1/3 of a day on videogames? Really?

I was watching a show online (yeah, I’m about to talk about someone having too much screen time after I watched something, and I’m going to do this by typing on a screen so you can read it on a screen. Hush now. Let’s move on) where this kid was asked how many hours a day he plays videogames. He says about 9 hours. His parents, sitting nearby, are quick to say it’s on the weekends.

I should not judge, I should not judge, I should not judge. But I did judge. 9 hours. Nine. 3 plus 3 plus 3.

I don’t care if it’s the weekend. That’s too many hours playing videogames if you’re not paid to do it for a living.

videogamerThe kid in me, who probably considered a Commodore 64 an essential nutrient, thinks “sounds awesome.”

The parent in me, that has largely taken over my mind and body like an extraterrestial, thinks “no way.”

By the way, the same kid? At one point he mentions a 17-hour video game streak. Oy.

Ok, I really don’t want to judge even though I did. I have my own failings as a parent, like being a bit lazy, skipping pages in storybooks when I read to my younger kid, and typically already being on the computer when the kids wake up. It’s probably a bad example to see me on the computer first thing in the morning, every morning. I should probably be meditating in the living room. Or something.

I do so want to set a good example. I really really do. In some ways, I think I do well. Even though I eat too much, I eat my veggies aplenty, and I don’t indulge on sweets in front of the kids. There’s no soda in the house. There’s no booze. We don’t smoke. There is no cable television even though I have at times tried to justify possibly getting it by thinking about all the educational channels like National Geographic or Discovery. Come on. You know it’ll also be episodes of Modern Family or The Bachelor. Just admit it.

We never said “no TV” to the kids. We just kind of downplayed it, distracted them with other things until they just never ask. They don’t ask to watch TV. They ask to watch a movie now and then, which amounts to 2 or 3 hours a week. They don’t ask about the video games since I told them the simple rule: If you ask me to play video games on my computer, automatic “no.” (I HAD to make this rule after being asked daily.) It works, because about once a week I will randomly give them 20 minutes of computer game time and they’re over the moon about it.

I may be a little mean. I love them, though. Just trying to keep their developing brains from becoming mush. A third of a day on video games? They’d be zombies.


About J. Parrish Lewis

J. Parrish Lewis writes. He is also the author of The Goblin Road, a fantasy novel, and The Rabbit List. He was born and raised in Maryland. In his youth there, he and his brother had many adventures in the dogwood forests near his home. His nostalgia for these adventures has strongly influenced his characters, their relationships, and their perspective on the world they inhabit. He moved to California’s coast to earn his degree in communications and now lives with his family in the San Joaquin Valley. Lewis is profoundly deaf and uses American Sign Language to communicate. He enjoys hazelnut coffee, captioned movies, and walking his dog.
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