Parental Confession: My Two Year Old is a Gamer

Think your kids are too young to enjoy games? It isn't always as straightforward as you may think.

We talked about it a lot, my husband and I: how young is too young for our lovely little kidlings to pick up the sticks? More than just a broken controller, of course -- that's old news 'round these parts. Even ridiculously simple baby apps are commonplace here. We came up with some concrete set of ages. I couldn't tell you what ages for what types of games because it was all BS. You can't come up with some set in stone bounds, years and years beforehand. You figure it out as you go -- wing it, even. Don't look at me like that. I know we're not the only ones.

What I do remember, though, is that none of our magical ages was two. Or, I'm sorry -- two and a half. That half is a lot when you've only got a couple of years to your name.

But, yeah -- two-and-a-half: not quite sure if our oldest is ready for some of those V-Tech devices that parents will claw each other's eyes out for around the holidays. He certainly can't grasp the concepts of a lot of titles, and he is not, not, not ready for violence. That's all we really knew, and damn if we weren't sticking to it. Despite his pleas for our fully functional controllers, he was shut down. And I do mean shut. Down. By his reaction, you'd think Calliou got freakin' canceled. It was that sort of passion and ferocity. 

But one night, the end of a long, obnoxious, chaotic day, I'd had enough of being the boy's wrestling practice dummy:

"For the love of...here. Take it. Cars. Enjoy."

I was whipping and weaving and wrecking my way through Need for Speed: Most Wanted in rides I could only dream of owning (let alone crashing). However, surprisingly enough, the experience is only so fulfilling if someone's trying to Boston Crab you all the while -- some Walls of Jericho type 'ish. Okay, exaggeration. But he was trying!

Anyway, I gave him a toddler-sized rundown on the controls:

"Press this one to go! ...No, this one. You got it? Okay, now this one to make it go whichever way you want."

He didn't quite get the last one. Short fingers. Pffft, babies.

When he got it going, his little face beamed with pride. He didn't get (or care) about pulling off death-defying, how-did-you-survive-that stunts. All he knew was that the car was yellow (his fave -- file that in your memory bank), and that oh me, oh my, that car is fast! Vroom, vroom, bitches.

And that's what shook me from at least some of my new parent, black and white stupidity. It's the scope, genius! Their scope matters! The level at which they can comprehend and relate to the game matters more than their age. Obviously I don't want him going to preschool talking about running from the cops, but he doesn't get that. 

"Oooh, they're helping people, mommy!"

That they are, my man. That they are.

Featured Columnist

Imayen Etim is a freelance writer and GameSkinny contributor based in Gainesville, Florida. She can be contacted at imayen.e [at] gmail.com

Published Apr. 26th 2013
  • Ste Grainer
    Featured Correspondent
    Hmm, sounds like I might need to pick that one up for our two year old. :) My wife and I had the same type of plan before we had a toddler. "Yes, we'll wait until he's at least 4 or 5 years old to introduce him to any sort of video games."

    And then he discovered our "Appad". At first he was content to simply browse through photos and videos of himself. Then we got one of the Sesame Street interactive books. Now he either wants to go outside and play ("Yay! Parenting! Boo! Pollen!") or stay inside and "Play A" - his most recent alphabet game obsession.
  • Imayen Etim
    Featured Columnist
    I'll have to check out those Sesame Street books! Mine are obsessed with "Melmo" and the crew. We also tried the ABC Mouse site that's advertised on PBS and Sprout, but my oldest wasn't really feeling it and our youngest is a bit too young.

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