We send to a Chofetz Chaim school, and the grade is mixed with parents who allow video games. We are very strict on screen time, and we only allow an occasional show/video on the computer (Wildkratts, etc.). Our 12-year-old son is pestering us about allowing video games because a number of his friends have these games and video game systems. These are good kids, but the parents seem to be lax about video game systems. We are trying to encourage our son to hang out with the kids that do not have the video games, but he doesn't have as much of a friendship with them.
Advice? Should we give in? Are we being overprotective? Can we find a parve game, or are the video games a slippery slope in your experience?
We are a "chofetz chaim" family, but live OOT where our kids are in more of a mixed crowd school. Let me start off by saying it's really really hard, and a real struggle. My DS is 13, for reference.
What we have been doing so far is that we do allow him games on a kindle. Main rules - no games where there is chatting going on, and he can't ever play video games with friends.
I find the biggest problem that has come from video games is the lack of communication, relationships, and "playing" amongst his friends. The boys in his class have no reason to get together and play sports or go bike riding, or even play a board game together because they all go home to their rooms and play alone - oh but we're actually playing "together" they say!
Its not easy and my son has definitely kvetched and complained about how we're the "only mean parents" but we have not given in
I hate it, but I think being the parent who doesn’t let will only backfire. Make reasonable limitations. I find that I can literally let him play for hours and his friends are still on more than he is. It’s very hard. Find what works for you, but as with all parenting, keep an eye on the big picture and consider their emotional and social health. Same way my kids get to take some junkier snacks to school than I’d like, because I think it will only do more harm to be the kid who can’t bring those snacks. I also keep the gaming system in a public area so he’s not holed up in his room or the basement. I do let him use games that involve chatting but ONLY with friends. No strangers. Because it’s in a public place we are often somewhat involved in the conversations that go on and so he is still connected to the real world when playing.