questionshandheld games for kids - good or bad?


I'm a weirdo loser who grew up with a gameboy,gameboy color, sega gamegear, etc.. so I'm mess up and I also don't have any children of my own.

So ignore my rambling. But if you feel like wasting your time reading...

I don't think they miss out at all. Sure they might want to stay in and play. But there are games that try to get kids to go out. Most notably is Pokemon (soul silver and heart gold)

But also you have to take each child's individual personality into count. Not everyone wants to be on a little league team or some other such outdoor activity.

I say provide them with an option to play, read, go oustide, etc.. Let them grow if they want to do nothing but play games. It's not like all games are bad just don't get every new grandtheft auto.

Worst thing you can do is try to force someone to do something. My favorite quote from one of my favorite writers is this. "My father leo for never once telling me to read but reading himself and thus infecting me with curiosity"


@dravack: I say let them grow and develop as they wish. Just provide a light guiding hand.. as difficult as that might be. lol.

Last rambling example.. is myself while I played inside most of the time as younger i still go out and play some outside games such as paint ball and I love to cook and tell long rambling stories to get to a very short and simple point. =P

Point is no mater how much you try to force them they will be who they want to be in the end. Just provide them the opportunity to grow and flourish into that person. Their kids let them enjoy it (they won't be young forever). But try to get some games with education in there with games like my Spanish coach, cooking mama, or something!

Last thing this world needs is more grand theft auto and halo players >.>

Please note: it is 3:35 am and I have yet to sleep. So yeah please ignore the rambling of this old/young coot! runs off to watch the doctor Feel free to request admin delete if you feel this doesn't add to topic


@dravack: Thanks for your response and I don't think you are rambling at all - I think you make valid points. I had a Gameboy too! lol. I just do not remember being on it 24/7 like I see some kids (but then again, I was the kids who was playing... and 30 minutes turned into an hour.. and an hour turned into.. well, you know how it goes). Sometimes I just feel as though parents give their kids things like that to keep them out of their way- but then again if a person is that type of parent, they will always find something whether it be a handheld game, pop them in front of the TV, etc.

Now I feel as though I am rambling... haha. Just wanted to ask because I have just really started noticing a lot of children with their noses stuck in a game when they should probably be paying attention to their surroundings. Thanks again for your view.

PS:I had never heard that quote: "My father leo for never once telling me to read but reading himself and thus infecting me with curiosity"-Its Great!


@discountlingeriedeals: It's from the book dedication of Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind. ^^ Not a bad read though it does have a few um.. for lack of a better word kinky parts in it. Not much detail on the parts but enough.
ABC recently did a tv series on it called Legend of the Seeker. Book is 10x better though.

I get your point about the kids though. I have a couple nephews it seems thats all they do half the time. But they do get out some while home and I know a good bit at school being one in first and the other in fourth grade they still get recess.

Just remember your child's number one role model is you. No matter how much the angry teenager admits it we all seek approval in the eyes of elders at least at some point or another. So as the quote implies inspire them to do something great such as reading or cooking or whatever hobby.


@discountlingeriedeals: i grew up as an only child with a father obsessed with tech things. So when they bought me a Gameboy (the old gray one w/a green screen) for my birthday, my dad got one too. The negative was him kicking my butt to often, but the positive was that it was something we did together - you could connect the cords and play certain games against each other. If we weren't playing together, I was only allowed to play with the Gameboy for 2 reasons: 1) car trip, long wait for Doctors visit, the kind of thing where it helps mom to keep me entertained. 2) I had been very good for a set amount of time and was allowed a few hours on a weekend to play with it at will.

As you might imagine, rules like this were similar for other things in our home, but not for everything. Within a few years of these rules, it had become habit for me to make sure I didn't spend my time obsessing over any one thing. (stupid character limit)


On a weekend that wasn't taken over by other pursuits (soccer and gymnastics were my favorites as a kid), I might split my time between the Gameboy, watching a movie, reading a book, playing with toys, going to a friend's house, etc. And I'm not talking about the ADHD jumping from one thing to the next after 5 minutes - Just that I learned to shorten the time I spent with things like video games/TV and focus more on things that keep my brain working and/or involve human interaction.

That being said, I kind of hate most people now, so take that as you will ;)


@smtatertot13: lol - yeah, but what you talk of is a well rounded person. I am talking about the equivalent to kids with cell phones and texting I guess. Example: bringing it to the dinner table and burying themselves in it. I just think there are lines that have been crossed such as that. If I would have ever brought something like that to the dinner table growing up - my mom would have chewed me up and spit me out to say the least lol.


my 4 yo kid loves Mario Kart for DS and we play together a lot.

the reason kids used to go out in the sun and play was because they did not have Mario Kart DS.

Plus its february - dont ask about going out to play in the sun.

Also, make sure to get more than one DS. (and a couple of R4s, but haha!)

Plus your kid will not grow up to be a serial killer, calm down.


I think it depends on the game. My 8 y/old has this:

It is QUITE an amazing game for kids, and good fun on road trips trying to solve the puzzles by spelling words.


As long as the kids aren't playing with discount lingerie, it's all good.


