Did you know that video games can actually be good for you and your family?
Growing up, I didn’t have much interest in playing video games. Sure, I occasionally played Sonic The Hedgehog on our Sega Genesis or Duck Hut on our Nintendo with my older brother but I didn’t find them as interesting or even important until I became a mom.
Speaking of Sonic – Seeing my son grow fond of Sonic when he was 4 years old was amazing! He even dressed up like Sonic for Halloween one year and only his Kindergarten teacher recognized the blue hedgehog. She was ecstatic and shared how her kids played Sonic growing up back in the early 90’s!
Back to video games –
My son started showing interest in video games when he was a toddler – that is when I quickly realized the importance of connecting with my son at this different level. Meaning, I need to understand him as an individual being, respect his interests (while informing him of age appropriate content), and most importantly …allowing him a platform to speak his feelings and emotions. Reassuring him, that his wants and opinions are important and that it plays a huge factor in our overall decision making process at home.
This is crucial to me because it is my duty to ensure he knows that he has his own feelings, opinions, and a voice.. and that his voice matters!
So, once he started sharing his interest in video games. I began to read up on the games he was most interested in. Of course, initially just checking for age appropriate ratings, watching him play, and asking him questions along the way. Then, I started to read more about the games to get involved and have conversations with him about the overall game, characters, and more. It started off with some games like: Sonic, Temple Run, Lego Movie, Lego Ninjago, Asphalt 8, Minecraft, Avengers, Splatoon, SuperSmash, Street Fighter, Fortnite, Overwatch, Roblox, Spiderman, and now Subnautica (I may have missed a few in between that he attempted to play but lost interest quickly after). He’s also playing educational games (to keep that mind sharp) during the summer to mix it up a bit while still being able to do what he enjoys!
My son (who is 11 now) still enjoys video games. However, it is one aspect of his day- he is still required to prioritize his daily school/summer work, read, help with chores, practice piano, set the table, set up/ break down boardgames (that we play after dinner), and take out the dog.
My husband also enjoys playing video games and plays a huge part in the more advanced subject of video game questions, haha!
I have also played a few video games in the past few years (#Knack) and started back up again (#TitanQuest) with the husband during the evenings!
Sadly, I often hear that video games are frown upon or looked down on in society. However, video games are beneficial exercises for your brain and has been proven to actually affect/impact different parts of the brain. For starters, the memory, spatial orientation (our natural ability to maintain our body orientation/posture), information organization, and fine motor skills in the brain are illuminated when playing video games and believed to help retain memory, focus, and mental sharpness!
In summary – having an open mind, instilling open communication, expanding your awareness, accepting different perspectives, and being patient can go a long way …while still having fun! A family that plays together, stays together.