Why Video Games Can Be a Good Thing, From a Mom's Perspective
Some video games are TERRIBLE for kids! Don't read this hub as: "Why all video games are great for kids"; that is not what I'm saying.
Please do not buy Grand Theft Auto (any number) for your 8 year old. Please, please don't.
Skills Video Games Teach
* Creativity & Imagination
* Problem Solving
My Gaming Life
I've been playing video games my whole life, and I think I'm a better, more well-rounded, and creative person for it. Hear me out!
Granted, the games I play / played are pretty tame: all Super Mario Brothers games, Doom, Minecraft, Final Fantasy, Spyro, Snowboard Kids 2, World of Warcraft, The Sims, Sim City, to name a few.
WiiFit: Gaming for Fitness
Yes, it's important to get outside for exercise sometimes, but exercising indoors is great too! Using games like Wii Fit, your kids can work out while playing video games!
Nintendo Wii and WiiU, as well as XBox360 and XBoxOne have sensor systems that you hook up so your kids can do work outs or play games like baseball and tennis.
One of my husband's favorite games (which I am *terrible* at) is Dance Dance Revolution. They have Disney versions and others that are specifically for kids. You buy the dance pad and play along as the screen shows you where to step along with the music.
This is similar to watching fitness and dancing DVDs.
Awesome Video Game Artwork
Creativity & Imagination
I consider myself a creative and artistic person, and I find video games VERY inspiring! They have become a legitimate art form. Some of the landscapes I've seen in Super Mario Sunshine / Galaxy and in World of Warcraft are breathtaking!
The storytelling is also very creative. Writing is a wonderful industry to get into; I have more fun writing than doing anything else for my career. Creative Writers get inspiration from many places, and there's no reason video games can't be one of those sources.
You might laugh, but characters are developed quite well in many of these games. In some, you develop your own characters and in others they are developed for you.
Gorgeous Landscapes in Video Games
Problem Solving and Math Skills
When you're enjoying other entertainment media, you are an inactive observer, but in video games, you are an active participant. You have to figure things out: where to go, what to do next, how to solve the puzzle you've come across, etc. Even though it can be a ton of fun, and it's not directly an "educational game", the problem solving you have to do MAKES it educational.
I recently watched a documentary called, Video Games: The Movie on Netflix, and one of the things they were talking about was how we're afraid of making mistakes, and we want everything we do to be perfect. Video games provide a "safe space" to work out problems and build things.
Minecraft is an awesome video game that can be played on the computer or XBox console. It isn't graphic at all, though you do fight monsters, and kill animals for meat, and in it, you mine underground, and build things. If you can imagine it, you can build it in Minecraft. You can do ANYTHING; it is such a creative game!! Some of these Minecraft structures were created by myself, and others are by my husband.
My Minecraft Rating
Many people think of playing video games as an anti-social activity, but games are getting more and more social! Your kids can play with others in the same room by either taking turns at a one person game, or they can play multiplayer games together. Now, gamers can also play together in separate places. Gaming is GLOBAL!
People have gotten married and had kids as a result of meeting through World of Warcraft!
My brother and I bonded over play Super Mario World and other games on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System as kids. I still have him over for game night sometimes.
In high school, all kids can't be star athletes. Some kids don't have any interest in playing sports at all (like my husband and I), and that is OKAY. Non-athletes should be able to play games and build self-esteem, and make friends that way without being labeled as hermits or recluses, etc.
Girls can be gamers too; I'm proud to be a girl gamer. For some reason, people seem to think (myself included until a couple of days ago) that the gamer community is mostly made up of boys, but it's not true. A recent study found that "47% of people who play video games are female." (Video Games: The Movie)
Best Coffee Table I've Ever Seen
Video Game Misconception
Video games don't cause people to become violent. Plenty of people are very violent without having ever picked up a controller, and most people who play video games aren't violent at all. They made a great case for this argument in Video Games: The Movie, but my favorite point was made by Cliff Bleszinski: It's like saying that because more crime occurs in the summer, and more people eat ice cream in the summer that eating ice cream causes crime. He says, "That's not how legitimate scientific research works".
Set Safety Limits
If you're still worried about video games causing your kids to be anti-social or violent, you could allow them to play, but with your own parental restrictions. Here are some ideas to ensure that game-play is safe.
Set time limits - Allow your child a certain amount of time per day to play video games. You could also set stipulations like homework must be completed first or kids must play outside as well.
Monitor the games - I don't think video games cause violence, but that doesn't mean I like violent video games. Video games come with ratings (E for Everyone, MA for Mature, etc), which you, as a parent, can use to guide or select which games your kids are allowed to play.
It's all about balance, and some of these games can get addicting. Just be a parent, and pay attention to whatever your children are interested in. I used to love it when my parents would watch me play my favorite games; maybe your kids would like to show you as well!