My child has always been a kid who would rather run around outside pretending to put out fires on a playground or to play spy around the neighborhood than sit inside. He has always reserved his indoor play to his precious Lego pretend play time or to work with playdough or to do games on his iPad. Until the Lego Wii games came into our house...
We received our dud of a Wii U back in the mail the other day. It is now all set up and playable. We only have one new game that's Wii U specific. Tanks! Tanks! Tanks! Basically, you go around saving the city by shooting down mechanical monsters in your tank. You can work as a team, or you can go into a training ground and fight against one another (again, you can do it by yourself with the computer or in teams).
And on Saturday, I realized while I was washing walls and marking them with painter's tape, that X-man was spending too much time this vacation in front of a screen. What's the difference between the Wii and his iPad. Well, honestly, when he plays the iPad he often plays educational games. It's hard to argue when a kid spends 45 minutes doing a Ms. Frizzle Magic School Bus book or when he's working on spelling words in a spelling game or when he's fitting tangrams into a design in a math game.
The video game situation was becoming obsessive, so I imposed time restrictions. At first he was really upset. But today, he is actually planning out his time. He ran down the street to see if his friend could come over and play. He had to go get a haircut first, but when he was done, he'd be down. X-man is excited to have him come over and play the Wii U, so he's saving all of his Wii U time for when the friend is here.
In addition, he's excited about giving his Wii to Awesome. Once we got all the files from the other games transferred over, he felt it was safe to separate with the old console. So we'll be getting that ready, too.
I can't really say that the obsession is any different than when my parents first got us an Atari when I was six. I'm pretty sure I spent hours after hours playing Ms. Pac-Man, River Raid, Frogger and Centipede. None of that was educational, either. That's what our Commodore 64 was for.
:-) I totally just dated myself. And that's okay!