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Episode 8 — Consumerism

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We’re getting to the bottom of consumerism on this week’s Love, Dad! Dave & Jeff discuss how to limit the many things children consume today from video games to smart phones. We also explore the importance of teaching kids the value of a dollar, setting rules early on, and being an involved parent by monitoring your child’s usage of technology. Plus, we have the clean joke of the week for you to consume!

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First off, love the podcast.

 

I did need to defend video games a bit since Dave seemed to think they were only bad for his kids. I do agree with limiting the time your kids can play video games, but I feel the same about everything electronic be it TV, Internet, etc. I truly believe that video games are actually better than most other forms of electronic entertainment because they engage the user. I definitely have built important problem solving skills from the games I have played throughout the years. It has also helped me creatively in my life by expanding my imagination.

 

Games today are definitely different than they were when I grew up, so I can understand that they need to be limited moreso than back in the 80s and early 90s. The big takeaway from my rant here is that it is important to look at video games as just another activity and not something that is harming your child. I probably played games for an hour+ a day for a lot of my childhood and today I have a good job, a bachelors degree, a stable long term relationship, and in general a good life. I guess I'm just saying it wasn't bad for me, and in my case I believe helped me get to where I am today. Just my story which is all I know, but for my money, games are definitely a good thing.

 

Oh, and I still play video games about an hour a day and keep up with work, after-work classes, multiple social groups, and my significant other.

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Thanks for writing Jeff. I don't think Dave meant that they were the devil's work, just that there should be moderation, which seems to be what you are saying. I played video games too growing up, but spent more time with board games and puzzles, which I think are also important.

 

Boy, I sure am old.

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Great podcast, no complaints(other than that link to the instagram blog, I am now furious at work) but let me emphaize: the Earwolf app for Android did do a poor job, but, now it's not even to be found. Come on, Jeff, show us Android users some attention.

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I thought the point Jeff made about how the thing you are addicted to, becomes precious to you, was great. I have seen this in action with screentime and could never summarize it or really quantify it, but this is perfectly put. My nephews both play video games and lose their minds when time is taken away from them for bad behavior. With my own girls, I've seen it in reference to TV.

 

This gave me a lot to think about.

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First off, love the podcast.

 

I did need to defend video games a bit since Dave seemed to think they were only bad for his kids.

 

Jeff MacDonald:

 

You're right. They are just a tool. The failure rests with us as parents. Video games, internet apps, TV...it's all so damn seductive for parents. If you know you can give a kid something to occupy them for just thirty minutes a day, it's amazing. Then it turns into forty, then it turns in to whenever you need a break.

 

I grew up playing video games, sure, but they were truly invented for the home until I was about ten or eleven. Now you can have them from birth and I worry that it is different than it was for us. My sister teacher psychology at the University of Denver, and she explained to me once how they rewire us (in terms of problem solving skills, hand eye coordination) but also in terms of our ability to interact.

 

Her point was that when you have that much control over a....story, or a world, during your formative years, that you have trouble with not having that same control in real life, later on.

 

Not the video games fault at all.

 

But I wonder how much those of us who grew up watching narrative (movies, TV, listening to radio) were able to transition into video games and back out, because we knew the world at large didn't give us those controls?

 

Just my rambling two cents.

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Jeff,

 

It sounds like Dave's kids are using iPhones and/or iPads, which means that he can take advantage of Apple's built-in parental controls to lock down potentially dangerous features. In the Settings app on each device, go to General→Restrictions, enable Restrictions, and specify a password. From there, you toggle various options (like the ability to install apps, access iTunes, whether explicit music/video content can be purchased or played, etc.) The kids won't be able to alter those settings without knowing Dave's password.

 

Dave mentioned his son having jailbroken his iOS devices, which would in all likelihood allow him to circumvent the parental controls, but requiring unjailbroken devices could be a policy Dave and his wife set as a condition of having a phone at all.

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Dave, check out Pinstagram on your computer. You need an Instagram account to use it and then you can see snapshots of your kids' instagrams and those of the people they're connected to if you connect with them too. It's less invasive than picking up their phone, still involved, think you'd like it.

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