254: Hypocritical Mommy

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It is perfectly possible to nurse your newborn and play "Total Annihilation" at the same time, as long as you have a comfortable chair to sit in. Don't ask me how I know this.

On raising a geek: I think all parents want to raise little copies of themselves, slightly improved. Our children are just lucky that their parents can help them out when they get stuck on a difficult level!

I can understand the points being thrown around here. But then again I feel that some people here are being far too strict (an hour a day... yeesh) so as an example I present what happend to me.

This was my life:
I learned how to read by watching teletext at about 1.
I played my first game at 2 (super mario world).
I frequently spent around 6 hours a day gaming on school days, more on weekends and I still do.

Yet my acheivements in life consist of:
Always being the fastest reader in my classes (due to learning to keep up with the teletext)
Taking the maths test you normally take when your 11 years old when I was 7.
Consistantly being in the top three best students at science and maths.
Getting the best in school 3 times and a gold 5 times in the UKMT maths challenge.
Getting an A* for maths and biology and an A in physics and chemistry in my GCSE's.
I'm currently working towards 4 A-B grade A-levels in maths chemistry physics and biology
If I go to University I will be doing a four year course of maths with a focus in pure mathematics.

I credit almost all of my success in life so far to my extreme amount of video games and I honestly believe that with out my games and tv I would alot stupider than I am now.

So there you have it. Proof I feel that gaming is not only not bad for you but actually very good for you.

So I'm listening to a random podcast last night. Escape-pod (the sci-fi podcast) and it happens to be a story by a name that seems a little familiar.

All too quickly I realise that the Mur Lafferty here and the one who narrated pseudopod for such a long time are the same person.


If you see Steve Eley, tell him he's a legend too.

....I'm going to have to reread your article now... seeing as you are a literary person yourself... you must have meant something else...


"Steve Eley, the brilliant mind behind the first podcast fiction magazine, is stepping down from Escape Pod, and I'll be taking his place."



Mur you legend... I'm just catching up on the recent news.


You know its parents who DON'T regulate the content that their children are exposed to, who are opposed to violent video games, promote game bannings and are up in arms about the R18 classification issue. They are lazy about their parenting so they instead do something totally productive, and complain about everything in gaming.


This is both sad and true unfortunately...

Pokemon is a plural unto itself.

Mur Lafferty:
But like I said, I'm an adult. No one is here to keep me from destroying my brain. Personal responsibility goes a long way past eating well, not drinking too much and not spending all your money on house boys and blow.

Holy crap... You have to be the coolest mother ever! ADOPT ME!

A very well written and thoughtful piece. I need to spend more time in front of books and other things as opposed to the xbox or pc as well. I'll get there eventually.

I'm actually working on this myself. As a film maker and general media hound I spend alot of my time keeping up with what's going on in the entertainment industry. I get lost on the internet. But not always in a helpful way. I have come up with a self imposed limit on random web surfing. That way my time is spent being productive. If I'm watching something it's usually for a blog review, if I'm on the net, it's usually to blog that review. I am determined to read everyday again. Because my bookshelf is bursting with books I want to read but haven't yet.

This article is a very good read and helped me reaffirm that I was right in making my self imposed rules. Which indeed are sometimes hard to keep up with.

Part of the reason why parental figures often need to impose hypocritical rules on children are simply because the needs of children as they develop are different to a fully-developed adult.

This is exactly what I thought when I read this article.

Kids are kids. They grow up quickly and there is a lot they have to learn. We need to teach them reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic, we need to teach them self-discipline, patience, fairness, respect, and all those other things we sometimes forget ourselves. They don't know what's good for them and their morality is entirely selfish. As parents, we need to establish clear rules that steer children in the direction they need to go. If that means setting time limits on video games so that we can make sure they also read books and play with their friends, then that's what we have to do. But do we need those same things as adults?

Some of us do. Every week there is a story on The Escapist about somebody losing their job and family due to a video game addiction. But for every irresponsible gamer, there are thousands of us who can keep a comfortable balance between TV, video games, work, family, and everything else in our lives. Part of what gives us adults that freedom is that we know how much is too much, unlike our children.

If you think you spend too much time in front of the TV, then you have to be willing say "Enough". If it means you have to set limits for yourself (like people who hide their credit cards), then that's what you have to do. But don't feel like this is something that we all, as adults, should be doing.

It's also important to remember that the screen isn't our enemy. Watching sitcoms all day will certainly rot your brain, and playing video games -- though not a bad thing itself -- is only exercising a small part of what we all need, but there are lots of things you do with that screen that are completely healthy. For example, you work in front of a screen all day. Does that mean you already spend too much time in front of it? Not at all. Working is one of those things we have to do, and whether it's swinging a hammer or tapping keys, as long as you are working, you are doing what needs to be done. That shouldn't stop you from coming home and relaxing with a movie or a video game. If you're like me, I bet you also spend a lot of time reading online. Is it a bad thing that you read online rather than with a book? I don't see that being a problem -- it's just a different medium.

Many things in our lives are now done through computers. Just because you read books online or write with a keyboard and monitor instead of pen and paper doesn't mean you are neglecting to keep up with reading and writing.

If you can stay in shape, keep up with friends, take care of your family, hold up a job, and keep your mind sharp, you are doing just fine. Go ahead and play video games or watch TV. As long as those things aren't interfering with the rest of your life, you have no reason to be concerned.

