Video Games Don’t Make My Parenting Skills Lazy

Showing a Microsoft xbox360 games console controller isolated on a white background

For Father’s Day, I asked my son to draw a picture that he thought his dad would like.

Here’s what he drew:

a boy's drawing

He drew something that he associated with his dad. An X-BOX controller.

Hours spent building his world in Minecraft. Time with his dad that he thinks of fondly. But it was a picture of his love for video games.

Aren’t I suppose to care how video games effect my child??

Of course, I care. I care tremendously.

I don’t want my child to love anything violent, that promotes pain, or creates desensitized feelings toward death. That’s the parent in me.

Games are fun. That’s the gamer in me.

Games are educational. That’s the teacher in me.

There is no right/wrong answer for each parent. You either do videos in your house or you don’t. One thing that I’m not. A banner of games. I’ll do as I see fit for my child.

My son can play the games I allow. He must earn his play time. He only gets an hour at a time AND video game time does not supersede more important things like playing with his toys, outside time and/or playing with his sister. As soon as it does, it goes away. For him.

However, when I watch what my son does on his current favorite game, Minecraft, I’m amazed at what he creates…

Castles complete with stairs, towers and hidden rooms with trap doors.

Crafting tools (a task in the game) and building stronger tools to perform specific actions.

Completing tasks and building worlds.

Sharing his inventory when he plays with someone new or sometimes his dad.

He’s younger than the age that the game is meant for but it’s something he does with his dad (and sometimes me) and he learns so much during our conversations.

Mom, did you know flowers can be used for dye?

Stone is stronger than wood.

Sleep recharges me and gives me energy

Unfortunately, the game does have violent tasks too. Shooting/hitting enemies. Killing animals for food. Etc. I watch him play and we talk about death and hurting people and things. We get honest. We talk about it every time.

I know plenty of people who game. They grew up with Atari and Nintendo. They blew on cartridges to get them to work. They stayed up all night trying to finish a level. They watched the guy in Pitfall get eaten by an 8-bit alligator.

It was a part of their childhood. As they got older, their taste in games evolved. They played with teams. They learned history. They connected with other people like them. I’m not talking the extreme ones who hide and play and plot evil things. I’m talking about those that are now adults with children of their own. Ones who want to share the things they loved.

They loved those games.

If you have video games in your house, great. If you don’t, that’s fine too. We do. We love them. We enjoy them and each other playing them. To date, I love playing the dance type games with my family and both my kids play Michael Jackson Experience like experts.

My husband refers to his “love” for the video game playing as “the want.” It’s his diamond right now. His favorite favorite.

I see it as the flavor of the month. Soon it will be replaced with another something. Right now, it’s time with dad AND a game.
One day his “want” will be freedom, a partner to love, building his own life. Dad and I won’t be his “want” either.

In the meantime, I let him play. On my terms.