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6th-grader calls out smartphone-loving parents over anti-video game lectures

15 Comments
By Casey Baseel, RocketNews24

I understand that an important part of parenting is setting boundaries for children. Until they reach a certain age, kids just don’t have the kind of foresight necessary to fully understand the consequences of all their actions, and letting preteens eat as many cookies as they want or stay up as late as they like probably isn’t the best idea.

That said, another important part of parenting is setting a good example. Fail to do that, and your kids are likely to just tune out everything you’re saying. Actually, that might be the best case scenario, since if you’re flagrantly guilty of not practicing what you preach, your kids might call you out for it, like one Japanese elementary school girl who pointed out her parents’ logical inconsistency in lecturing about keeping her video game playing to a minimum, even as they were glued to their own electronic devices.

Twitter user Re recently shared a snapshot (see below) of what appears to be a letter to the editor of a newspaper from a girl named Mizuki Sato.

The 12-year-old resident of Hyogo Prefecture is in her sixth and final year of elementary school and likes playing video games, just as many children her age do.

Mizuki’s parents, though, seem less than thrilled with her hobby. “When I play games, my parents always say, ‘Give it a rest; you’ve already been playing for an hour!’” she explains. While they’re definitely not the first ones to say that to their kid, though, Mizuki can’t help but notice her parents aren’t quite as strict with themselves as they are with her.

“But they’re always playing with their smartphones.”

It’s natural for younger kids to respond to every command by asking “Why?” as they test the bounds of their parents’ authority, whether consciously or subconsciously. In Mizuki’s case, though, she seems genuinely confused as to her parents’ reasoning when they chastise her for putting in a gaming session of over 60 minutes.

“They say, ‘It’s bad for your eyes to play games for more than an hour,’ but I think it’s bad for their eyes to use their smartphones for three or four. Having bad eyesight is just as big of a problem for adults as it is for kids.”

Mizuki goes on to say that her eyesight is fine, so is it possible her parents’ real concern is something else? Sixth graders don’t always display the best time management skills, and maybe they’re bothered by their daughter shirking her scholastic or household responsibilities to play games.

Except, once again, Mizuki insists that’s not what’s happening. “I only play games after taking care of everything I have to do first,” she explains. She even accepts that asking for the same freedom her parents enjoy with their four-hour-long smart phone marathons is more than her parents would be agreeable to. Instead, she concludes her letter by proposing a modest compromise, saying, “I think I should be allowed to play games for an hour and a half or two hours.”

Online commenters had the following to say:

“But maybe her parents are using their smartphones to take care of work emails.” “I thought they’d already disproved that playing games made your eyes bad?” “This elementary school kid is thinking more clearly than adult Twitter addicts.”

We’re not sure how the debate between Mizuki and her parents turned out, and it’s likely Mom and Dad wished their daughter was putting her debate skills towards a loftier cause than “I want to play more video games.” Still, the kid sounds remarkably responsible, intelligent, and articulate for her age.

Source: Toychan

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Japanese parents react to the technological prowess of their digital-native kids -- Is Japan overworking its teachers? One exhausted educator says, “YES!” -- Why are some Japanese preschools banning awesome, adorable character bento?

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15 Comments
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"like one Japanese elementary school girl who pointed out her parents’ logical inconsistency in lecturing about keeping her video game playing to a minimum, even as they were glued to their own electronic devices."

If they are sitting on their phones and constantly playing GAMES, then yes, to an extent. But you can't say that a kid playing Mario Kart instead of studying is akin to a parent reading an E-book on their phone, or perhaps reading a recipe or looking up the news. What's more, the parents HAVE their devices, and the kids theirs, because of the parents' accomplishments. If the kid's going to make that point, then take away their device until they have earned it themselves, if the parents want to make the point that the kids will not get to the place where they will earn a living if they don't stop playing. I understand the idea of leading by example, good and bad, of course, but this isn't necessarily one.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

This is similar to all arguments in a manner of speaking that kids make towards parents when parents are doing things that they tell their kids they can not do.

The girl has a fair point, and no one can assume to know just what the parents are doing on their phones either. It isn't fair to give them the benefit of the doubt when the child has done what she was supposed to do or what was expected of her prior to playing her games.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Sounds like the kid needs a slap.

-16 ( +3 / -19 )

I doubt her parents are spending all that screen time looking up recipes. Reading news or E-books is not necessary. And if the kid is 12, her parents may be of the generation that DO play lots of games on their phones.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Oh please. Kids playing video games for hours is nothing like adults staring at their phones.

Why not?

Because I said so, that's why.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

turobostat: "I doubt her parents are spending all that screen time looking up recipes. Reading news or E-books is not necessary. And if the kid is 12, her parents may be of the generation that DO play lots of games on their phones."

Doesn't matter if you doubt it or not, the fact of the matter is there are a LOT more things to do on a smart phone than play games. No, you don't HAVE TO read e-books at all, but guess what? a lot of people do! And in any case, if the parents ARE playing games, what of it? As I said, a parent telling a kid not to spend time on a game system -- solely for games, I might add -- instead of doing homework, is not the same as a parent who has come home from work or is done taking care of said kid for the day and is winding down with a game, is it? Next you'll be saying a six-year-old complaining about going to bed early because his or her parents are still awake late is valid.

What the parents should have done is taken the game console from the kid and said, "There. Now we're not doing the same thing at all now, are we?"

