Hey Inner Me, how you been?
Hey, I’ve been good.
Thanks for helping me to think through the issue of kids playing video games.
Ah, no problem. Anytime.
Lets begin by admitting that most of us played some type of video game growing up. Sure, they certainly don’t compare to the quality of today’s video games and we typically had to go to an arcade to play them.Â But, the reality is, however, we played and enjoyed them when we were much younger.
Somewhere along the way, and certainly after we became dads, we lost touch with video games and began to think of them as evil.Â The thought of our children wasting away their lives indoors with their heads stuck in a video game fills us with dread and concern.Â Going outside to play ball and run around is so much healthier. Right?
Huh? Well, I think so. Video games will ruin your eye sight, make you go crazy and kill people, or, at least, become more violent.Â They’ll turn you into a lazy, unhealthy, slacker.Â I can go on all day with this. Don’t you watch the news?!
Yes, I do watch the news, thanks.Â But don’t you think the news tends to always show the negative side of things?Â I mean, positive news is so rare these days.Â I find it’s better for me as a parent to think through things based on my own experience and research I’ve done.Â This is what I’m trying to do.Â Bear with me a little while longer?
Sure, didn’t mean to be so harsh. It must be my pre-programmed response based on outside stimuli.
No problem. Let me continue.
I’ve played Halo, Doom, and other first person shooters. I’ve played (play) World of Warcraft. Yet, I don’t feel I have developed suicidal tendencies or have grown callus to violence. Heck, not any more than I get from simply watching the evening news.
On the other hand, I’ve experienced the thrill of solving a tough in-game puzzle. My hand eye coordination was certainly improved.Â I’ve learned team dynamics and how to help others by playing team games.
Don’t you remember marveling at how the Son struggled through puzzles in his Pokemon game without giving up?Â How he has learned to communicate more with his buddies because he knows so much about Pokemon?Â How learning to play Guitar Hero has helped him develop his hand strength, hand eye coordination, and self-esteem?
Yes, of course I do. I guess you’re right. There are some positive things that can come from playing video games.Â However! I’m sure I can find many examples of how they seemed to detract from a young person’s life. Becoming obsessed with a game like World of Warcraft, is one example that comes to mind.
Sure. You’re right. Absolutely.Â Uncontrolled video gaming, like anything in excess, is not good for anyone especially kids.Â Any type of addiction is bad and this is no exception.
So, are we reaching the conclusion that what a parent should really be doing is being involved with their kids’ video game life? I mean, a parent should know what video games their kid is playing and how long they play it daily.Â I suppose setting play time limits and then balancing video game time with other activity (outside playtime, reading, coloring, etc.) would be best.Â Certainly, making sure the kid is playing age-appropriate games is also important. An eight year old playing Halo 3 is not a good thing.
Right, I think a parent should use video games as a learning tool for their child. The parent should speak to them about it. Heck, speaking to your child about something they are interested in and can relate to is wonderful. BUT, the parent should also set limits on game time and be prepared to adapt and respond quickly if they see a child becoming negatively obsessed with the game.
I think that’s correct.Â And, one thing you didn’t mention is being cautious about games where you kid can be targeted online by predators.Â Very important to use safeguards against that!
Oh, gosh, yes. That’s terribly important.
Well, thanks for the conversation, Inner Me. I think it’s really helped me think through this difficult issue.
Anytime. You know where to find me if you want to talk again.
All the best