What do you do?
I am more restrictive than most parents locally regarding how much access my children have to media; and here, I'm really talking about my older son because my toddler has no access to any of the computers or other electronic devices in the house. Although we don't own any dedicated gaming devices (DS, Wii, etc...) I do allow my older son some access to games on the computer via the internet. Even the limited access I allow him sometimes makes me uncomfortable. I have enforced breaks from his access to the computer for weeks and even months at a time, however, a total media ban in our milieu, in our world, in our culture creates a feeling of imbalance also. And so I strive towards helping him (and myself) find a balance we are both comfortable with regarding the presence of popular media in our home and in our lives.
The thing that grieves me is this -- today my son told me that he has a few friends at school who spend their playtime talking about their computer games. Because my son is not current with the latest computer-game trends, he has nothing to add to the conversation and so has been feeling left out. On the one hand, I am appalled that children would spend their recess sitting around talking about computer games instead of running around and playing, and on the other hand I feel sad that my son is in this position.
The dilemma now gnaws at me: do I relax my standards and allow my son more access so that he can "keep-up" socially, or do I hold to my feelings and beliefs about media access and children? I know that there is a grey area of compromise someplace in the middle, but I find balancing these matters tenuous and tricky. An "all-or-nothing" approach would be so much simpler, but an "all-or-nothing" tactic is not really an option.
How do you handle such things? What do you do? Do you know of a way to balance such matters? Any thoughts, ideas or feelings would be most welcome...