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Are we BU not to have any kind of games console?

(61 Posts)
CambridgeBlue Sun 12-Jan-14 07:46:12

Unlike virtually everyone we know with children, we don't have a Wii, an Xbox or anything similar. I always though DD(11) was fine with this but she told us last night that she feels bored and left out when we meet up with friends because all the kids play on them and she doesn't know how. She made us feel like the 21st century equivalent of people who didn't have a TV when we were young.

The reasons we don't have one are that they are expensive, we don't want one in our small living room but haven't got room for a second TV elsewhere but mostly because I don't like the addictive nature of them - even really young children we know are obsessed with playing on them.

DD has her own laptop, phone, iPod and a DS so she's not being deprived in the technology stakes IMO. If we had a console I know she'd want to be on it all the time and quite honestly I feel she has enough 'screen time' with TV, Internet etc. DH and I don't play computer games (don't understand adults who do really) so she'd mainly be using it alone unless she had a friend over (that seems to be all the kids do when they go to each others houses now).

We do find it harder now she's getting older to know what to do on a weekend evening - we don't watch stuff like the X Factor etc which is all Saturday night TV seems to consist of, and we seem to have exhausted all the films and box sets that we can watch as a family. DD seems to think other families sit round playing games on their console but I can't believe that's the case and even if it is, it's not for us.

Really interested to hear how other people spend their leisure time and whether it does revolve around computer games. Also keen to know if it's just the children we know who seem so obsessed with them or whether they really are a 'most have' like a TV or stereo was for our generation.

CambridgeBlue Sun 12-Jan-14 08:48:35

Thanks all, this is really interesting. I have to go out so don't have time to read in detail now but will browse all your responses later, lots to consider smile.

LadyIsabellasHollyWreath Sun 12-Jan-14 08:49:01

I think if she really wants it it's not an unreasonable request to get one for her birthday - on the understanding that the screen time would be instead of existing useage not additional. Now we're onto the fourth generation Playstation there's a huge backlog of older consoles you could buy second hand (maybe even free if a family member is upgrading) and the older games are also very cheap to buy.

Which to get depends on what all her mates are playing. Of course if what they're playing is GTA5 or COD then you're better off not getting one. I'm slightly surprised the girls aren't all about the phone games anyway - it would see a bit unusual for the girls to be console-gaming-mad.

Spottybra Sun 12-Jan-14 08:49:35

Currently we don't have one but I am considering a wii or x box for the family sport and dance games next winter. Dc will be 3 and 5. I always had fun with dnephew on his. He is 15 now and more into bmx/skateboarding/rugby/kickboxing so no issues with him having a console from 3yrs old.

Better than sitting and playing on cbeebies.

ImagineJL Sun 12-Jan-14 08:50:01

OP we have even less than you - a PSP (ancient, donated by a friend), an antique desktop PC, and portable DVD players. I have 2 boys ages 4 and 8. (we have TV obviously, and I have a laptop for work and an iPad which they aren't allowed near as it's precious!) I've considered getting a Wii, but I just think the rows and scraps between the boys would make it unbearable. They play nicely all the time except when anything techno is involved.

D0oinMeCleanin Sun 12-Jan-14 08:50:23

Meh. We have almost every console going, at least every platform going, bar Apple due to my intense hatred of their marketing strategies.

My children spend little time on them unless the weather is so bad that their friends are not allowed to play out, in which case they will "meet" their friends on Minecraft/Skype/PixelGun/whatever.

They can take or leave games. I firmly believe that is because there is no limit on them, they do not feel the need to abuse them. We've often had "screentimed" friends being left alone in the house while mine play in the park because they've gotten fed up of Mario Karts.

ImagineJL Sun 12-Jan-14 08:51:09

I would give in and buy a Wii if the boys really really wanted one, but I'd have strict rules about it, and I suspect it would spend most of the time unused due to "bad behaviour bans"!

Starballbunny Sun 12-Jan-14 08:52:42

We have a Wii and an Xbox.

The Wii and balance board is fun, Mario carts and Wii resorts as a family or with friends can be hilarious. The DDs playing Super Mario together gets silly as toad is so cute.

I'm far less keen on the Xbox as there seem very few decent games for anyone who doesn't like blood, guns or football. The DDs have various Lego ones, which are very clever, but they still require a lot of just random smashing piles of bricks.

Forza's graphics are stunning, but you get board of driving in circles and DD2 gets fed up of just dance in 5 min.

