Are Gadgets Necessary for Children? Video Games?

I don't know why it is but for some reason the great majority of parents cannot and will not hear anyone say a bad word about the video game industry and its impact on children. It's vital all parents get the opportunity to hear counter-arguments and to find out that video games are an optional aspect of childhood, as are gadgets in general.

I have a 15yr old daughter who suffers from PDA. I had to repatriate back from Spain two years ago due to Spain embracing the EU 'Vision' that all children, no matter what their needs or special needs, attend a formal school. Even though my daughter was bullied very badly, put at the back of the class to doodle throughout the day, constantly criticised by teachers for her PDA traits, learnt nothing and was forced to take Ritilin to be manageable in the classroom, the school system refused to allow me to homeschool. So I had to sell our shop and return to England, battered and broken from the chronic stress.

Going back in time to Spain...

One thing I will be eternally grateful for is that I realised early on that parents were following the crowd in terms of buying gadgets for their children, including buying the video games they believed other parents had bought their children. I remember my friend, who was on a very low income, saying she was going to save up the several hundreds of euros needed to buy every gadget she believed all rich parents had bought their children, her words being 'Then I will feel like a good parent'. I asked her if it was really necessary to buy these gadgets seeing as she had no money. The look on her face changed as she asked herself that question, clearly for the first time. That short conversation made me determined to not fall into the same peer pressured trap it seemed almost all other parents were falling into. My daughter and I are so lucky for that.

I had already thrown away our TV having become fed up with constant arguments about catching her watching it. I phoned a friend, offered him our TV and within an hour was watching it being carried out of our home. I had not watched TV in 13-14yrs and have not missed it for a second. I read headlines now of viewer disgust over increasingly depraved TV scenes, such as rape, graphic sex, etc, but I am not hearing about what I should be hearing revolt...viewer revolt. So I imagine whole families are now settling down to watch what is really pornography presented as family entertainment. Again, my daughter and I are so lucky.

Still back in Spain prior to our repatriating, I stumbled upon a new field of study looking into the potential healing qualities of learning a musical instrument. The theory is that the ability to form sequences of notes, say on a piano, can build new neural pathways and potentially alleviate autistic traits. I immediately wondered if the rise in autism in children could, in part, be due to the decline in instrument learning. I bought an electric keyboard and sat my resistant PDA daughter at it every day and persuaded her to tap out four or five note sequences over and over again. At first, she could hardly even tap out one note but over time she got better. I also got her to dance with me step-to-step to help her learn how to keep a rhythm. We had lots of percussion instruments too and I then bought a ukulele, violin, recorders, etc.

I found she could copy whatever I learnt and was able to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in ten different ways on the violin having had no lessons. I persuaded her to practice this so that she could get up on the stage at her school's spring fiesta, the last one we would attend. I wanted her to show them all that she had talent they had failed to discover. I made her a costume and she got on the stage for the whole school to see and she did her turn to everyone's amazement. Teachers ran up to me asking me who had been teaching her, how long for, etc. They were shocked to discover she had taught herself.

Back in the UK, my daughter can now play the ukulele and the guitar, has written four songs and sings in the church choir. It took five years to go from being unable to dance to the beat or tap out a four note sequence to where we are today.

Back to gadgets...I didn't buy her all the gadgets most other children are given as though having them is obligatory nowadays. I didn't buy her an ipad, games console, laptop, TV, smartphone, hi-fi or even a radio. I realised that the entertainment industry was becoming darker and darker and I decided I was going to raise my daughter without it. I only exposed her to happy, fun or beautiful music and we only watched films I had checked first...lots of period dramas, old fashioned family films and retro TV shows such as Grisly Adams.

As time has gone on, I have witnessed from afar the degradation of the entertainment industry and the toy sector. I have seen video games become increasingly violent, sexually depraved and down right evil, music videos become violent, depressing or like soft porn, dolls become aggressive or like strippers... But I have not seen a parental revolt: parents keep buying it. Why? I know why...because parents generally do what they believe other parents are doing and, if they have never come out of the whole matrix of entertainment, they have never seen it for what it is. That's why it's vital that people like me have a voice and are heard, even if a lot of people don't like what they hear.

The highly sexualised gaming industry has had a very personal impact on my daughter and our lives. Without going into too much detail, an avid gamer relative sexually assaulted my daughter when she was six and he 15. Due to that and the repercussions it caused, I have disconnected from my whole family. But my strong feelings are not due solely to personal experiences.

Half an hour ago, someone on another post tried to convince me that the gaming industry was good for children's mental health. She recommended a book for me to read, written by a man called Joe Donnelly. I looked up Joe's social media to find out what makes the man tick, something that his books might not reveal: books often have a hidden agenda. Sure enough, I quickly found something that should send shivers up all parents' spines and make them more alert to deceiving people. He is a big fan of not only Grand Theft Auto (extremely blood thirsty and sexually depraved with rape scenes yet played by most boys from an early age) but also 'Silent Hill 4 The Room', a video game that I would not wish on my worst enemy, so evil it's beyond comprehension how anyone could play it without losing their minds. Here is a short clip of this video game but please don't watch too much of it

My aim with this post is not to point fingers or act holier than thou but to put to parents another option. My daughter's PDA makes life hard sometimes and I do worry about her future, but I am very grateful that I did not do what I felt was the norm but what I felt was for the best. I remember the enormous feeling of cognitive dissonance and almost guilt and shame for breaking away from the crowd in those early years. But I have no regrets now. Not only has she now got a potential route to a successful life (via the music) but she has escaped what I believe is an avalanche of depressing, degrading and violent content that has kept her mind free for other things.