Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Game Plan: To Nintendo or not to Nintendo? – That is the question.

Games for Girls Summit - Dallas 2011
By Autumn Rose Reo on 11/20/11 19:48 | Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Are you one of those people who loves to play Farmville on their Facebook? Do you have Angry Birds on your Ipad? Is your idea of exercise pulling out the Wii Fit? Well, folks, that’s not me. Actually, while I am a competitive person and LOVE my techno toys, games (and especially a gaming system), don’t interest me. My husband enjoys them and has many on his phone and computer and my son has a Leapster he received as a gift, but admittedly we don’t have a Wii, a PS, a DS or any other one of those things. However, just like everything with being a parent, sometimes you find yourself reconsidering your thinking. This was especially the case for me after attending a special event at the W Hotel in Dallas called the Games for Girls Summit, which has me wondering now: Can games be a good thing?

Hosted by an esteemed panel of women including Nicole Armstrong of Activision, Suzanne Kantra of Techilicious, and local hostess with the mostess, Holly Homer of She is Dallas/June Cleaver Nirvana, the Games for Girls Summit was held at the W Hotel in Dallas on November 15. The two-hour event included moms and their kiddos listening to information about games while experiencing the newest kid-centric games on the market. I really enjoyed being able to see the games in action by kids of all ages and since we are a group of moms talking about mom stuff – it was nice to have my kids experience it with me.

Although the environment was amazing, it was the facts from a few recent studies by BYU, NCBI and NPD I heard that really made me think.

Check these out:

• 42% of kids less than 8 years old have a TV in their room.
My kiddo has always had a TV in his room.

• Today, 91 percent of kids (approximately 64 million) ages 2-17 are gaming in the U.S.
My kiddo has a Leapster and has eight game apps on my Iphone.

• 11% of 0-8 years olds have used a smartphone.
He can operate my phone better than I do.

• People who play video games are more creative. Gamers process info faster and by playing a game together, create a social bond sooner with others.
Well, I have to wonder about this one since “creative” is a relative term, but it can’t hurt to add a little creativity to his learning, not to mention the ability to process info quickly. And while social interaction skills are so important at this age, I had always thought that games would make it that much harder, but it seems the opposite is true.

• Gamers spend 80% of their time failing.
This was the one that really seemed to make me reconsider that by playing games like a Wii can really make my kid build perseverance: the age-old lesson, “When you fail, try, try again.”

Those stats game me really reeling. Then they brought out the goodies – all the newest and coolest games imaginable including Moshi Monsters: Moshling Zoo, Lalaloopsy, Zoobles, ZhuZhu Babies, Squinkies 2: Adventure Mall Surprize and one of the coolest games I have ever seen - Wappy Dog. The Wappy Dog interacts with the Nintendo DS and vice versa. I have to admit this toy was so cute and I’m really thinking about getting one for my three-year old.

All in all, I thought the summit was eye-opening and a real life-changing experience, honestly. So the next day when I went to Best Buy, I sauntered over to the game section to look at what was out there. I will admit it was a little overwhelming, but at least I made my first step into gaming…and in perfect timing for the holidays (at least for my kids!)
Got any suggestions for a non-gaming mom? What’s your favorite system for the kiddos?

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