Chinuch: Would you allow a game console (Wii/PS3/XBOX) or not?

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    My son is 15 and just asked for a PS3. He is in yeshivishe mesivta, good friends, no issues, gets decent test scores. He comes home around 9:00p each night. He earned about $300 from his grand-parents chanukah gelt, allowance, etc. He wants to use HIS OWN money to purchase a PS3. I do see the need to allow to him unwind. I am sceptical though to allow it. The possibilities of movies, mature rated games and especialy taking his mind away from learning.

    So, my dear fellow coffee’ers, what would you do?


    Better let him buy a gun. It would be safer than this.


    Suggest that he get a Wii instead. It is cheaper and the game selection for the Wii will probably be more to your liking than the games available for the PS3.


    Yeah, I think the Wii is a good choice. Keep in mind these devices can access the internet (it could even grab it from a neighbor who has an unsecured network, which is common). Keep the device in a public place.


    Where would you put it? Would it be in plain site where anyone and everyone could walk in on him where he was playing? Are all the games for both consoles rated? Discuss with him what kind of games he is interested in. For instance, what is the real purpose of the purchase? Is he interested in the sports games, the exercise games, the board and puzzle type games. Or is he interested in the gun/shooting/ darker side of the coin games? Once you get a picture of what it is all about make a contract with him.

    In the agreement decide how much time per night, per week he can use the console. For instance, if he has a test, should he be able to use it the night before the test. Should he do all his homework before he sits down to the console. Does all his chores have to be done before, etc. Also include the consequences if the agreement is broken and write that into the contract. When everything that you both agree to is written in to the contract then you both sign it and go out to purchase the item. Also in the agreement put in a stipulation that the agreement will be re-evaluated and renegotiated in six months. So if you feel it is not working, or your child feels he has proven himself and wants more time or wants more privileges like buying additional games, etc. then at the six month mark, you sit down and listen to each other and adjust the agreement according to the points you are both making and sign it again with the same stipulation that you will re-evaluate and re-negotiate in six months.

    In this way you are working together and working towards mutual goals, which is your son gaining the privileges he wants without going behind your back, and without you judging him or putting him down.


    I have no idea what this item is, but most of these contraptions tend to be very addictive. If I would let my child buy one, I would set very strict rules regarding how much time he could use it.


    You have to know your kid and him temperament. if he is the type of kid to be on it all the time, it will definitely take over his life and interfere with his studies. Also, you must make sure to be on top of which games he buys, and make sure he does not purchase any games that are rated T (for teen) or M (for mature) any of these games are very inappropriate for a ben torah. Also, you must also be aware that there is goyish music on any game he will purchase, and it is likely he will become accustomed to many songs he would never have otherwise. If this does not bother you, I would say go for it. There are some very harmless games. Also if you get the wii there are great exercise games that really get you off the couch and moving!


    There is a frum man named Mr. Philip Rosenthal who is very knowledgeable in the areas of computer and internet safety. He deals with many people around the world regarding obsessive computer behaviors, online gambling and Internet safety. He is recognized as an expert in his field and is called upon regularly for consultation with mental health care professionals, schools, lay people, and community leaders. In my opinion, I would strongly urge you to get in contact with him. Even though this may seem to be a relatively simple question, it can be a starting point for undesireable activities if it is not addressed properly. You can contact him at 914-714-3086 or [email protected]. Hatzlacha Raba!


    Mother In Israel-

    If you have no idea what a PS3 is, how would know that a PS3 is part of “these contraptions tend to be addictive”? Obviously you do know what a PS3 is, since you do know what “these contraptions” are as well as their nature, and you do seem to group a PS3 with “these contraptions” in your statement…


    like everything else, it has its’ positives and negatives…with the right games, it can be a healthy outlet. However, I would recommend the WII, it’s interactive and has many games the whole family can enjoy together (bowling, sports games etc…)


    Full disclosure, I have both systems – Wii and PS3. And I am far older than 15.

    If your child is someone who’ll become comfortable or OK with monitoring (both content and time), I’d recommend the PS3. It is a much better deal than the Wii, since it can play DVDs/CDs and games in HD and has a hard drive where you can store pretty much anything (like photos). YES, it can be connected to the internet, BUT so can the Wii, PLUS the PS3’s connectivity is NOT designed for a great web browsing experience, rather so that one can log into Playstation Network (PSN) and buy content from there. There are some very good, entertaining, wholesome games on PSN. Just because something can “connect to the Internet” doesn’t mean you could or would want to do the same thing on that connected device as you’d on a PC.

    The Wii is a fun console, content offering for it are a little thin and it doesn’t have the visual and aural “pop” that PS3 content does. I’d recommend a Wii if a family was looking into a family console, but a teenager wanting to buy one is different, if monitored OK, I wouldn’t want to see him sink all that $$$ into a console he’ll use for a month then discard.


    Also, Phil Rosenthal counsels on Internet addiction, which is an addiction that the scientific community generally acknowledges, I believe. Video game “addiction” is a completely different animal since it’s not something generally accepted as an addiction by the scientific community. Games have a very different type of appeal than internet surfing.


    nothing beats Atari


    Mikehall, a child of the 80’s, I see..?



    If it ends up being a bad decision, once bought, you can never change your mind about it. Yup, kids need an outlet, but why must it be something that has potential to poisen their soul? There are other outlets.

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