At what age did you buy your kids their first games console

36
Posted 22nd Sep
My eldest is turning 6 soon and is asking for a Nintendo switch. I'm thinking he is still to young to get addicted to gaming. He does play on my mobile every now and then but is 6 to young for a gaming machine. Your thoughts please.
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Almost every job is going to be technology related by the time they are older. There’s no harm in getting children accustomed to technology at a young age. As others have said, you just need to supervise what they are doing and for how long.

I often have to ban YouTube altogether, as the kids watch on there is far worse than any computer game.
36 Comments
Mine is 21 and there are no games consoles in this house. My mother did insist I get him one when he was about twelve. She paid for a second hand PlayStation one. I told he'd never use it and it sat gathering dust in cupboard for years. Threw it out eventually.
If he is already playing games on your phone I don’t see how playing on a console is any different.

I would however advise setting very strict limits about the length of time he can play on it.

Those joy cons aren’t particularly durable on the switch either so they may get broken. It does seem a lot of money to spend on a 6 year old to me, but if you can afford and think he will take care of it and you are prepared to supervise and put on restrictions I don’t see any issue.

Mine would have started playing on the family console in the living room at around that age 6/7but weren’t allowed there own devices until age 11 & 9
Edited by: "myusernamehasgone234" 22nd Sep
I’ve just bought my 6 year old a Switch for Christmas
I started gaming when i was 3 to 4.
I would say it's ok, like others have said set limits in game time and it should be fine. Nintendo is very family friendly so you could play games as a family as well.

Gaming is a great hobby and if his friends are getting a switch this Xmas (probably switch lite as it's cheaper than the standard switch and is more kid friendly), it'll be the talking point come new year at school.

One other factor will be how you feel about games and if you had them around when you were growing up.
Six isn't too young for playing games.
But you need to keep an eye on what they're playing and for how long. Games can actually aid development. He will only get "addicted" if you let him. What most people do is use the TV/games/computer as a babysitter. This is no good. But keep an eye on him, and his play time and you'll have no problems at all. Why not even join in with him from time to time? The switch is a good console for this. It already comes with two controllers (as long as you avoid the lite edition).
Edited by: "ra786" 23rd Sep
Almost every job is going to be technology related by the time they are older. There’s no harm in getting children accustomed to technology at a young age. As others have said, you just need to supervise what they are doing and for how long.

I often have to ban YouTube altogether, as the kids watch on there is far worse than any computer game.
Uranus23/09/2019 00:38

Comment deleted




Nothing wrong with computer games only issue is a lack of understanding and misinformation. My mum recalls her father (many many years ago) telling her off for reading books instead of playing outside. I'm sure every generation has a similar story.

Let's face it, every out of touch member of previous a generation fears something they don't understand of the next generation so why should you be any different.
Ok thanks all. I was curious as to what age people got a games machinr for their children. I believe I would of been about 10 when I got my first games computer. It was a Sinclair spectrum +2... I used to play it all the time. Only problem is that I will probably play it more than him
It all depends on the game he is playing - Minecraft is pretty good and uses the brain.
Roblox is a no.
I would not give a games console to any child attending school, as imho it can distract them from schoolwork.
claire751922/09/2019 23:40

I’ve just bought my 6 year old a Switch for Christmas


Same here
tryn2help23/09/2019 09:54

I would not give a games console to any child attending school, as imho it …I would not give a games console to any child attending school, as imho it can distract them from schoolwork.


Schoolwork is done in school, how is a games console at home distracting them from that?
JohnnyRoller23/09/2019 10:41

Schoolwork is done in school, how is a games console at home distracting …Schoolwork is done in school, how is a games console at home distracting them from that?


Homework was probably meant. I have witnessed a ten year old through my previous work obsessed with Fortnite and games and to some detriment of his homework. Not taking sides, just mentioning this for now.
mysmugcat23/09/2019 10:53

Homework was probably meant. I have witnessed a ten year old through my …Homework was probably meant. I have witnessed a ten year old through my previous work obsessed with Fortnite and games and to some detriment of his homework. Not taking sides, just mentioning this for now.



This is a 6 year old child we’re talking about, if you can’t monitor what your child is doing at that age then a games console is the last of your worries. Sometimes I swear these comments come from people who have no children
JohnnyRoller23/09/2019 10:41

Schoolwork is done in school, how is a games console at home distracting …Schoolwork is done in school, how is a games console at home distracting them from that?