As for the lessons you are teaching your child, there's nothing hypocritical about holding yourself to a different standard than your child. You each need different things in life and hold different responsibilities. Rather than the "I say so" response, be honest with your child and explain the differences. Otherwise, they'll grow up with the same, "I don't need to follow the rules when I'm an adult" belief, when really, it's not about following rules, it's about knowing what rules you need and enforcing them yourself.

I remember when I was younger, I'd say about 10 or 11, I had a neighbor who was a total geek. Her husband owned the biggest comic book collection I had ever seen, and she was constantly on the PSone with the role playing games. It was a great experience for me 'cause up until then I was just into games like Crash Bandicoot. Problem with all that, now that I remember is that they had two little kids who almost seemed to come 2nd to everything else. I wouldn't say they were negligent parents, but it makes me think of how I would've grown up if my parents had spent their time playing Tekken instead of teaching me the alphabet.

Self control rules are good for everyone. Thanks for the stimulation to put them in practice

Yep Mur after reading this again, there is something you should know.

Media includes books. For kids, sure - make em read, because the vast majority of the worlds knowledge is written down, and they need to learn.

For adults, spending an hour entertained by reading is different only in detail to watching TV.

Unless what you are reading is academic. I'd make exceptions there, but I don't see many people subscribing to JSTOR so they can read random journals in their spare time. (Ironically you'd have to do that through a screen.)

You know, you mention Final Fantasy 7 and I can't believe you didn't make the connection with reading, because that game was a book. There was so much reading in that game, it was basically a virtual book.

I am so far behind and yet I want to leave a comment here, I doubt it will be read by anyone but still I feel the urge to write something here.

I only recently spotted this article in the "best of" section and read it, which is my excuse for my tardiness in leaving a comment.

Although I am not a parent myself, allot of my time working and even out of work is spent with children, members of my family have children, and my friends, my work involves teaching children sports (Technically martial arts, I am somewhat loathe to call it a sport), and so I find myself spending allot of time with children.

I can certainly sympathise with your hypocritical problems Mur, and I agree whole heartedly that allot of the things we see as "normal" or part of being an adult are powered by a mind set that is whole heartedly childish if we take a moment to pause and look back upon it.

I experienced this rather shockingly strongly when I first stepped into the role of a martial arts teacher, I was assisting as a secondary instructor in a lesson and I was dumpped rather quickly into the role of diciplinarian as I had to correct children for misbehaving and messing around during lessons. One student I had to tell off and I gave pushups to because he was talking while the instructor was talking, a common rule in martial arts classes. He came up to me and asked me why he had to do push ups for taling over sensei, when I didn't, I thought back over the lesson and realised that often while sensei was talking I was chatting with other assistant instructors. In truth the child wasn't misbehaving, he was emulating behaviour he had seen and thought was ok. Since that day every time I talk over a sensei running a class, even as a senior instructor observing a younger instructor, I still give myself push ups to remind myself it is bad manners, unsafe, and insulting to talk over a person who is running a lesson.

Why did I not give myself push ups before this child confronted me over the double standards I had. Simple, I did not see them as double standards, I did not see that I was running on the rule of "I am big, you are small, I do what I want, you do as I say." I did not understand that I was setting a double standard because I was too wrapped up in my own little world.

What was the point of that story I hear everyone who ends up reading this cry... simply really, what my big mistake, and my big problem was, was not the double standards but the fact I did not recognise them.
When we recognise our hypocrasy and out double standards between adults and kids we can think about whether they are deserving or whether they are needed. Some double standards are needed, in an adults class or when I am in class, I do not call a water break every 15 minutes, but with kids I must because the kids aren't able to feel when they are heading towards dehydration and heatstroke and their bodies aren't as resilient to it. That is a needed hypocrasy, to care for the kids, but then it is also common in a new adults class for me to remind all students at the begining to drink to protect themselves from such things.

So with your hypocrasy about time on electronic media, you need to make a more informed judgement for yourself, should you spend 20 hours a day watching TV, of course not, but is it ok to spend time relaxing of course. Does an rpg that is text heavy count as a book, of course not, but does it exercise your reading and vocabulary and maths, yes.

When your child is young, yes limit time on games and things, because children find it hard to put down things they really enjoy, and indeed you can be a bit hypocritical yourself without doing any real damage, but as your child gets older, explain to them the benefits and negatives of games and books and all sorts, and slowly list the limitations, give your child more choice and responsability, and get a bit less hypocritical as you go.

I find children do well with responsability, as long as it isn't given too quickly.


I saw this in the "recently posted" thing and just thought to check it out. Just wanted to say that i read it and found what you said really interesting. I too doubt that many will see this post so I would like you to know it was really good.

I too read this article later than everyone else and found it really interesting. Having just turned an adult (and reading this as a "child") I cannot really say much about this hypocrisy but as Galaktia pointed out, it is something we just does not notice, and that applies to more then just adults/children, but a lot of other issues too.




Thanks for the comment Zapper dude, Glad you liked the post.

Thank God I have no children, I probably would be a terrible parent.

Childhood = 16 years
Working/Senior HS/Uni (most probably a combo of the two) = 16 - 25
Working life 26-70
FREEDOM (I mean, retirement) 70+

Don't you think it's sad that your opinion of life is to spend the first 70 years learning and working your ass off, so one day you can stop?

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