In all honesty unless you are prepared to join in an only child will either get bored, frustrated or obsessed with completing things.

My two don't get obsessed because Lego and Mario have two player modes that make completing things 'easier' . However, one of the DDs is sure to get fed up with the others ineptitude before they've played for a Sicily amount of time.

The thing that is obsessive here is SIMs on DD2s lap top.

And one last thing, if your DDs friends are into mine craft, I believe (like Sims) the PC version is by far the best anyway.

BrandNewIggi Sun 12-Jan-14 08:52:57

I don't understand this when you clearly have embraced new technology with the list of things your dd does have - what differentiates the console? How much space do you think one takes up, it's like a large telephone directory. And can be purchased second hand from the likes of Game. You don't need one, but your dd has asked for one and you don't have a moral objection to screens I don't see what the problem is?
Entertaining them on a Saturday night, well that's another matter! (Cook together?) Watching parents make fools of themselves on wii sports or dance could be diverting I suppose!

Ragwort Sun 12-Jan-14 08:57:08

I sympathise as I really, really don't 'get' computer consoles or whatever they are called. We did relent and allow our 11 year old to buy a second hand playstation - on the understanding that he saved up and bought it himself, but we are fortunate to have a second tv in a room he can use. However he has to be constantly policed as he would spend hours playing rubbish games on it.

It is incredibly hard to 'relate' to something that is so alien to DH and I - to be fair DH does try and play the occasional game with him on it to be sociable.

I recognise that this is my 'problem' and it would be lovely if I could enjoy that sort of activity with my child - perhaps this is one of the down sides of not having a child until I was in my 40s grin. We do try and find the occasional tv programme or film that we all enjoy; I love cards and board games but I can see my DS (now nearly 13) raising his eyebrows when I suggest that sort of activity. Summer is much easier because we all quite sport and enjoy being out and about, DS is in a lot of sports teams etc.

Not really sure what the answer is .......... but looking back I don't think I spent Saturday evenings sitting with my parents, probably I was listening to Radio Luxembourg in my room grin.

Starballbunny Sun 12-Jan-14 08:57:13

I totally agree that limits increase not decrease obsession.

Although I have frequently been heard to say, that's enough SIMs go and play outside.

Fortunately DD2 has got madly into gymnastics and the second it's not raining she's on the trampoline.

hiccupgirl Sun 12-Jan-14 08:59:10

We don't have a Wii, PS3 etc, don't watch X Factor etc either. DH does play some online games, mostly strategy ones like Shogun. Our DS is only 4 so we've not had the moaning about feeling left out yet but he does play some games on the IPad or the PC upstairs.

I don't know what we'll do if/when he wants to have what his friends at school has. I've played various games on X Box live (I think!) at my brother's house and they're fine and fun but didn't make me want to rush out and buy one myself. We tend to read a lot, watch other stuff on the TV and sew/make things in the evenings. Lack of consoles certainly isn't a lack of imagination in this house!

LumpySpacePrincessOhMyGlob Sun 12-Jan-14 09:00:12

Lego City Undercover.

<bites fist>

D0oinMeCleanin Sun 12-Jan-14 09:01:19

StarBall, Sims 3 was the bain of my life for several weeks while dd1 whined "My horse is deformed and it's all your fault. It's your pooter you should have known we needed a better graphics card, waaaaaaailllllllllllllllllllll"

We got a new graphics card. She helped install it. Sims 3 has never been played since angry

MrsDeVere Sun 12-Jan-14 09:01:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DullDullard Sun 12-Jan-14 09:02:09

We have a Wii and PS3. The Wii hardly gets looked at these days tbh.
PS3 is regularly used and we do play Buzz as a family quite often. We even have made our own quizzes for it in the past. The kids loved making their own and it was quite educational. I love Buzz and it often comes out whdn we have family and friends over too.
Dd also has some detective games we have downloaded and we all get involved in those too.
Ot does not have to be all violent shooting games. My 12 & 15yo also love the Little Big Planet games which are harmless fun.
We have never had to lay down strict rules with the PS3 about usage because we choose to keep it in the lounge. The fact you have 1 tv will be to your advantage ig you are worried about overuse.

Ragwort Sun 12-Jan-14 09:05:51

MrsDeVere - a good point about the time spent mumsnetting - I 'judge' adults who play computer games but can happily spend a few hours on mumsnet blush.

ChatNicknameUnavailable Sun 12-Jan-14 09:12:00

Saturday nights recently have been spent with dp and the dcs playing with the fusball table (Xmas present).

