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To protect and serve and get you to put down the controller

Submitted by on Wednesday, 23 December 2009 No Comment

video_game copyAngela Mejia had had it.

Her 14-year-old son had been camped at his PlayStation for hours. When the dulcet tones of “Grand Theft Auto” – that a junior high kid was playing that game to begin with brings out my ugly, judgmental side – awoke her in the wee hours, she tried to unplug the game system. Not succeeding, she called the police.

Officers showed up at her suburban Boston home and talked the kid into turning off the game and going to sleep. All of this at 2:30 in the morning on a Saturday. With those types of negotiating skills, I bet the Roxbury department is great in hostage situations.

And talk about a public service – these folks are right up there with the 911 dispatcher who gave a kid a hand with his math homework a few years back. I’m still not sure this one really happened. That sounds like awfully advanced math for a 4-year-old, even in this climate.

The local media tried to spin the Boston mom’s woes into something it wasn’t – a cautionary tale about a generation gone wrong.

“Mejia is among thousands of parents struggling with today‚Äôs video-game obsessed youth,” the Boston Herald segued.

That’s a true enough statement on its face, and one that has me concerned about even allowing a gaming system in the house. Once upon a time, I’d said “absolutely not.” I’ve evolved, and the guys are getting a system for Christmas.

And, yes, I’m struggling to come up with reasonable guidelines for its use, while realizing that any sentence that includes the words “rules” or “limits” automatically puts Big Guy’s back up.

At minimum, they’re going to know that they have to do their homework and tidy their rooms before the gaming starts – it’s the same rule we already have for watching television. I’ll be clear that there’s going to come a time to turn the game off, get their stinky butts out of their pajamas and outside.

And, yes, there will be a bedtime, and the first time someone refuses the entire system will fly out the window – the upstairs one, so I make sure it’s smashed to bits. I’ll save the 911 calls for matters more urgent than getting the guys to turn off the TV.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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