Should we buy a Wii for our children for Christmas?
I have deep misgivings about getting one, yet I don’t want my 6-year-old son to be the only one in the neighborhood who can’t throw a football AND who doesn’t get to play video games.
I’m not absolutely opposed to video games — I had an Atari as a kid in the early 80s. I wonder if my parents had the same quandary that I’m having now? My big sister and I played, Space Invaders, Pong and Frogger upstairs on the TV in the sewing room. Then the thing broke, high school came along and we went on with our late 80s lives.
Now that I have children, however, I’m a big fan of making your own fun. In our basement, we have lots of toys and art supplies, and our son has come up with remarkable artistic concoctions ranging from tiny popsicle stick furniture to a gluey, multicolored combination of snipped up construction paper, pompoms and feathers. He and his little sister leave the place looking like a Muppet threw up.
Or when the weather is warmer, I let the children make mud in the back yard. As long as they don’t smear it on the garage. When it’s colder — as long as we don’t hit the trifecta of wet, windy and below freezing — we play outside almost every day. I know that getting a Wii would cut into that unstructured play time.
I thought we’d give Wii a try, and we just got the chance at my brother-in-law’s house. My son swung wildly at the screen as he played golf, “hitting” the ball so many times that the Wii gave up and advanced him to the next hole after six strokes. (He also hit my wife in the head twice in 90 seconds with the controller.) I have no patience to try to get him to swing more carefully (and no skill in actual golf, whether transferrable to a Wii or not), so I stayed in the other room. I tried bowling – it was fun, but I felt like a dork playing air guitar. (Our almost 4-year-old daughter had almost no interest in the thing. She was concerned more with making her Wii player character (a Mii – clever) have red hair like she does.)
If we do get one, we’ll probably adopt a usage policy like our friends down the street with kids the same age as ours. Their 6-year-old can only use Wii on the weekends. I like those limits, but good luck trying to get a word out of their kid on Friday afternoon – he’s too busy rushing home to play Wii. The same friends declared it as a family gift – not the single kid’s present – hopefully cutting down on the fighting over whose toy it is.
And if we buy one, is that it for Christmas? One expensive gift for both kids?
So here are some pros and cons:
1. It will make my kid happy.
2. He could play it with his friends and not make a mess.
3. We could play it together as a family.
1. Cost. Best price I could find was $179 on the Dell computer Web site. Couldn’t I find true happiness and buy an iPhone for that?
2. I’ll have to figure the darn thing out. I got a digital picture frame for Father’s Day, and I love the idea of a rotating slide show of family photos. But as the at-home parent in charge of the laundry, the groceries, the schlepping to and from school, and so on, I’ve not yet learned how to use the thing.
3. Time suckage and whining. “Daaaaaad… Can I pleeeeeeease play the Wiiiiiii???” “Daaaaaad…. I can’t make this work. I’m no good at Wii!” And my favorite: But-Dad. “But Daaaaad. I don’t wanna stop and set the table.”
Maybe we should wait and buy one next year?