It's sort of amazing to add up the number of electronic devices that power up the average Basking Ridge kid/young adult. It's not just video games, but also iPods, laptops and desktops, Kindle, cell phones..and whatever else may be on the list.
While some of those gadgets may be useful (even essential for educational purposes), when is it time to turn them off?
Especially video games. Today's Mom's Talk Q & A (also for dads, grandparents and empty nesters) is, "At what point do you turn off the video game?"
After a few hours? When the weather gets better? When a bunch of kids are fighting over the controller(s)? When it becomes a distraction from more important things, such as bedtime and homework?
And where do you draw the line in choosing which is better, say, an iPod or a Wii? How about that stupid game built into a cell phone? Is that at least more benign than "Call of Duty: Black Ops?"
As some of you may recall, the mom's talk question last week, Do Ridge High School Diplomas Get Students Into the College of Their Choice? was inspired by my trip down to see my older son (a Ridge graduate) at the College of Charleston.
So is this one — in a different way.
For this trip, getting from New Jersey to Charleston, S.C. took about 27 hours of solid driving. That requires some serious pre-planning for youthful passengers. My back seat was occupied by a 14-year-old carrying, among other things, an iPod, cell phone, homework, both on worksheets and online (long drives can be a great way to enforce homework time — see Today's Mom's Subject, How Do You Get That Kid to Do Homework?) and last, but not least, a seldom-used PlayStation Portable.
Hey, I didn't buy the thing, but it seemed to be a good idea to bring along when we were driving away from home. It even seemed okay as a distraction after getting in some homework and a few hours spent plugged into an iPod. However, when the game got frustrating, the wailing and groaning began.
So to answer my own question of when it was time to get rid of the video game, the answer is: Virginia, from either direction.
Eventually, I had to pull over at a rest stop on Route 95 and insist that MORE homework be done before play could resume.
Interestingly, during our other mom's talk last week, one mother observed that her daughter buried her nose in reading a Kindle as soon as she got in the car, thus avoiding conversation. I wonder — would it seem less objectionable if she were caught up in a real book?
Please join the conversation, and comment in the comments section at the end of this article, or in the comments section on the home page of the Basking Ridge Patch.