Schoolwork is indeed done in school, and if a child is able to concentrate 100% on their schoolwork it increases their chances of doing well academically.

Unfortunately, some studies have shown children who are distracted with other concerns, i.e. poverty homes with little food/clothes, parents fighting/divorcing/missing, etc, can all have a negative impact on the child's ability to concentrate on schoolwork.
In the same vein, if the child is more concerned with getting home to play games it can have a negative impact on their ability to concentrate on schoolwork.
tryn2help23/09/2019 11:03

Schoolwork is indeed done in school, and if a child is able to concentrate …Schoolwork is indeed done in school, and if a child is able to concentrate 100% on their schoolwork it increases their chances of doing well academically.Unfortunately, some studies have shown children who are distracted with other concerns, i.e. poverty homes with little food/clothes, parents fighting/divorcing/missing, etc, can all have a negative impact on the child's ability to concentrate on schoolwork. In the same vein, if the child is more concerned with getting home to play games it can have a negative impact on their ability to concentrate on schoolwork.


It’s called parenting, you can do that whether your child has nothing or everything. You can’t blame a computer for distracting a child, you can only blame your parenting skills. Everything is ok in moderation, and as a parent it’s your responsibility to take control of that.
mysmugcat23/09/2019 10:53

Homework was probably meant. I have witnessed a ten year old through my …Homework was probably meant. I have witnessed a ten year old through my previous work obsessed with Fortnite and games and to some detriment of his homework. Not taking sides, just mentioning this for now.


This isn’t aimed at you @mysmugcat
in particular I see your not taking sides and merely giving an example.

I just wanted to give another example

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/p…70/

Studies have actually found video gaming can be useful.

For those budding surgeons out there it has been found to improve laparoscopic (keyhole) technique.

“Video game skill correlates with laparoscopic surgical skills. Training curricula that include video games may help thin the technical interface between surgeons and screen-mediated applications, such as laparoscopic surgery. Video games may be a practical teaching tool to help train surgeons”


Gaming is a hugely popular hobby for many, it makes billions.

The issue isn’t with individual games, the problem is poor parenting. Of course a child will sit and play for hours if allowed and them potentially become addicted it for adult to supervise and control what is been played and for how long.
tryn2help23/09/2019 11:03

Schoolwork is indeed done in school, and if a child is able to concentrate …Schoolwork is indeed done in school, and if a child is able to concentrate 100% on their schoolwork it increases their chances of doing well academically.Unfortunately, some studies have shown children who are distracted with other concerns, i.e. poverty homes with little food/clothes, parents fighting/divorcing/missing, etc, can all have a negative impact on the child's ability to concentrate on schoolwork. In the same vein, if the child is more concerned with getting home to play games it can have a negative impact on their ability to concentrate on schoolwork.


I think that comes down to how people parent their children though, T2H. You teach children to fulfil their responsibilities before playing games.

Children can also be more interested in going out with friends after school over homework. I knew plenty like that too.
myusernamehasgone23423/09/2019 11:13

This isn’t aimed at you @mysmugcatin particular I see your not taking s …This isn’t aimed at you @mysmugcatin particular I see your not taking sides and merely giving an example.I just wanted to give another examplehttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/17309970/Studies have actually found video gaming can be useful.For those budding surgeons out there it has been found to improve laparoscopic (keyhole) technique. “Video game skill correlates with laparoscopic surgical skills. Training curricula that include video games may help thin the technical interface between surgeons and screen-mediated applications, such as laparoscopic surgery. Video games may be a practical teaching tool to help train surgeons”Gaming is a hugely popular hobby for many, it makes billions. The issue isn’t with individual games, the problem is poor parenting. Of course a child will sit and play for hours if allowed and them potentially become addicted it for adult to supervise and control what is been played and for how long.


Just to add to this, it was recently announced that the Nintendo Switch may be coming into schools soon too. news.sky.com/sto…954
As I wrote my comment I did wonder whether to add about parenting responsibility. I am not anti gaming. I can see a few sides to this discussion.
@JohnnyRoller I am a stepparent who often looked after my stepson alone.
Edited by: "mysmugcat" 23rd Sep
JohnnyRoller23/09/2019 11:00

This is a 6 year old child we’re talking about, if you can’t monitor what y …This is a 6 year old child we’re talking about, if you can’t monitor what your child is doing at that age then a games console is the last of your worries. Sometimes I swear these comments come from people who have no children



I have children and grandchildren.
tryn2help23/09/2019 11:24

I have children and grandchildren.


