Aloha Friday - the Verdict on Videogames

About Aloha Friday: Aloha Friday is a fun, simple meme from Kailani at An Island Life. Every Friday she asks a simple question on her blog, invites participants to answer her question in the comments section, then invites participants to ask a question of their own on their own blogs. Every day feels like a summer Friday over in Hawaii, so I'm making Aloha Friday one of my summer blogging goals -- to join the meme every Friday until school starts!

This week I began a six-week series of posts as part of Sony's PSP Summer Family Fun blogger program. I'll be blogging about how video gaming (and the PSP in particular) is (or isn't) becoming a part of our summer lifestyle. Since I'm also making it a goal to post an Ahola Friday meme every week this summer, I thought it might be fun to combine some of my PSP posts with my Aloha Friday questions (or infuse some of my Aloha Friday questions with PSP / video gaming themes, however you want to look at it). I'd also love to know how video games are (or aren't) a part of your family's entertainment.

Today's Aloha Friday Question: How do you feel about kids and videogames?

I've blogged at length about my constant struggle with this question. I swore I'd never let my kids sit in front of a videogame console all day long.

Well, that's like me swearing I'd never let my kids eat at McDonalds. Or eat candy as a snack. Or watch tv with (gasp!) commercials. Or all those other things I swore I'd never let my kids do -- before I actually had kids.

Needless to say, I've lightened up. I've learned that not all videogames are bad and violent. Some are actually educational -- for example, you can get Scrabble, Uno, and chess for the PSP. And they're a GREAT way for kids to pass the time in the car or on an airplane. Yes, I do see that it's all too easy for kids to get stuck in front of a videogame screen. But I like to think I'm the parent and I can be in control. We don't do violent videogames, we set limits on videogame use, I try to ensure they engage in physical, literary and creative activities. And they always put their consoles down when I ask them to.

Besides, these devices are not just videogames anymore; the PSP lets you watch movies and listen to music in addition to playing games. Music doesn't count -- I remember listening to my Sony Walkman day and night (boy did I think I was cool) and I don't have any problem with having my daughter plug into her PSP to listen to her favorite tunes all day long (as long as she can still hear me when I yell for her).

What do you think? Are videogames the Devil Incarnate or a Godsend? Any comment you leave here counts as an extra entry into my $50 PlayStation Network gift card giveaway!

Disclosure: I am participating in Sony's PSP Summer Family Fun blogger program; I received a "Summer Fun" kit which included a Sony Playstation Portable (PSP-3000) , an assortment of content (games and movies) for the PSP, as well as a journal and videocamera to capture our summer adventures. I have not been paid or required to review the product or give my opinions. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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