DSM: RE: RE: RE: DSM Video games

From: Liz Reid&Errol Strelnikoff (lizanderrol@home.com)
Date: Mon May 07 2001 - 23:15:40 EDT

> people mind as much that their kids played video games if
> they understood
> the need for play better? Or is it the violence?
> What is SVS' stance on adult control of media's violence?

I think I have a very good understanding for the need for play. I
went to free schools and I was also homeschooled/unschooled back in
the seventies and eighties. My parents always held play as the most
important part of our young lives. I now have two young children aged
four and six and I can observe for myself how much is going on for
them when they are playing with friends and by themselves. I am not
at all anxious for the computer games to start, although I am aware
that they are inevitable.

I feel less than enthusiastic about computer games for a few reasons
and it's hard to describe quite why. First, I think that their
popularity among kids is, like television, somewhat due to the poverty
of the environment available for kids today. Kids are so dependent on
their parents to chauffeur them around to activities and friends'
houses. The neighborhoods full of kids playing outside all day are
few and far between. Our world just seems to have less and less to
offer children.

Second, and I know that people will disagree and I am happy to be
persuaded otherwise, I think of television and computer games as being
like sugar. Sugar is very delicious and I find I have to be aware of
how much of it I am eating or I would have way more than my teeth and
blood sugar think I need. It is one of those things where I am
healthier if it is just not available, but if it's around I consume a
lot. I don't think I am the only person that does this and I notice
that my kids can consume quite a lot of sugar also. They aren't as
bad as some kids and they eat more than others. But when I don't have
a lot of sweet stuff in the house they don't seem to miss it.
Especially if I take some time to make their favorite types of savory

I find that television works a bit like that also. We don't receive
television in our area, so our kids watch it at their grandparents' a
couple times a week. I don't think that my kids will feel deprived
when they are older because they didn't get to watch all the TV that
their peers are getting, but I could be wrong. (My parents dealt with
the problem by taking us on very long trips through the Sahara and
across the Saudi desert, not much by way of TV and sugar out there.
We also seemed to be poor quite often and unable to afford TV. The
biggest hole I notice in my education because of this is that I am
terrible the entertainment section of Trivial Pursuit)

The computer game bug has yet to enter our house but when it does I
shall look very carefully at the social environment my children are
in. If I feel that their access to friends and play is limited then
maybe we shall need to move to a place where they would have better
access. In the mean time I try hard to have plenty of kids in and
around our house as much as possible. I hope, perhaps in vain, that
if the environment is rich enough then computer games won't be their
primary source of play, as it seems to be with some boys.

Anyway, for us the violence is not the issue and neither is the lack
of understanding of play. Rather it is just plain prejudice as to the
nutritional value of sugar, I mean computer games and their
opportunity cost.

I have followed the letters of others on this subject and I am hoping
you are right and I am wrong, as I most certainly am not going to
police my kids.
Liz Reid


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