There are times when I love having a houseful of boys as they were all totally engaged in it for about 2 hours last night [slopes off with a good book] :D

In terms of consoles, DH has a ps3 which the kids play angry birds on occasionally- probably about once a month. They enjoy it but they're not 'into' it. BUT saying that, they're 5 and I've no doubt consoles will become more popular.

I have a real irrational dislike of ds's. they're designed to be portable and I see kids out and about glued to them constantly, even at the park/soft play etc. I'd much rather they were on the ps3 a couple of nights a week tbh.

livelablove Sun 12-Jan-14 09:12:35

If you are going to allow one type of entertainment based screen time then it is no different to another I would say. I don't think games consoles are that much more addictive than t.v its easy to watch t.v all day if you let yourself, or mumsnet. But I do know people who limit screen time and a few odd ones with only a radio! On Saturday night they would probably have friends round and have a meal together, then chat and maybe listen to music.

MrsDavidBowie Sun 12-Jan-14 09:13:04

We have a Wii and an x box.
Wii is in a box in the loft and will probably never see the light of day again. We got one when ds was about 10.

Ds14 got it the xbox when he was 12. It gets a lot of use at the weekend, but only after homework has been done. He also plays football on Sundays, goes to the gym most days, meets up with friends at Costa.

I have never used any games console in my life...but I use the internet a lot. Agree..good point Mrs DeVere.

Patilla Sun 12-Jan-14 09:16:03

You mentioned the expense and I personally think its entirely reasonable to use that argument with your daughter.

She should be old enough to understand that when she got all the other gadgets that took money.

If the only issue is her not knowing how to play them could you have a quiet word with a friendly adult and ask them to show her so she can join it when at other's houses.

If the issue is bigger and around owning one then I'm afraid that if I didn't want one myself I'd be suggesting a mix of saving and money from presents to buy one at later date. It's an expensive item to suddenly declare a wish for a few weeks after Christmas.

I'd also be making sure she was aware of any limits on usage I'd be intending to make so she knew what the deal was before making the effort to wait for one.

D0oinMeCleanin Sun 12-Jan-14 09:20:53

Price wise, 99% of what tech we own was either bought a second hand but in mint condition or bought as not working due to a specified fault and repaired by us for a fraction of the cost of new and/or working.

There is only dd1's tablet and my phone that is new.

We have a very god relationship with the local second hand electrical shop

Retropear Sun 12-Jan-14 09:27:50

Hmm I worry more re the crappy TV, IPods,DSs and laptop(all of which are kept in my cupboard) than the XBox.Love our XBox.

It is all about parenting NOT technology.

We are a techy family(coder dad) and a bookish one.We lay down rules and the kids keep to them.

I have no screen time what so ever before school.After school they do a small bit of homework/piano practise if set(never more than an hour) and then they get an hour of screen time of their choice(TV which isn't crap,Ipod,XBox(Minecraft,Disney Infinity,Lego Lord of the Rings etc),Raspberry Pi or MacBook to do programming). Said screen time doesn't happen on Brownie/ Cub nights and often not so often during the summer months.

On Sat nights we often have either have a movie night or Xbox game night for an hour or two(Kinnect Adventures, a Sport eg bowling,ski ing etc).Love it and love the XBox as it's more social and active ie we can all join in together.

My kids read a huge amount before school,after and in bed.Sometimes 3 hours a day.They play the piano and adore Lego,SF etc.Having no more than an hour of screens in total means they are often bored and turn to other things.

All devices are kept out of bedrooms and any whining after switch off results in loss of time the next day.

* You* have to enforce rules,lead by example and stick to them however hard.It is not down to the tech itself.

MadeOfStarDust Sun 12-Jan-14 09:28:36

We have a wii - £32 from cash converters with a couple of games and controllers.

we also have a PS3 (full price) the PS3 gets a lot of use as it is also a bluray player.. we play games on it sometimes - usually the lego type..

the wii gets used for more "fun" competitive games - when you have seen granny doing ninja fruit slicing with full vocalisation, you make memories you will never forget.... grin

Retropear Sun 12-Jan-14 09:32:31

Yes seeing my dad rafting was priceless.grin

My parents went home knackered after our last games night.They're seriously thinking of getting an XBox Kinnect to keep fit,they loved

Retropear Sun 12-Jan-14 09:35:27

Checking e-mails on their IPods counts as their hour.

Dc 10,10 and 9.

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