I’m starting this post with a fragment of a typical dinner conversation at our house.
Noah (11): “Dad, guess what I built today?”
Me: “You built something, how neat! In art class?” (being ignored)
Keegan (7): “I know, I know! Another room for your fort!”
Me: “How was school boys?” (being ignored)
Noah: “No, dummy.”
Keenoahdad: “Don’t call your brother that, Noah!”
Me: “No name calling boys! So, how was school?” (being ignored)
Noah: “A pickaxe!”
Keegan: “I’m not a dummy!” (cries)
Me: “Please apologize, Noah!” (being ignored)
Keenoahdad: “Who’s up for a round of Minecraft after dinner?”
Me: “Joshua!” (being ignored)
Kids in sync: “Me!”
Please tell me I am not the only one! I have this really strong no-love, just-hate relationship with Minecraft. I mean, I don’t like video games to begin with, but Minecraft takes it to another level of despise for me. It’s like my kids are obsessed or brainwashed. It long escalated from just interactively building stuff and fighting zombies on a computer screen, to watching Youtube videos and playing it on every device they can get their little sticky hands on. It’s all they talk about, their LEGO’s are Minecraft themed, and when I shoo them outside to play, their newest game is called “Minecraft in real life”. It’s like it went from Minecraft to Mindtheft! Their little brains are so occupied with that game that they can’t think, let alone talk, about anything else!
“It’s like it went from Minecraft to Mindtheft!”
What makes it extra hard is that I’m fighting against windmills here. Keenoahdad is not obsessed (that would be pretty scary) but certainly takes part in the enabling. He believes it’s “not that bad”, and even argues the building and thinking process they use while playing the game promotes their creativity. Really? Go draw a picture, that’s creative (even though it would be Minecraft related too, I bet). But then again, what do you expect from someone who chose IT for a career? To be honest, if it was my decision alone, there would be MUCH less screen time in our house. And I also would not let the 7 year old play any video games with zombies involved.
But hey, we are a team so we have to compromise and meet in the middle. They have an 1 hour time limit on the Xbox during school days and their Kindle Fires have timers on them (45 minutes for Noah and 30 minutes for Keegan; a bit more on no school days). They can watch TV, but need to turn it off when Mom or Dad think they’ve watched enough for the day. Noah has a smartphone but is not allowed to use it to play games in the house or during family outings. I personally think that’s more than enough screen time. Still, you wouldn’t believe the discussions and endless meltdowns taking place when the time is up, especially with my pre-teen. The struggle is real!
How much screen time do your kids have?