My 6-year-old son really enjoys his Pokémon Go, a game on the mobile phone. Mainly because:
it is something he does with his dad (we are together but our son spends more time with me, and so he seems to value dad's attention more)
it is screentime (stuff happens, bright colours, yeah!)
It goes further: he draws Pokémon, his make-believe games revolve around Pokémon. The worrysome part is he also craves gaming. He will go to bed saying he cannot wait till tomorrow when he can play again/will go on an in-game raid with dad/will finally catch that rare Pokémon.
There are already several questions about (mobile) gaming and small children, mine is slightly different because of this obsessive behaviour.
His old phone is almost broken and I have to decide if he gets a new one so I am trying to list the pros and cons so that I can decide whether I should be cruel to be kind to stop it here or allow this to continue.
I think obsessing over whatever tickles one's fantasy is normal for children. I used to obsess over magic in stories believing that if I tried just a little bit harder I would be able to conjure something.
However I'm worried because in this case his obsession
- is coupled with a computer game which is tweaked to make it extra addictive
- is bad for his eyesight
- leaves little to the imagination
- alienates him from his peers because it is all he talks about.
In addition, continuing places a burdon on me: I will have to be the bad guy and guard time-limits very closely. We have no limits yet but I want to limit it to 3 or 4 times a week, 30 mins, max 45 mins and dependant on doing chores.
On the plus side:
- he enjoys it
- he learns he cannot always win
- he learns more reading and numbers
- it is something he and dad like doing together
- he walks around outside a lot
- he learns a little planning and budgetting
- it can be used to make boring shopping trips rewarding
Are there any other considerations I am missing?