**First of all, thanks to everyone who left me a comment letting me know you actually return! Mostly everyone I know, but there were a couple of surprises, and there are still some others I know read but haven't been here since I last posted, or just haven't commented. For those of you just seeing this, in my last post, I asked if those of you who read fairly often (well, as often as I get around to posting, anyway :o) would leave a comment, just so I can know. But also to let me know of what you would like to read about. Would shorter, more frequent posts on daily life be good, or do you like the novels? Some of both? I'm just curious, it's not a huge deal, but I would like to blog more often, it just seems to take me forever when I get around to it.
So if you're just reading this, I would love it if you'd leave me a comment!**
Back to the point. Digital addiction. I have this article I've been saving since last October from Focus on the Family. I saved it at the time as I wanted to blog about it, but, well, you know how that goes. I actually have an entire file folder in my desk of stuff I would like to write about. Maybe one day...you know, when I don't have any diapers to change or sandwiches to make, or laundry to do, or floors to clean, or dishes to wash, or noses to wipe, or planes to fly ( ha ha, just seeing if you were paying attention).
Anyway, I'm re-visiting the topic as it's come up again in our house. Last year, at this time, Caleb had received a game boy for his birthday. Game Boy fever quickly swept the household, complete with glazed eyes, brain fog, and rising temperatures due to
fist fights disagreements over whose turn it was. Considering this Momma had just given birth and was in a bit of a brain fog herself, she I let it get a little out of hand.
Now, I'm not totally clueless. I had a whole system set up complete with color coded clothespins that they could redeem for their "turns" which were I think four 15-minute turns. A lot, I know, but again, I had a new baby and was in let's-hold-everything-together-as-long-as-everyone-gets-fed-semi-regularly-we're-doing-pretty-good mode. Well, those 15 minute turns actually looked like everyone either taking their turn, arguing and deciding who went next, watching the person taking his or her turn, and arguing over if turns had been taken before Mom got up and if the timer had truly been set when the offender began said turn. Ahhh! Game Boy Brain had consumed my children. My fun boxcar children-playing, fort-building, tree-climbing, sprinkler-loving children had been taken hostage by Mario and Luigi. I had to rescue them. span>
At first I tried limiting the turns and requiring outside playtime. I literally ended up with five children on my front porch, faces pressed against the window asking how much longer until they could come in. "There's nothing to do out here!," they cried. "It's hot, we're bored, how much longer?" Even Noah, who was almost two was consumed. Did you know two and three year-olds can master Super Mario?
This lasted maybe a month or six weeks. We finally said NO MORE GAMEBOY. Period. No video games. Nothing. I even packed up the computer. (We won't talk about the Webkinz craze that swept the Hutchison household.) Caleb sold it, was quite impressed with the $70 he made off ebay, and suddenly, my children were back.
Fast forward a few months. I received my Focus on the Family Magazine that had an article about protecting your children from video-game addiction. A ha! My suspicions confirmed. Something had taken over their brains.
I won't get into the details, but suffice it to say, that video game addiction is a real disorder. Research has shown that physiological reactions occur in the brain that are similiar to those associated with substance abuse. Just thirty minutes of video game play triggers chemicals in the brain that rival an amphetamine high. Something known as "habituation" takes over that literally rewires the brain and creates a physiological dependance similiar to cocain addiction! The Netherlands recently opened a detox center for video game addicts!
Newly armed with this knowledge, the newly determined and steadfast mom proudly proclaims "no longer will video games be allowed in this house." And the line is drawn. Then, over the following year, the line becomes somewhat fuzzy. The computer comes back out. After all, we live in a computer dependant society that only increases that dependance every day. We are google addicts. (Has anyone studied blogging addiction ...hmmmm?). We are still firmly against video games, but you know, that wii incorporates exercise. All my friends get to play! (Insert "if all your friends jumped off a cliff would you?" Snotty 8 year old says "Yes, that would be super cool!")
What's a Mom to do? The computer definitely has some benefits. It's pretty much at the point where computers are a necessary life skill (anyone have any opinions on learning handwriting skills vs typing?). So for this summer anyway, they can have two "fun" computer turns a day of 15 minute each (but that is one of the first privileges to go around here) and for now I'm letting Anna and Caleb write on their blogs as much as they want. For now.
Ugh. Maybe by the time I have my millionth baby I will have navigated these parenting waters. Of course by then people will look at laptops and laugh because we'll all have computers implanted in our brains.
Time for bed. Gotta make sure I'm up in time to make sure there are no computer-time infringers :o)