Christmas dilemma

To DS or not to DS. That is the question.

Jett is obsessed with electronics. I would say just like any other boy on the spectrum, but really I’m discovering it’s just like any other seven-year old boy. His class even had an electronics party the other day as a reward.

But I digress.

The big gift on the wish list this year is a Nintendo DS. Or an iPod Touch. We initially thought the Touch would be a better fit. Games are cheaper and more abundant, he can listen to music on it, he can text his friends with the Bump app, etc. Then I started thinking about the unsupervised access to the internet, and the Touch got a little scary in my mind.

Enter the Nintendo DS. I can’t remember now what it’s selling points are. I think it may simply be peer pressure. Most of the little boys in his class who own electronics have a DS. Ergo, it’s a good choice for us, right?

And that’s my dilemma. Are we merely keeping up with the Joneses by giving him these coveted electronics? We already struggle at home to find the right balance of play time, reading time, and screen time (anything with a screen: tv, computer, iPhone, video games). It has been our family philosophy to limit screen time. We are trying our best to raise well-rounded children. But it seems like whenever we talk to a specialist about Jett, they mention the DS as a coping tool. They all seem to agree that when he has behavior issues in public, or sensory problems, we should hand him a video game to distract him and take his mind somewhere else.

And I don’t know. That just doesn’t seem right to me.

Not to mention the fact that if he is already teetering on the edge of coping he will not be able to relinquish the game when the time comes to stop. We’ve seen it time and time again at home. He is playing the Xbox, and when it’s time to do something else, he can’t make the transition without major screaming.

But there is something to be said for keeping up with the neighbors. At the school party, Jett didn’t have the same games as his friends. They were sweet and shared with him, but he was so disappointed when he got home that he didn’t have his own game. And this will just get worse the older he gets. We’ve all seen those 10, 11 and 12 year-olds with cell phones, etc. Electronics are part of our kids lives. It’s simply a question of when and how we invite them in on a permanent basis.

I better figure out an answer soon. We are mailing our wish lists to Santa this week.


About morelikeaveragemom

I'm a stay home mom with 3 kids. I am simply figuring it out as I go.
This entry was posted in Autism / Asperger Syndrome, Kids, Mothering and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Christmas dilemma

  1. Jillian G says:

    This is so tough. Before I actually had a child, back when I had it all figured out, I had really strict ideas about “screen time” and materialism but that all goes away once you’re actually living it, doesn’t it?

    I’ve recently been diagnosed with a sensory disorder myself. It’s not new, it’s just that the diagnosis didn’t exist when I was a kid and I never realized that my issues might have a cause other than me just being rude and weird. I remember my parents letting me bring books to restaurants, which is the same concept as having a comfort item that focuses the senses and was also a visible reason for me to not be responsive, since I was buried in my book. Until recently, I thought my parents had been doing me a disservice by not making me open up and interact more in public situations, but now I don’t know if I would have been capable of doing that.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is, my parents did the best they could with the information they had, and so will you. Both sides of your dilemma have merit, and you are obviously weighing it very carefully and lovingly.

  2. Dearna says:

    We struggle with this one too,except C is only turning 5 on xmas eve.We however have decided to get him an i touch for his birthday.One of the main reasons is actually a little selfish, I want to be able to go to events occasionally and actually sit down and talk to other adults.We looked at the DS as well but the price of games put us off.We will however be putting strict restrictions or where and how long he can use it for.I think like anything electronics should be looked at as a usefull tools in a controlled environment.

  3. asdmommy says:

    We have a love/hate relationship with the DS. We got one for our little guy at Christmas last year (almost 9 years old). The pros? He has something in common with his peers (finally) that is age-appropriate. Car rides and plane trips have become FAR more bearable. My guy doesn’t sleep in the car (no matter how many hours the drive is), and road trips are a nightmare. Planes too. The DS has made it possible. The games are expensive, but you can get used ones at GameStop for very reasonable prices.

    I have the same concerns about screen time. It was a battle to get him off at first, but it is getting better (we do a bead thing – green for good behavior, red for bad, and when he gets enough he earns time, and when he gets off nicely he gets massive greens) as time passes. But I think my child at least is ALWAYS going to be a computer-y kind of guy…

    The other big thing? His fine motor skills have increased amazingly from game time. 🙂

    Good luck making a decision!

  4. fiona2107 says:

    We have a kind of love/hate relationship with ours!!

    Like Dearna said – they’re great for when you’re out but you really do need rules and restrictions along with them.

    Good luck!!

  5. Kelley says:

    The DS can be both wonderful and horrible. We needed to set limits from the start, including clear consequences for any trouble. Base your rules on anticipated issues, or make immediate rules as soon as you see an issue. For example, losing DS privileges for a period of time if there is any argument or refusal when it is time to turn it off. In our house, the DS is never, ever used before school and only very rarely after school. It can be a savior when you need something to occupy the child (like in waiting rooms, on trips, etc). I’d rather have a child playing a DS than losing it in public because of too much waiting, too many people, or whatever.

  6. akbutler says:

    you can delete the safari link. at least that’s what my husband found while doing some research on the internet. My son’s best friend is getting the iPod touch so we were thinking of it too and that was our big big concern. There’s some way to disable it and if you don’t attach a credit card to the itunes store he can’t download his own apps.
    I think my husband googled something like disable safari on ipod touch and got some hits and instructions.

  7. Christine says:

    I feel like I am in the same boat without the spectrum issues. I don’t think I’ll be able to offer any useful reflection on the topic for 10 years minimum. At least you have organized some thoughts on the matter. I suppose I’ll just hang on the edge as long as I can. Who knows how long that will be? Hugs!

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