Stay Cool Dad


Taking control by Simon Sharwood
July 1, 2007, 3:43 am
Filed under: Family, Games

The boy has never been one of those kids that get precocious with remote controls. So if the channel needs changing or the DVD needs a bunt onto a different chapter, parents scuttle about our house to help them out.

But the Wii is changing this.

The boy can turn it on, get the TV onto the right channel, start a game and do all that’s needed to get it rolling.

Clearly, Wii is more of an incentive to learn this behaviour than silly old television ever was.

It has not, however, sparked poor behaviour. Both kids have been pretty good about having it turned off. And there is also a slow but noticeable improvement in motor skills.

And when he hit his first home run in baseball today (broken arm and all), it was a very fine occasion!

All in all, a pretty good result so far, especially as his favorite passive media right now is rather violent and sees a lot of shouting and punching.

I understand that is normal. But it is also obnoxious to deal with all day …



The big test by Simon Sharwood
June 12, 2007, 4:42 am
Filed under: Family, Games, Mission statement

Well … we have a new games console. A Nintendo Wii.

Here’s what I hope it does for us.

In recent weeks I have been pleased that the kids have, by and large, been getting positive things out of media.

Sure theĀ  super hero stuff sets up some play based on conflict, but I do not see it as influencing their behaviour other than in a few villainous roars. They are not always great, but there is not actual violence, just posturing that can come from the goodies AND the baddies.

A lot of the time, however, they have learned new things and encountered material that has challenged them. Not always. But as we learn to steer clear of the more brainless stuff out there, the kids seem to do alright on their diet of Pixar and UK-produced drama. (Although I am dirty that they are both too young for The Roman Mysteries) And even newspapers have come in handy lately. It is astounding how much dinosaur news makes the papers, while a piece about Tasmanian Aboriginals eating Wombat brains went down a treat.

Which bringsĀ  us to the Wii.

The boy has, of late, been playing a simple game called Miner Max that is more about resource allocation than violence. He’s fascinated by the possibilities even if he cares little for the outcome.

For me, that’s the trick with how we set up their expectations for Wii. It’s got to be about exploration, not domination.

It will be interesting to see how we go.