Is Your Kid a Video Game Zombie, Too?

video-game-zombiesI once watched a dear young girl turn into zombie before my eyes.

It wasn’t on a Very Special Episode of “The Walking Dead.” This was real life.

She was the kind of kid any parent would want – sweet, smart and mannered. When she got her hands on a handheld video game, though, she changed. Suddenly she was transfixed by that small screen, her normally affable nature turned into something less joyous.

Zombie, I tell ya!

Now, I’m seeing that transformation with my own children. Our boys have fallen hard for video games. We don’t have one of those fancy, high-tech systems yet. For now, they play some basic games on Daddy’s tablet. And as much as our sons love their TV time, their passion for video games seems even stronger.

It’s like they’ve been bitten on the leg and the zombie transformation isn’t complete … yet. Just like that undead switch, the transition will happen sooner than later. Then, we’ll have two young zombies under our roof.

Like Father, Like Sons

I certainly can’t complain too much. As a teen, my favorite magazine was Electronic Games. I’d haunt our local pharmacy close to the day a new issue was set for release and scan the shelves a half-dozen times to spot it. I went from Atari to Intellivision to ColecoVision, each time my passion for video games intensified. Heck, I remember the thrill I felt when our cousins gave us their discarded Pong setup. Yes, I’m that old.

So I can’t judge my children in this digital arena. What I can do is draw some boundaries for them to follow.

For starters, our boys typically earn their video game time. We make sure they do a set amount of homework. Once that’s completed to our satisfaction they can get their game on.

RELATED: Best Ways to Manage Screen Time for Your Kids

We use our kitchen stove’s timer to ensure the rules. We’ve been leaning on that simple device for just about everything parent-related, so this seemed like a natural progression for us.

We’re also careful about the games we let them play. Some competitions are too complicated, while others get a mite bloody. And for economical reasons we’ve embraced the “free to play” phenomena. These tablet-based games don’t cost a dime to download. If you want to pick up fancier cars, gadgets or other in-game perks, though, you need to pay up.

That’s a no go for us at the moment. We help enforce those rules by tapping into the tablet’s parental controls setting. Let’s just hope they never learn the lyrics to this unstoppable ditty.

We’ll always have video game zombies under our roof. But they won’t move as fast as they did in “World War Z.” Instead, they’ll be kinder, gentler type of zombie. They may even nibble, not bite. It’s the best we can hope for in this video game apocalypse.

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