suspends their ipad over their newborns crib INSTEAD of soft dangling colorful whimsical soft sculptures and maybe some soft music playing in the background. WTF? When I’m lucky enough to take the baby on a walk I fold back the stroller top to it’s full-down position, turn the handle so that the baby can face me and encourage her to look at the trees, clouds, and birds. All while actually TALKING to her and S-M-I-L-I-N-G. I know I know. It’s a novel idea.


  2. lievemc says:

    And these studies would be sponsored by ABC (Disney), Apple etc… what do they care about children’s health – as long as the stockholders are happy.


  3. I saw this as well and was horrified. It’s absolutely ridiculous. The only part of an ipad a young child should play with is the box 🙂 Great post!


  4. It was unbelievable. What is wrong with people. I still remember one Game Play Counselor (at Nintendo) telling a father whose child was screaming so loud you could hear it three cubicles away, “Sir, it’s a game. Turn it off and tell her to go outside and play.” One can’t tell a nine-day-old to go out and play, but one can hold the child, sing to the child, or talk to the child.


  5. It’s amazing how much emphasis people put on tablets for children. I mean have you seen products like this?

    It’s ridiculous. On a side note, great article!


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