These days our children can’t imagine world without cellphones, smartphones, tablets, laptops and internet. They dive onto digital part of world and as a parents we most often even don’t fully realize what they do there. There is no one and clear solution what to do with this topic. It seems to be much more complicated issue than it appears at the beginning.
Mine family example is based on a game called “KoGaMa”. Children started to use it about year ago, maybe a little bit more. I can’t explain from where they know about this game. Most probably the older one (11) brought this from school. Anyway, it addicted also the younger one (6) at very short time.
Do we have a problem or not?
At first, me and my wife were a little bit confused about what to do. Both brothers spent all the time playing in KoGaMa. They could play as long as possible, without remember to eat or go pee. We have even observed typical aggression behaviors that are result of too much time spent at playing. Decision was to forbid children to play KoGaMa. They were allowed to play all other games, but not this one. After a month of serenity, we have agreed them to play for a maximum hour per day. Sometimes they are allowed to play longer, however there is a clear border. Those one who will first react with any type of aggression, will break a game session for this day. Fortunately, they began to control themself.
Next problem appeared while switching their phones from Android to iPhones. They started to complain that new phones are not cool and that old one were better. How better? What was better? What is wrong with your brand new iPhones? Hm… there is no KoGaMa in there. It was first time when I understood that even disallowing them playing KoGaMa at laptops will not cut them off from this game. They still continue their play, but at phones. In the period of lock, mine sons still played this game and we didn’t even realized about that.
Look! Such a stupid game, and how it develops the imagination
After fighting with gaming passion, we started to look a little bit on what they do there. At first they had to understand that virtual world is not the same as real world. Shooting and other violence that are in-game are not allowed in real world. We can’t forbid them to shoot in this game or to make some virtual wars, but we can push them into right direction. Once upon a time we heard that they are not only making wars, but that they are also building objects, tanks, humanoids – just like in Lego. They even started to do some economy in there, to buy gold or whatever else there is. They build objects and sell them somewhere there in the market. One time, the younger one came to me and told: “look, I have made our car in KoGaMa, now I can sell it”.
Don’t control and let them evolve
As a parent I’m not able to control mine children or disallow them anything. I remember myself as a child and how much I have contrive to achieve goal. If we forbid them totally to play, they will anyway find a way to do that. Better is to make some borders and to forward them into right direction of playing method.
While writing this short post, I have found section For Parents on developers page. I don’t fully know what mine children are doing there in virtual world. Maybe I don’t want to know. However as a person strongly related with software industry and as a parent, I can most probably confirm this what is written in there.