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.