+1 for scribblenauts. Even if your kids is too young to write, it's amazing for them to see that letters make words and words are actual things. and you can summon nearly any object in existence for them.


[sigh] Gameboy was released in the US in the fall of 1989, and I bought one a couple of months later. I was in my early 40's, so I don't think I can easily talk about the effects of hand-held games on kids, but I loved my Gameboy. I did a fair amount of business travel in those days, so Tetris became my drug of choice while I was trapped in airport waiting rooms. I was also a kid-magnet; they seemed astonished to see a grown-up totally focused on the new toy on the block.

Even after hours and hours and hours of Tetris (and one missed flight), I pretty much turned out okay. Make sure the kids remember to eat now and then, throw them into a shower when necessary, and make sure they have something soft to land on if they fall asleep sitting up. They'll be fine.


The 3DS will melt a child's brain. Supposedly.


I don't know if an iPod touch is considered a hand held game but my 4 year old pal can handle one fairly well. She enjoys a drawing app complete with layers, changeable media/brushtips. I also have a bowling type app (StrikeKnight) that's fun.

We do play learning, motor skill,and logic type games on the desktop. We also spend a lot of time outside - even in February. Sledding is great fun and exercise, you have to climb back up the hill.

Handheld games are a good thing, they just shouldn't become a child's best friend or babysitter.


It is a fact, for our family, that our 9 y/o son gets better grades when he is allowed to play his DS in moderation each day. I believe that it actually sharpens his mind, focus and attention span. I discovered this when I decided to punish him (for not listening) by taking the DS away on school days, limiting his play to a few hours on weekends. Over this time we noticed his grades slipped slightly. Once he was back on the DS, the grades went back up to normal. He is a slim, fit and healthy kid who happens to love playing outside also.


Like everything..bad food, watching tv, even exercise and time in the sun, playing games just has to be in balance and moderation with everything else.

If you have a kid that sits inside packing on extra pounds staring at a 2 inch screen all day, you've got a problem and you're only hurting him. No reason why he can't play a sport or do Karate for an hour each night and still get time on the couch playing games.

@mspam looks like you're falling into a bit of a correlation fallacy. Playing games aren't making him smarter or more attentive, they're probably making him happy and taking it away probably makes him annoyed. There are a couple games out there that have been shown to increase memory (brain age, etc), but those are specifically designed to do that, and they aren't the games kids typically play.


@dravack: Thanks- I will have to check that book out- love to read. And yes, parents are the #1 role model definitely.


@wingnutzero: hardy har har :) Very true though! My child never sees any lingerie or any items like that - as that is business and we do not bring that home with us.


@xdavex: That is exactly how I feel about them.

@josefresno: That does seem like a great game.


Times always change. I am sure marbles were looked at the same way as handheld games when they first came out.


Nothing wrong with the games - unless kids don't learn that there really is life without a screen AND they need to learn being exposed to some of that violence/sex at too early a period ain't good.


My 8yo daughter has a Nintendo DS, the 5yo daughter a Leapster, they each rec'd an iPod Touch (refurbished) for Christmas. In moderation it's all good. They do so many other things that I'm not worried about too much time spent playing games. They are a LIFESAVER for long trips, casual but slow restaurants, when I need to work but it's 8 degrees and snowing outside, etc.

There are lots of educational games out there to help mitigate some of the brainlessness of games, but they really enjoy the non-educational ones, too. I'm kindof a nerd so too much of their stuff is practical or educational - they need the silly stuff, too.

I keep control of the chargers :) So even if they sneak off with a game, when it runs out it's dead until I charge it.


@hstergius: "I keep control of the chargers :) So even if they sneak off with a game, when it runs out it's dead until I charge it."

Best parental child-control comment of the week! And it made me laugh loudly enough to elicit a glare from a startled dog!


@hstergius: Nice! Never thought of snatching up the chargers. Guess that is a big plus about having electronics! Everything seems to comes with a charger or batteries nowadays so that is a GREAT method. Thanks for the tip!


I hate to say it 'cause it's so cliche, but, everything in moderation....
Today's kids will be left behind if they are not aware and savvy of the current technologies. However family-time should never be neglected in favor of solitary pleasures.


I definitely think that kids should get time to play outside - everyone needs vitamin D, fresh air and exercise. With that being said, I have purchased the Leapfrog DIDJ handheld gaming system (from woot) for my younger nieces and nephews. At least they are learning something while playing the games. I have had to order the games for them through amazon as they are hard to find any where else but the kids really seem to like them. Some of them also have the Nintendo DS but at least they can mix it up that way.


If you are a typical modern parent, portable games are pretty much a must-have for your kid. If you refuse to let them leave the house in the morning and not come back until dinner (and you DO NOT go with them), then the kid is going to need some way to keep stimulated. Parents think kids are overly addicted to videogames, but they never stop to realize that they are the ones preventing the kid from ever actually being able to play. If you'd let the kids play unsupervised, they'd be outside all the time. But since most parents are nearly clinically paranoid (despite the fact crime rates have been falling for 20 years and are nearing levels not seen since the 1940s) and not emotionally mature enough to handle the concept of their child as an independent human being, kids need the escape of videogames (or books or movies or whatever, all media is the same) to at least IMAGINE being a human being.