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What age should I introduce my daughter to video games?

Posted: August 6th, 2019, 8:53 am
by ActRaiser
Okay, as much of a video game nut as I am, I've yet to introduce home video games to my daughter.

If we see an arcade somewhere I let her have at it. She had a blast playing sit down arcade racers or at least pretending to.

But, I don't want her to only want to play games and not do anything else. She's 3 and a half years old.

So far she hasn't seen me play games in the house and only knows of the Xbox controller as her way to get to Amazon Video to watch Disney movies.

As far as consoles and choices the options are going to be pretty unlimited for the most part. Should we try with the Atari 2600 or NES first? Or maybe a Lego game? Or, should we wait a bit longer. I don't think she'll be all that good using a modern controller.

What have you guys done to share video games with your kids?

Re: What age should I introduce my daughter to video games?

Posted: August 7th, 2019, 6:21 pm
by JWK
I’m perhaps a little qualified to answer this, as I have a boy and a girl ages 10 and 9, respectively. I don’t see this as really any different than any other medium, to be honest. When I was a young parent, people were still really into Baby Einstein videos. Yet all the research I’ve looked at doesn’t make a good case for improving your infant’s thinking. In fact, it’s more likely to addict babies to TV. Pads, phones, tablets? Same thing. There’s certainly some crossover between TV/movies/YouTube and video games on those iDevices, but my experience is that my kids were far more interested in watching Disney movies and cartoons than video games at ages 4 and 5. We were just worried that ANY type of media consumption could become addictive and so we put a cap on most of those things.

While my son only moderately enjoys video games, my 9 year old daughter loves them. Mostly retro games; Mario Kart, Kirby, the Mickey Mouse “Illusion” series. I think the good thing about it is she’s mostly interested in playing cooperative multiplayer games with me. She absolutely loves World of Illusion (Genesis) where we can play together as Mickey and Donald. I believe it ends up being better time spent together than watching a movie or TV show. The key is moderation in all things. Could your daughter become hopelessly addicted to games? Sure. But I’m sure you have a good idea of what behavior of hers should cause the red flags to go up at this point. If you need to hard cap it at “30 minutes a day... after homework” in a few years— my wife and I have done that on more than one occasion— I see no problem with that. I wouldn’t be too worried about it getting out of control before she’s introduced to them. Video games are in your life, so they’re likely to be in hers, too.

As for the starting system, I’m old school. If I learned on an NES, then so will they! I’m joking (kind of), but honestly a controller with two buttons is a pretty good way to be introduced. And so many of the games are easy to understand, it’s a great starting point.

Re: What age should I introduce my daughter to video games?

Posted: August 7th, 2019, 8:52 pm
by Voor
I personally think 5-6 is better for a kids development. Before that, they are still working with things and objects concretely, so to do something abstract like a video game in the middle of that is not ideal. It’s a bit different than TV because the player is directly manipulating/playing, as opposed to just viewing.

I’d recommend New Mario Wii. 2 buttons, and better than the old school ones in that you can play along with them at the same time. Plus, if there’s a tricky part, there’s a button they can press to just view the action.

Another one I thought of is Turtles in Time, because they pretty much just goof around while you action play. Lol

***and don’t get me started on tablets/IPads. Too many lazy parents shove those things in front of their babies and toddlers every time they whine or fuss or even get bored. Ugh.

Re: What age should I introduce my daughter to video games?

Posted: August 8th, 2019, 10:32 am
by ActRaiser
Thanks for the tips and suggestions. I really appreciate it. It also sounds like waiting a bit longer is the right approach.