Kids’ gaming habits may pay off

Me, Myself... as Mommy.
Brian Solomon holds his new baby while sitting at a computer in their home.
Courtesy photo
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One should be concerned when her 3-year-old runs upstairs to report she collected the soul of Diablo and other Lords of Hell before they destroyed the planet.

Scarlett has either joined some secret satanic cult in our basement, or she’s spending some “quality” time with her father on the computer.

It’s as if this latest generation is genetically engineered to not only understand technology sooner but also far better than those previous.

At 1 week of age, Scarlett was balanced on her father’s shoulder while he met up with his hoard to defeat the evil Ragnoros. If you didn’t understand that last sentence, don’t worry — like me, you don’t speak nerd.

At 2, Scarlett could scroll a mouse, click on the exact icon she needed and understood how to connect to the Internet with PBSkids as the home page.

She’s a regular gamer now, mastering the arrow keys on various games, spouting the verbiage that’s often associated with the sleep-deprived tech heads.

While I’m proud and impressed, I worry about the common pitfalls that come with dreaded “screen time.” What if she happens upon porn? What if she develops ADD? What if she gets fat? What if her eyes turn square? What if …

Benson has now been bitten by the bug. He likes to sit on my lap while I’m surfing the Net (looking at TMZ), clicking away on his unplugged mouse and keyboard, typing as if he’s running Wall Street. He has no interest in TV, but the computer could hold his gaze for hours if I allowed it.

Maybe it’s that feeling of control. Nonetheless, I worry what’s happening to his brain, but I’ve also heard arguments that the earlier the introduction, the better.

Computers, tablets and smartphones will be like shoes to a kid, a must-have to make it through the day-to-day. I remember when my parents let me take their brick cellphone in junior high. Kids with phones were of the upper echelons of coolness, while I still used the pay phone to call my dad collect.

Instead of saying my name, I would say, “Come pick me up,” then hang up while he declined the charges. Yeah, I was way techno-savvy, playing the man for a fool.

CTIA (an organization representing the wireless industry) found that 17 million teenagers use a cellphone every day, wherein they melodramatically claim their social life would die without this communication device that may cause brain tumors.

The same study claims eight out of 10 people have a computer — hell, we have five in case we need to throw together a LAN party at a moment’s notice. Never happened, by the way.

For those of you screaming, “What’s your point?,” here it is: I have intense guilt letting my 3-year-old (nearly 4) play video games, even if they’re “educational” or it’s time with dad.

I’m always harping about screen time, so when she turns into a cliché gamer who never leaves the basement except to go to 7-11 for some Dew, I can claim I did my due diligence.

Should I put my foot down and pull the plug, or embrace the future — which has some gizmo permanently installed in my kid’s hand?

So far she still practices good hygiene, reads a book, socializes with kids and keeps the gaming talk to a minimum. I can see the glint of pride in her dad’s face when he proclaims she holds a level 32 wizard in Diablo III.

I guess if the world does come to an end on Dec. 21, with the proclamation that Satan will rule, Scarlett will know how to capture and destroy his soul, saving us all.

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