Gavin and I are part of the Nintendo Kid Reviewers Program. We’ve received a Nintendo WiiU, Nintendo 2DS, and the new Nintendo 3DS XL (pictured left), plus a variety of games and amiibo characters to review. Any opinions shared are our own and other than product, no other compensation is being received.
Being a family that blogs, creates YouTube videos and photographs images for companies like Samsung, it’s pretty evident that my husband and I enjoyed adopting technology into our lives well before we said “I Do.” As parents, there is no way to shelter our son from our livelihood and reailty, so we’ve made the decision to expose Gavin to what he is interested in, but try to offer control by setting limits and boundaries, however we can, honestly learning as we go. Haters will hate, but this is our reality and I firmly believe the old adage, “anything in moderation” will help him also feel comfortable using technology in his own life.
Up until working with Nintendo, Gavin’s technology world included using an iPad mainly to play simple apps and watch television, as well as exposure to the variety of VTech and LeapFrog educational tablets within his age range.
Several years ago we traded in our original Wii for the idea of more active “controller-less” game play on an Xbox 360 with Kinect. It could have been his age, but he never really “kinected” with the Xbox in the same way he has recently with the WiiU, or should I really say with Mario Kart. For younger children I feel that the WiiU system is very intuitive, with a quick learning curve where children require very little help if any from an adult to turn the system on and play, unlike the Xbox.
As a parent with a child dabbling and emerging in the gaming world, Mario Kart for us has been clean, competitive family game night fun with changing alliances and unexpected camaraderie. I know someday I’m sure he will be begging me to play Call of Duty, but until now, I’ll relish in the innocence for as long as I can.
Gavin is 5-years-old and currently a reviewer of few words, but when I asked him what was so special to him, specifically Mario Kart 7 for 3DS and Mario Kart 8 for the WiiU, and why he isn’t always as interested in exploring some of the other games, here is what he said, “I love getting new people, new cars and new courses in Mario Kart.”
If you know little kids, the collectibility factor within Mario Kart is huge as kids play to earn trophies, customizable racing karts, characters, and accessories. He is driven to unlock as many features as he can. You can purchase additional features within the game, which we have done as a reward for good behavior at school, but he is immersed in the incentive process of what he can do to unlock more items.
I don’t know if it’s boys in general or just my child, but in the last 5 years we’ve learned a lot about Gavin’s personality, as we watch him negotiate life at school, at home, and now in sports. Spending time together playing video games, which are within the realm of his control, his character traits, both wonderful, yet often challenging, have really shined.
Gavin is a feisty, active, passionate, detail-oriented, uber-competitive, yet a sensitive little boy who is deathly afraid of Disney villains and could sit on my lap snuggling all day. Even though he hasn’t quite learned the art of turning off devices as easily as we’d like, which I think all children struggle with experiences they are passionate about, whether you are pro-video games or not, experiences and opportunities shape our interests and lives. We all need incentives, and during the school week we use his behavior at school as the gateway to his game play. No sticker at school, no video games that night.
Gavin often says that when he grows up he’d like to be a construction worker or police officer, and while I’m not minimizing either of these very important professions, since playing with video games and really understanding more about the online work our family does, he’s asking questions and making connections. Just the other day he asked, “Mommy do people make video games when they grow up?”
So yes, not only have we learned a little about his personality, we may have even gotten a glimpse of his future plans as an adult.
Here is some of the content we’ve created around Nintendo and WiiU:
Gavin and I are part of the Nintendo Kid Reviewers Program. We’ve received a Nintendo WiiU, Nintendo 2DS, and the new Nintendo 3DS XL, plus a variety of games and amiibo characters to review. Any opinions shared are our own and other than product, no other compensation is being received.