We play together without Wii
AS a professional musician working in regional Australia Vernon Baldwin loves technology, but as a dad he reckons it has its limits.
The Warwick-based father of five and his wife Sabrina have simple, but strict rules when it comes to television and electronic games.
“We let the kids play the Wii for 30 mins a day,” Mr Baldwin said.
“Obviously we think that's enough and we would prefer they spent most of their time outside playing real games or interacting with real people.”
The couple have a similar attitude to television.
“We let the kids watch an hour a day, that's usually after dinner and it's often a movie we can all enjoy,” Mrs Baldwin said.
The Baldwin's shrug off suggestions their rules are tough restrictions in this electronic era.
“I think sometimes there is a danger we will forget the joy that comes with life's simple things,” Mr Baldwin said.
“There's nothing like a game of cricket in the backyard or taking your kids out to Leslie Dam fishing a couple of times in the holidays.
“I like to think our choices are cost effective too.
“If you take a barbeque or a picnic out to the dam you're spending some quality time together as a family.”
The local couple don't make concessions to the timetable for holidays either.
“When you have five kids aged from 14 to three you need to have a plan or there's a lot of arguing about whose turn it is on the Wii,” Mrs Baldwin said.
And they agree their choices are based on their children's health, both physical and emotional.
It's a position supported by the Australian Heart Foundation.
Research by the Heart Foundation's Professor Jo Salmon indicates children aged five to 16 should spend less than two hours per day playing electronic games, watching television or using the computer.
Professor Salmon said longer periods of sedentary play have been directly linked to increase health problems.
She said children, who spent more time in active play, were likely to have better cognitive development, short term memory, and academic achievement and language skills.