It all began a year or so ago, when my darling brother decided to introduce wee innocent Lars to the Angry Birds.
It was a day like any other, aside from the fact that the kid was bored and bugging us at any chance he had.
So Dustin, with his intuitive way with children, handed him his iphone and proceeded to show the child how to hurl small ugly looking birds at disgruntled green pigs.
It was then that the horror began.
The playing of Angry Birds evolved into engaging in computer games on the net…
Which resulted in many a virus as the kid cannot read and would click on any pop-up that presented itself.
This in turn started the begging for the dreaded DS which his Aunty Heather gave him for Christmas in an attempt to save our disease ridden computer.
To which Uncle Dustin AGAIN provided a classic game called, Super Mario Brothers (in Lars’ words Super Mario “Bruhzers”).
Now, for the last few months each individual in our family, from grannies to aunties, uncles and anyone in between has been accosted as soon as they walk in our front door to the insanity of this video game mania.
“Look Taylor (Aunty Heather’s boyfriend) I’m already on level 5. … How about I watch you beat this level.”
This is Lars’ not-so-discreet way of asking the adults in his life to assist him in his gaming feat and at first the boy’s aunties and uncles obliged his adorable requests lovingly. Now in present days I’m sure that this novelty has worn off as they all seem to be making less and less appearances at our home.
And I can’t say that I blame them. … Although I do, because they have left ME to deal with this gamer phase, this phase which I DIDN’T EVEN START!
I have never in my life been into the video game thing.
I don’t really see the point of it, and in truth I have terrible co-ordination skills — my gaming aptitude goes about as far as level 3 in the Bejeweled game on my phone.
So when my lovely little 5 year old son bests me in an online game or rebukes me for losing a level on his beloved Super Mario “Bruhzers”, I realize the madness MUST come to an end!
I think about the great adventures I had as a child, the imagination that guided my day to day existence, the pure fun of simply playing pretend.
And I wonder if he will have this ability, or are these electronic games affecting his mind so he might be unable to play in such a way?
So yesterday while bearing these heavy thoughts in mind, we made our way out to Aunty Gemma’s house in Trochu for a visit.
Aunty Gemma, Lars, Sophie, Cousin Hannah, Granny and myself made our way to the park to have a play.
Upon arrival we found the playground was buried in heaps of deep snow!
Of course the kids ran and frolicked over the top layer of frozen white stuff easily … Gemma and I though, were sinking into 2-3 feet drifts with each step taken.
I was stuck in a considerably deep one, when Lars asked to play Super Mario Bruhzers. I explain, whilst trying to heave my leg out of its entrapment that we did not have his DS. The boy then proceeds to say, “No Mom, let’s play that WE ARE Super Mario Bruhzers!”
So as it turns out we had a great time imagining that we were the characters in this video game, that previously had me so worried that it was scarring my boy’s childhood.
Although running all over the playground pretending to be Bowser while Gemma and Lars were Mario and Luigi, was rather exhausting … it was SO worth it!
I guess it goes to show, that despite the technological advances in our children’s youth, to play will always be an instinctive response in a kid’s life.
But…with that said, I think I will be bringing in a time limit on the DS per day, to ensure that Lars will have time to exercise that imagination without a video game to distract his thoughts.
Because as I’ve said before, it is all about finding that happy medium.
Lindsay Brown is a Sylvan Lake mother of two and freelance columnist.