Well done, I didn’t say you haven’t got any... However if the only reason you would not allow your children to have luxuries (Like computers, sweets, toys etc.) is to stop them from “potentially” getting distracted by them, then you are just not willing to make the effort of being a parent and monitoring them.

As I’ve already said, a child can have nothing or could have everything and neither would contribute more to who they are than their parents.
JohnnyRoller23/09/2019 11:09

It’s called parenting, you can do that whether your child has nothing or e …It’s called parenting, you can do that whether your child has nothing or everything. You can’t blame a computer for distracting a child, you can only blame your parenting skills. Everything is ok in moderation, and as a parent it’s your responsibility to take control of that.



Parenting is certainly involved, but even the best parenting in the world won't stop a child from wondering and thus sometimes wandering.

However, just a couple of points; I did say 'imho' - and I'm no expert. Also, I'm not so much saying consoles are the issue - it's concentration that's the issue.

There are a great many distractions (as I pointed out re poverty etc), but my main point is anything (and imho games consoles certainly can be a distraction)that distracts a child from being able to concentrate 100% on their schoolwork is going to have a negative impact on their academic achievements.

So, for that reason I wouldn't give any child at school a games console.
tryn2help23/09/2019 11:58

Parenting is certainly involved, but even the best parenting in the world …Parenting is certainly involved, but even the best parenting in the world won't stop a child from wondering and thus sometimes wandering.However, just a couple of points; I did say 'imho' - and I'm no expert. Also, I'm not so much saying consoles are the issue - it's concentration that's the issue.There are a great many distractions (as I pointed out re poverty etc), but my main point is anything (and imho games consoles certainly can be a distraction)that distracts a child from being able to concentrate 100% on their schoolwork is going to have a negative impact on their academic achievements.So, for that reason I wouldn't give any child at school a games console.


Today’s generation is very different to older generations, and as parents we have to adapt to that. Teachers have to adapt to it and teach in different ways just the same. Computers are used in primary schools for their learning, they have homework that is based on computers.

Gaming consoles are something that every child will encounter, whether that be their own or their friends. As a parent you can have an immediate impact on how they manage their time as children. Let them be children whilst they are young, don’t restrict things because you believe they are bad. You just have to let them have things in moderation, that is all I’m saying.
JohnnyRoller23/09/2019 11:33

Well done, I didn’t say you haven’t got any... However if the only reason y …Well done, I didn’t say you haven’t got any... However if the only reason you would not allow your children to have luxuries (Like computers, sweets, toys etc.) is to stop them from “potentially” getting distracted by them, then you are just not willing to make the effort of being a parent and monitoring them. As I’ve already said, a child can have nothing or could have everything and neither would contribute more to who they are than their parents.



I was addressing your comment re no children, which, based on personal experience and knowledge of other parents having similar opinions to mine suggests your comment re no children may not be accurate.

As parents my wife and I followed a fairly old fashioned route of reading to them - especially before they dropped off to sleep - and my wife took them to the local library every weekday.

When I had finished work on my home pc I'd sometimes let them play some basic games.

When gaming consoles came out I got them little handheld nintendo's, and eventually a playstation, and when they went through university most of their uni friends also had playstations - but they policed themselves - though some of their friends did struggle.

It was from listening to them and their uni friends about their opinions of games consoles being distractions that helped form my opinion that perhaps I had made a mistake by introducing games consoles to the home.
IMO games consoles are fine if they are limited to age appropriate games, my 8yo has a Switch and has asked to play both Roblox and Fortnite and it's a firm no to both despite his protests (even though his mates are playing apparently, good for them I say)

No harm in getting a 6yo a Switch as there are plenty of family friendly games and indeed his 4yo brother absolutely loves playing and beating him at Mario Kart!
Edited by: "bobdylan" 23rd Sep
tryn2help:
I would not give a games console to any child attending school, as imho it can distract them from schoolwork.

I think not giving a games console to any child is very harsh. Having a console can be used to reward good behaviour and when they do well at what ever it may be. For me he will end up getting one it's just a matter of when.
OP, Brilliant question and I think its great that you are thinking about it before taking that first step.

I think gaming is great but 6 sounds like a really early age for a child to have his own console. But that is just MY opinion. It really depends on what happens at your home regularly. Does he/she see you gaming regularly? Else, I would think some games on tablets or phones (with kids mode ON) will engage a child that young and keep them happy.

