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Why Video Games Can Be a Good Thing, From a Mom's Perspective

Updated on January 17, 2015
Nintendo Wii Remote and Nun-Chuck
Nintendo Wii Remote and Nun-Chuck | Source

Disclaimer

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

* Fitness

* Creativity & Imagination

* Problem Solving

* Social

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

Wii Fit Richard Simmons Edition
Wii Fit Richard Simmons Edition | Source

Exercise

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

World of Warcraft and Diablo III Art
World of Warcraft and Diablo III Art | Source

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

Super Mario Galaxy
Super Mario Galaxy | Source
My Husband's Fortress
My Husband's Fortress
Three of My Shelters
Three of My Shelters
My Husband's 8 Bit Mario
My Husband's 8 Bit Mario
My Skyway that Goes Around My Whole Map (World)
My Skyway that Goes Around My Whole Map (World)

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

5 stars for Minecraft

Social Skills

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

Nintendo Entertainment System Coffee Table
Nintendo Entertainment System Coffee Table | Source

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!

Parental Controls for Video Games

What about Your Family?

Do You Let Your Kids Play Video Games?

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's always interesting to hear different viewpoints on things like this. I agree, there are benefits to video games....like anything else, moderation and supervision go a long way in assuring that it remains a good thing. :)

    • profile image

      Peaches 2 years ago

      It's really awesome to hear that more girls are getting into gaming! I completely agree about the creativity and problem solving, those really are huge benefits of playing. The fitness games are also great! Thanks for posting.

      Ps where can I get that coffee table? haha

    • somethgblue profile image

      somethgblue 2 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

      As a 52 single Man that had NO videos games while growing up, I abhor them but since I think with my heart and try to keep my horizons broad, I thought I would read this article as an introduction to the authors work and because it was just about the only article that wasn't about her baby, besides the bar one and I stopped drinking ten years ago.

      First of all well written, to the point and broken up well for easy reading, good start. Since I really don't agree with playing video games or watching TV for that matter, I won't bore you with my perspective, suffice to say I can easily find more interesting real things to do to fill up my days.

      It seems you have found your niche which is important on HPs however I would like to see you branch out more and get creative, we readers don't have a variety of topics to choose from. You're a talented writer, spread your wings and fly, take a chance and share some other topics you enjoy, with us.

      I would be interested to learn why you chose to follow me, have you seen a UFO recently, been abducted by Aliens and taken to their home world or do you just love a good conspiracy?

      You mention that you have a creative side, so use your awesome writing skills to share this creative side with us. I would like to know if your child displays any abilities that might indicate they are special beyond the norm. Or if you could design a video game how would it work, what would it be called and what would the story teach us?

      Thanks for sharing your insight on video games with us, although it hasn't changed my mind it has given me a fresh perspective to ponder.

    • sparkster profile image

      Sparkster Publishing 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      I actually started making/programming computer games when I was about ten years old and was totally addicted then when I reached about 30 I lost interest in playing games because I didn't feel like I was getting anything useful out of it any more. However, studies have shown that certain games can indeed be very beneficial for certain things such as hand-to-eye co-ordination, improving eyesight and a lot more. However, I have also written here at Hubpages about how such technology can also be problematic and cause 'Nature Deficit Disorder' or lead people into becoming more narcissistic. I suppose it's the same with anything really though, it's all about having a healthy balance.

    • somethgblue profile image

      somethgblue 2 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

      Yes, living in Harmony with nature is where video games do the most damage to humanity but I would agree with the author that it may condone violence it certainly doesn't trigger it.

      It certainly is an interesting topic and I can see some benefits, even though I suspect it does limit our children's ability to develop their own imagination skills, as do videos.

      Obviously I prefer a good book.

    • ForLoveofCupcakes profile image
      Author

      Jamie Jensen 2 years ago from Chicago

      oooOOOooo I *DO* love a good book! However, I actually credit my childhood video gaming for contributing to my imagination, creativity and curiosity! Spending time in nature is also very important! Like @Sparkster said, it's all about a healthy balance!

      Thanks for your insights!!

    • sparkster profile image

      Sparkster Publishing 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Yep, I also prefer a good (non-fiction) book these days. Either that or a video documentary.

    • somethgblue profile image

      somethgblue 2 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

      What most people don't get, is it is all fiction from the Bible to text books, it is all 'His Story'. Even language was conceived of to control how we think and what we think, because we talk how we think and think how we talk.

      Let's take the word Evil, everyone has their own interpretation of the word but what if we spell it backwards, then what does it mean to us 'Live', which in essence is the exact opposite.

      No matter what we 'Believe' I prefer the word accept, because to believe was actually designed to make one accept a falsehood, allow me to explain.

      The Word BE LIE VE can be broken down into two words and a suffix, Be; describes a person or thing that exists, Lie; describes a falsehood or deception, Ve, is a suffix meaning the state of or action of.

      So when we tell ourselves we believe something we are in essence accepting the existence of a falsehood or deception. Think about all the times you have said to yourself I believe this or that. What we should really train ourselves to do is either say I know or don't know.

      Every single thought we have had in our lives, has already been thought of by a million people, a million times throughout the millions of years we have lived on this planet, nothing is new.

      So what is imagination but being able to draw from the one consciousness we have all created. Consider that we are God and that by 'worshipping' a being greater than ourselves we misplace our own power.

      When you consider these concepts you begin to understand why making videos/games and introducing symbolism into them keeps us permanently locked into another's agenda. Subliminal imagery in film, movies, TV, videos, games, phones, computers is the key to manipulating the masses without them even knowing about.

      Even our own language, remember the quote in the Bible and I paraphrase "Let us (plural) go down to 'Earth' and confuse their language." Most people think it was about creating many different languages all over the planet for different races but was it? Even our own language is designed to confuse us.

      Why would a single God refer to themselves as 'Us'?

      Pay attention to the Illuminati symbolism even in the most 'safest' of your children's video games and you will understand how deep the rabbit hole goes.

    • sparkster profile image

      Sparkster Publishing 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Ah yes, all very true but in actual fact it's a lot easier to manipulate the masses and to control minds through written words (i.e. books) than it is through videos, images, games, etc. In fact, linguistics is probably the most important part of Ericksonian/covert/conversational hypnosis - it relies very heavily on linguistics (NLP -Neuro Linguistic Programming) and any book could be manipulating you subconsciously with the use of embedded commands, presuppositions, generalizations and distortions but there's no way of knowing. Check out "the meta model" in NLP (which has been labelled as pseudo-science because it can be used highly effectively as a means of mind control) - as the saying goes, the pen is mightier than the sword.

    • sparkster profile image

      Sparkster Publishing 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      * also check out "the Milton model"

    • somethgblue profile image

      somethgblue 2 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

      I will, thank you, I feel a Hub article brewing . . .

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