GPs brought son (7yrs) a Nintendo DS for Christmas - against our wish - I hate the thing, we're a very low screen time family. children do watch tv etc but minimum amount. He loves it and I don't want to take it away completely, but when he's playing it he is so immersed and ignores rest of world completely. Is 30mins on it a day ok? - I'm hoping by not taking it away completely he'll tire of it.
We did 30 mins a day, but he could save it up for the weekend. I didn't mind mine playing on it as the6 had literacy problems and actually had to read the instructions on screen to progress with the game.
Video games and TV aren’t directly comparable. TV is almost entirely passive, especially at a young age when watching TV requires very little thinking (as opposed to some TV for older viewers that requires concentration to follow a complex storyline).
Video games are more interactive and requires action from the user. I’m not saying they’re brilliant and I think any form of screen time isn’t ideal but it’s part of modern life.
I don’t think 30 mins is an issue and could even be upped a bit. Two lots of 30 minutes a day even? It’s still hours less than the average child would be doing.
I'm a bit laid-back about this kind of thing; the DCs do lots of sport through the week and know that if they're asking for gaming time they'd better make sure their homework and study is done (including music practise for DS1). If those things are done I let them get on with it.
I don't know about other families but the more I limit stuff like that with the DCs the more they bang on about it. Loosening the reins means they often go a week with no gaming because they know it's there when they want to rather than being forbidden.
An ipad is worse if anything. At least with a DS you have to actually participate and the games have some depth and you are playing one game for a longer time. iPads encourage flitting from one thing to another.