We always had a gaming console at home but I was rarely using it. But for the kids, we got an Xbox when our kids were 8 and 10 respectively. The gaming influence from peers usually starts building around (7-8 year olds) and thats when the social aspect of gaming can actually help the children continue playing wth their friends (especially during the winter months). I remember giving into "all the kids in my class argument" with our youngest and him starting with Fortnite after he was 8.It is a 12 game though, I know. But we gave in and with any addiction, it really needs to be managed. A poor child has no chance with games like that; even us adults could spend hours into a weeknight if we gave in. It is addictive, period. He got really into it by the time he was 10. I am sure we could (and should) have managed it better but every child is different.
Anyway, good luck on your journey with your kids.
wigmores23/09/2019 13:10

tryn2help:I would not give a games console to any child attending school, …tryn2help:I would not give a games console to any child attending school, as imho it can distract them from schoolwork.I think not giving a games console to any child is very harsh. Having a console can be used to reward good behaviour and when they do well at what ever it may be. For me he will end up getting one it's just a matter of when.



As I've written elsewhere - it's just my experience, but I agree it's a bit harsh - not least because of the peer pressure they'll get from friends.

Nevertheless, I did try to answer your question honestly and with the intention of helping.

The fact I've ruffled a few feathers is unfortunate, but I didn't answer to be popular.


As for the FACTS re games console use there appears to have been nowhere near enough research for us to be certain one way or the other. There are as many positive as negative reports, but here's a fairly balanced report which may help.
I cannot think of one polite thing to say about computer gaming/consoles or peer group pressure.

I would ban them all as pernicious.

No, I am not trolling or sh*t stirring it is absolutely what I feel. Having spent decades in the computer industry you might think that I would be totally for anything "computer related" but, having seen what an intrusion so many electronic items are into people's lives, I am not.

Never mind the parallel questions relating to addiction and desensitisation, just look at the effects that long term gaming have on the physical body - sight, hearing and fitness for example. Easy to dismiss that in the same way that smokers dismissed the dangers of smoking by quoting their "granny or grandpa" who smoked 90 a day and lived until their 80s. These days, most of us know what a crock of sh*t that argument is.

As to peer group pressure, if you give into it, ask yourself what are you teaching your children?
I would hold off as long as you possibly can
cibarious23/09/2019 14:51

I cannot think of one polite thing to say about computer gaming/consoles …I cannot think of one polite thing to say about computer gaming/consoles or peer group pressure.I would ban them all as pernicious.


I cannot help but think you are indeed trolling. What would you have people do instead? Sit and stare at a blank wall in case they get injured leaving the house? Fill an evening with an important period drama, Ant and Dec, a crime novel, or meditative yoga to avoid becoming stressed at the modern world? Dread to think what you've been charging people for in the computer industry with that attitude.

It's about education and management. Don't just ditch your kid in front of an ipad all day. You're still responsible for their welfare. The same way you shouldn't let them stare at 10 hours straight of illiterate, trash, slime/music videos auto-playing on Youtube. Unscrupulous developers deliberatly gamify everything these days (Instagram, Tinder, Step trackers) not just banal gambling, pay to win mobile games, so it's up to you to police them.

Play the games with them, use them to teach them things, explain how and why they work the way they do, show them how to share with their friends, and give them limits. Or maybe your kid will decide themselves to do something else? I've played everything going since age 5 and loved it; would've worked coding them too if the developers weren't such slave drivers! It's the most entertaining hobby invented thus far, and it's only going to get bigger and better.
@wearewyldstallyn - well, you are wrong about trolling. My statements were genuine.

Whilst I agree, in principle with a lot that you have written, there are, in my experience, far too many folk who substitute computer games for letting their children sit in front of the television for hours on end and I do not see the difference. You are entitled to disagree with me but that cuts both ways.

Sitting in staring at a blank wall is a fatuous argument but let them out of the house - let them read a book - let them take up a real hobby are all good ideas but all of those also require responsible and encouraging parenting. I really do feel the battle for a sane society is lost if there are many like you who say, hand on heart, "It's the most entertaining hobby invented thus far, and it's only going to get bigger and better.".

It surprises me not at all that when one person happens to post a strong opinion that runs counter to the thoughts of others then that person is automatically labelled a troll.
Ok guys the question was "at what age did you buy your kids their first games console" it wasn't "should you buying children a games console.
To answer the question directly...............when they can pay for it themselves! and yes 6 is way to young..However my opinion of 6 being way to young for a games console will not stop anybody who thinks it is ok doing just that, so this whole post is a mute point
Edited by: "thomasleep" 24th Sep
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