How much tv or video game playing is good for kids?

ScruffyPhoenix asks: How much tv should kids watch? What about Video games?

Well, as I’ve said on other posts here, I don’t think much of TV, since I don’t have good eyesight and it doesn’t smell like anything.  But I’ve seen humans watch it a lot, and get very affected.  Or not!  And that’s the essence of my answer.

One thing I’m really good at is living life to the fullest.  I play hard, I sleep hard, I love barking, I love eating, and I love love love my friends.  Now if you’re going to watch something on TV that thrills you, or teaches you, that’s great.  Maybe there’s a show that makes you double up in laughter, or one that has characters you care about so much they make you cry.  Or maybe you are really interested in history or nature, and fascinated by programs about them.  Maybe there’s a sport you are a huge fan of, and it makes your pulse rate rush to see it played.  Those are all great.  TV is a part of humans’ lives, and it should be embraced as such.  But what breaks my heart is seeing people, especially kids, just sit watching things that don’t mean much to them, because “there’s nothing else on.”

Nothing else on?!  There’s a world out there!   There are people to meet, kids to play with, books to read, songs to hear and sing, games to play, and best of all, dogs to pet!  Sometimes there’s nothing better than something great on TV.  But there’s always something better than something not-great on TV.  You’ve got twice the brain I do!  You can find something else fun and exciting to do, I know it!

Now about video games.  I have to say, I don’t like them at all.  Their sound is loud and harsh, and when my friends play them, they forget I’m in the room.  But they sure have fun with them.  And some experts say that they’re actually healthy for kids’ brains, teaching them to think and make decisions more quickly (In particular, the ones that use the whole body, and not just thumbs, are said to be great for brain development).  So I’m not going to say video games are bad.  But I do think parents should ration them.

Video games can be really addictive, and if parents allow it, a kid will spend the whole day playing them.  And next thing you know, that kid’s childhood is gone, and all they remember is Mario Brothers and Halo!  So parents, keep it under control.  Whatever you feel is right – maybe two hours a day, maybe one?  You wouldn’t let your kid eat nothing but Twinkies, so don’t let them spend their lives on these games.

Again, as I said, I don’t care for them much anyway.  But if there was a “World of Dogfights” game, and I somehow had opposable thumbs, maybe I’d get into it.  Maybe so wrapped up that I’d forget the passing of time and just play it and play it and play it…  And then, if Handsome came along and told me I had to go outside and play catch with him instead, I’d complain for a while.  But deep down, I’d appreciate it.

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