|Child With Laptop by Alan Toniolo de Carvalho|
I love gaming. Not on my Wii, or XBox - or even on Facebook; no, my guilty pleasure is computer games. I enjoy getting on my PC and logging in hours of entertainment bossing around my Sims, taking over continents, or saving the world from fantastical monsters. What ever it may be, if I am not careful I could spend hours in one sitting just playing a game. My poison of choice tends to be simulation style games such as; The Sims, SimCity, and Civilization. But – by far – my heart lies in Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) games, mixed with my other favorite: Roleplaying Games (RPG). These are those games you hear wives leaving their husbands about. EverQuest, Star Wars Galaxies, Rift, and so on. While I haven’t played them all, I have played a few. Generally I will pick one I enjoy and stay with that game for years. I started with EverQuest (Online Adventures and 2) and am now currently play Rift.
So what has this got to do with raising my daughter?
Think about what Dr. Phil says – and this is not a direct quote – that a mother is a girl’s model for behavior. This is presenting itself now more than ever … in my daughter’s choice or behavior. We have been a 1 computer household for a couple of years, and this has been fine – for the most part. In the past year or so, computer time has now become a bargaining chip between my daughter and me. It has become so prevalent that I have considered purchasing another computer – but I hesitate. It is hard enough for me to control my own gaming impulses, would I now be expected to also control hers? Well – yeah! I am the parent! Having the one computer enables me to control both her and myself. So – for now we have settled into scheduling out gaming time. I usually get after 8pm, if I am not finishing up something I was working on earlier that day, and she gets 6pm-8pm. Of course all of this is contingent on us having our chores done, including homework. I say ‘us’ because I would not be setting a very good example if I shirked my duties to play my games. I have done it – it isn’t pretty!
The trick comes during vacations. Since I work at home, I am by extension also considered a SAHM. A moniker I have worn proudly more than once, but with my refocusing on content writing – well – I am certainly working more than I am not! So, the renegotiation process begins with my daughter. She has to spend so much time outside playing, and so much time reading before she can even consider playing. I have to make sure I get the day-to-day upkeep of the home taken care of. Back and forth it goes until we have it hammered out. She is now officially in her ‘tween’ years, and I am still not comfortable with her having her own computer (mama knows what is out there) but I think the time is coming soon. Do any of you have children with their own computers? If so, are they in their rooms? Or do you keep them in a community area (like the dining room, or the living room)? How old were they when you decided to get a computer just for them? I am thinking I have about 2 years before it becomes a need – as she is eight and in the middle of second grade. What do you think? What ground rules would you set down?