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

A kid at home has also come home from a day of work, especially after around 12 years of age, and generally a lot more intense work than many, many of the adults in their featherbedded cubicle jobs.

I did say E-books are not necessary either, right? Just for amusement, like news is. If the parent is studying the E-book for a new job maybe he's on parity on the kid doing its homework, but how often is that going to be the case?

Difficult for a parent to argue from authority, in that position. "I earned it! Check my gray hairs!"

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I imagine junior kicking back on the sofa with a beer saying, hell Dad you're always swilling down booze.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Still, the kid sounds remarkably responsible, intelligent, and articulate for her age.

Well then that's fine then. The kid has put together a reasonable argument, has thought things through and has a reasonable and concrete request, an extension from 60 minutes to 90 minutes in gaming time. This sounds like a reasonable discussion to have with her parents... but not in the local newspaper. It should have happened in the home, but you can't entirely blame the kid there, it may well be that the parents weren't listening at home.

onagagamoJan. 17, 2015 - 10:46AM JST Sounds like the kid needs a slap.

The kid puts together a well-thought-out argument, requests a quite modest increase in gaming time, and your response would be physical violence? ... please don't ever have kids.

The real story here is that parents should listen to their kids and be prepared to discuss issues. Rules need to be justified and explained, and if the explanation doesn't hold up under logical discussion then the rule needs to be modified.

Personally I see this as a very good sign, that this kid is questioning the rules in a logical and reasonable way, not just blindly following the rules like a sheeple.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

turbostat: "I did say E-books are not necessary either, right? Just for amusement, like news is."

So, what you're saying is that a child could counter a parent saying, "stop playing games so much" by telling the parents they are hypocrites for reading paper books -- you know, since reading is just for amusement and all that (don't kid yourself by thinking that because the medium changes the activity does as well).

" If the parent is studying the E-book for a new job maybe he's on parity on the kid doing its homework, but how often is that going to be the case?""

It would be EXTREMELY rare to see a kid doing homework on a DS or PSP, yes -- like never. A person reading for leisure on a tablet or cell phone, though, is NOT AT ALL the same thing as a kid playing video games. It's absolutely baffling that you think because technology comes into play with traditional hobbies or work that it's suddenly 'amusement'. Get real.

"Difficult for a parent to argue from authority, in that position."

Not at all. Not one bit. It's no more difficult than if a kid is reading comics instead of doing homework, while a parent is poring over an architectural draaft on the table and the kid says, "why should I read my textbook and do the assigned work when all you are doing is looking at pictures too?" Get it? They're BOTH looking at paper, so, by you're logic they are both just having fun.

What should the parent be doing, by the way, for them to justify saying their children should spend less time playing VIDEO GAMES? Should they be kneeling in front of an alter and chanting? perhaps sitting in a circle in the living room and discussing social issues (can't do that on a smart phone... wait... you can!)? Maybe sitting with a mug of tea and doing the accounting? (oh wait, you can do that on smart phones!)? Checking the weather forecast for what to put out for the kids clothes the next day? (ah wait, it's not just TV they can do that on -- something you're probably okay with -- but smart phones!)? Calling neighbours to see about PTA events for the kids (ah wait, they can do that by smart phones via chat applications!)?

And all the while a little girl says they can't do these things if she can't play the latest version of Girl Story -- because it's exactly the same thing!

Now, don't get me wrong. I think the kid is smart (maybe precocious), and it's good that she's questioning things, but they may not necessarily be the same thing at all, and obviously the situations for the two groups are different.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

"Traditional hobbies" are amusement, discussing social issues is amusement, reading paper books is amusement, reading paper news is, too.

"Do as I say, not as I do", and she called them on it.

If they were doing accounting or checking with PTA on their smartphones, they could just show her the screen, and say "See!!! SEE!!!"

But can't get away with that forever, if it's not actually what they're doing. Going to sit with back against the wall all evening just so the little sprout can't see what they're REALLY doing with "their four-hour-long smart phone marathons"?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

An hour to two hours doesn't sound so bad, but many hours sitting and staring at electronic devices is not good for children or adults--even sitting reading a book or working in an office for many hours regularly is not healthy.

If the parents took a better look at their own habits, too, it could be a good opportunity for everyone in the family to work together in everyone's best interest by getting some exercise or spending quality time together doing something active, even just for short periods of time. The whole family would probably be less stressed and healthier.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

More power to this girl. When I was kid, there was nothing I hated more than my parents berating me about playing games, which teach you thinking skills and hand-eye coordination (which comes in handy as I'm a drummer / musician) while they were glued to the tube watching sitcoms. I can understand they want to unwind because they had to work all day, but playing a game is 100x better in my opinion than drooling in front of a TV.

If anything looking at a tiny smartphone screen versus a TV screen is way worse for your eyes.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I might agree with some of these comments. The question is what are they all doing with their "smart"phones? Some might be learning/ reading, but I think they are in the minority.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That's like parents telling their kids to wear a helmet and putting helmets on their kids while riding a bicycle but they never set an example by using one. Or like one "moral" class I saw at a school I was working at. The teachers spent an hour telling kids why smoking is bad for your health and about 10 other people from the board of education joined as well. As soon as the class finished (4th period) absolutely every single BoE oyaji and teacher that attended and taught the class went to the school's gate to do what? Yep. You guessed right, to smoke. And just where all the students could see them.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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