There’s no point in arguing about it: kids love technology. And they’re good at it. This generation, the so-called digital natives, seem to respond instinctively to gadgets and gizmos and touch screens.
And while everyone agrees that parents need to monitor how much time their kids spend glued to screens (two hours a day is the recommended maximum for six to 12-year-olds), kids can learn to monitor their usage, too. One way to develop that self-regulation is to allow your child to have his or her own gaming device, instead of handing over your smart phone or tablet when they want to play games.
Here are some hidden benefits to that strategy:
When your child has his or her own device, it’s easier to make game playing intentional and set up times for usage. For instance, when you establish a game “hour” you can stop handing over your smart phone or tablet as a way to kill idle minutes in the car or grocery store. Also, no more greasy finger smudges on your screen!
You can better limit your kids’ access to the Internet when they’re playing on a device built especially for them. The New Nintendo 3DS XL has built-in parent blocks that ensure your kids are only going online within a protected space. There is a huge assortment of safe and fun games, even games from previous versions of the Nintendo 3DS family will work on the new systems.
Being in charge of a gaming device is an opportunity to teach kids responsibility for a special toy BEFORE they graduate to using a cell phone. It’s also a much more affordable option than a smart phone or tablet. Why pay for more options than you really need?
Speaking of affordability, the lower price point of a gaming device – especially the Nintendo 2DS – makes it something that your kids could reasonably buy with allowance or birthday money or even save up for over the course of a few months. When kids put up all or some of the money for something, they are more invested and learn to start taking care of things.
If your child likes playing video games, this is a great way to support their interest and ability and build their own self-confidence. Get them to show you how well they play and ask them why they like it. Their enthusiasm may be infectious!