Why We’re Not Keeping This Video Game Swag

I got to go to an event this week in Dallas where we talked a little about how video games affect kids, specifically girls.

It was interesting to hear, because I played my old school Nintendo from the age of 9-12 nearly every day. Granted I also played outside nearly every day, and I wasn’t vegging in front of a TV for hours on end (ok… maybe I did a few of those days, but I was THIS CLOSE to beating Super Mario, and that shiz was a PRIORITY), but  video games were a big part of that phase of my life. And I honestly think it helped me learn to process information faster, improved my spatial thinking, and kept me challenged. (Interestingly enough, The Cognitive Neuroscience of Video Games listed those among the skills people who play video games develop.)

So, I’m really not opposed to my children playing video games, like everything else, in moderation.

That said, Kendall is not keeping any of these 6 Activision games I came home with.

Nope, not even that cool one with the virtual puppy. (Wappy Dog… it pains me to part with it, it’s so. darn. cute.)

It’s NOT that I didn’t like these games. No! I loved them.

It’s just… he’s a boy… well, it’s not even that. Really, there were quite a few I’m sure he’d enjoy… if he were older, or if he wasn’t so wrapped up in sports.

But, I’m not going to hold onto these 6 really awesome Nintendo DS games that Activision sent me home with just to see if he’d like to play them some day. And as much as I’d like to fantasize that I’d have the time to sit around and play with the adorable Wappy Dog, that ain’t happening. I think my real dogs would riot and eat it since they hardly get enough attention from me as it is.

So, they’re all 6 going to kids who need them much more than my son does. One is going to a girl at Children’s Medical Center, another to a girl whose parents both lost their jobs. One is going to a girl whose mother AND father abandoned her this year and she’s now living with her grandparents. I’m smoothing out the details on the other 3.

(All of the recipients already have a Nintendo DS or are getting one from another toy donation for the holidays)

They’re going to girls who could use a little sunshine in their day, a game to get excited about, a challenge they can conquer. 

Kendall found the bag of games I was trying to hide in our room today.

“MOMMY!! Are those for ME?!”

I tried to explain that they weren’t. That they’re for kids who are in a tough spot right now, that their mommies and daddies need help, and that there are kids who don’t have all the cool toys and sports stuff he has.

I wish I could say it was an after-school-special kind of moment, and that he totally got it after that, but, you know, he’s 3.

It was the beginning of a dialogue I hope to have with him for many years though, about being kind and giving and thinking beyond himself. So maybe the message doesn’t stick today, and maybe he doesn’t really get it for a few years, but it’s a start.

I wish I could send so much more than just games to these girls. I wish I could wrap them up in hugs and high fives with confetti made of self-esteem and awesome.

Have you had conversations with your kids about giving? How did that go? I’d love to hear some tips on how to explain the importance of giving to the really young set.

Kendall is 3.5 years old

Activision gave me the following games: Wappy Dog, Zoobles, ZhuZhu Babies, Squinkies 2, Moshi Monsters Moshling Zoo, Lalaloopsy. I didn’t take any out of the package to play with them, but they all looked pretty cute. This isn’t really a review, but I didn’t get compensated, in case you’re wondering. I do love that I have the opportunity to help out 6 families now, though… so maybe I was compensated in warm fuzzies.