This semester I have struggled even more than usual to be timely about e-mail and certain other relatively simple online things. In part, this is an effect of going to WikiSym in September and starting the semester behind; also, virtually all my preps are at least somewhat new. But I’ve just realized over the past two mornings that the Wii plays a role, too.
Last spring, when I got tenure, I bought a Wii. My five-year-old gets 1 hour of screen time (dvd, computer, wii) per day, usually divided into 30-minute doses. Before the Wii, he would usually watch 30 minutes of something to wake up in the morning, and then again in the late afternoon to make it through until dinner. Now, though, he’d always prefer to play Wii over watching something. And usually, what we play is one of the varieties of Lego games–Lego Star Wars, Lego Indiana Jones, or Lego Batman. He likes them because their two-player mode encourages cooperation, rather than competition, because he gets ideas for building his own Lego worlds, and because they’re pretty cool. But if what he likes about the game is two-player mode, then he needs a second player. And so now, on weekday mornings, I play for 30 minutes with him.
You see the problem: In the past, when he was watching a DVD–especially something he’d seen 20 times before–I could do e-mail or whatever. Especially in the mornings, this was a useful way to stay on top of my inbox before disappearing into the classroom for hours.
I didn’t realize how useful that 30 minutes was until this week, when the boy lost Wii privileges for a week. (Not a big deal–repeated instances of a minor infraction . . . I don’t think he believed we’d take it away. Hah!) Just as he uses the DVDs to transition into the day, it is just enormously helpful to be able to point/click and do other e-mail-type things for a minute in the morning, before breakfast and getting him to kindergarten.
Maybe we should ban Wii in the morning? Then again, he wants this game, which *is* a lot of fun, for Christmas.