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The PA Report - The challenges, and hypocrisies, of raising kids in a gaming house

DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin

imageThe PA Report - The challenges, and hypocrisies, of raising kids in a gaming house

I found a copy of Batman: Hush under my son’s mattress yesterday. He’s 11 years old, and he knows the rules about what comics he’s allowed to read, and which are off-limits.

Read the full story here


Dog on
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Posts

  • FoggenFoggen Registered User regular
    You're squeezing too hard.

    iconmasterThanatos2kAfroOfDoomChimneyImpregtocommentskeetshart69
  • iconmastericonmaster Registered User regular
    My son has to earn his video game time by practicing his violin. As much time as he practices, that's the time he gets to play Minecraft on the weekend.

    Like Ben, I "fondly look back on the afternoons I spent gaming with no care for the length of my sessions." But I'm awfully strict about how much -- and which -- games get played in my house. Kids often hear about really mediocre, licensed games (Iron Man!) from their friends, then want to get them. I explain that I know which games are the really good ones, and we only get those.

    Brym
  • jimmyjames70jimmyjames70 Registered User
    Excellent post. Really resonated with me. I'm a dad of 6-year old twins and they are heavy into games much like me. The scene you wrote about the kids sneaking up behind you, when they should be sleeping, and watching you play violent games has happened to me more than once. Right now, they are happy with Minecraft and the LEGO games, but in a few years they'll start asking for the more violent games and I'll have to come up with an answer why it's OK for me but not them. As for being strict, I simply tell them to do homework first and to be well behaved, then they can play.

  • collincollincollincollin Registered User new member
    It's good that you try to share things from your childhood. I'm 21 and grew up with everyone around me owning game systems of some kind, but I wasn't allowed to get anything til I was 10, and that was a GBC with Pokemon Gold, which was the only game I could play. I don't really feel like I missed out on much, because I was able to go back and play things I missed out on when I was younger; but I remember my dad sharing his love for Star Wars, or my mom having me read the Hobbit and LotR. Your kids probably won't think those things are as lame as you fear they will (they'll might say they do for a few years), but those things will stay with them.

  • BaravisBaravis Registered User regular
    @iconmaster That's genius.

  • Exley97Exley97 Registered User regular
    "We watch The Rocketeer together, because sharing these parts of me is much easier than talking."

    +100 for that comment. As a new-ish parent with a kid who's not nearly at the age yet where this would apply, I found this statement eerily prescient in a weird way because I can see myself very easily doing the same thing. Except instead of the Rocketeer, it will probably be Alien/Aliens. Yikes.

  • rainbowhyphenrainbowhyphen Registered User regular
    Let us not let the fact that we learned from our mistakes prevent us from teaching with them as well.

    raise-this-arm-to-initiate-revolution.png
    BrymjeblucasThanatos2kAfroOfDoomChimneyImp
  • apollyonbobapollyonbob Registered User regular
    @iconmaster But without the experience of playing truly awful games, will they be as well-rounded?
    I mean it costs money, but it might be worth saying "This game is amazing. Alternately, this game is Iron Man. You can pick between one of these. Choose wisely."
    And when Iron Man is a total POS, you can grow a long beard and intone, "You have chosen ... poorly."

    AfroOfDoomHarinezumi
  • hauz_20hauz_20 Registered User regular
    When I was in grade school my friends and I would trade NES games AND Bruce Coville books back and forth incessantly. I'm glad to think we weren't the only kids doing that.

  • enderandrewenderandrew Registered User regular
    My daughter is seven and just really starting to get into video games. She wants to play Wii or on the PC with all of her free time. We have no problems with her finishing her homework, but my wife is concerned and thinks she needs breaks from video games.

    As a child, I spent a large chunk of my freetime playing on the computer or NES. I don't think it hurt me or held me back.

    I certainly don't let my daughter play M titles or watch R-rated movies. But I don't think I need to limit exposure to electronics, as they are somehow inherently harmful or detrimental.

    AfroOfDoomLGscoundrelHarinezumi
  • Taggart451Taggart451 Registered User regular
    While this is something I've never talked about with anyone, I find this beautifully written. Being in my mid-twenties and not married, kids aren't something I'm planning on within the near future. But I still would like them some day, so while I don't have anyone to share my thoughts with I still have them. I wonder the same kinds of things, how to raise children around this lifestyle I'm immersed in. Not that anything is right or wrong about how you raise your kids, it's just one way. Most parents just do their best to raise their kids into good people, and that's all I can hope to do as well. I've always known that I'm not the only one to have these kinds of thoughts, but it really is something else to finally see my own questions written down.

    Keep it up.

    ChimneyImp
  • Walt JayWalt Jay Registered User new member
    As a child, I didn't have a NES (although my neighbors did) and I played almost exclusively Sierra On-Line games. I credit my typing skills and strange sense of logic to playing all of those adventures game. ;)

    For my own son, he plays some video games, but his interests are pretty broad (so far at least). As far as what he can play when or what's appropriate for age, I will draw a harder line there, but playing video games as a hobby, I will continue to do what I do now: all things in moderation.

  • BrymBrym Registered User regular
    My daughter is now 1, so this is an issue that's on my mind. I'm not yet sure what kind of rules I want. On the one hand, I want her to develop an imagination, be a strong reader, and be more athletic than I was. And video games are like candy in a lot of circumstances. They offer easy and addictive rewards, but less long-term nutrition.

    On the other hand, there is the danger of creating forbidden fruit. I had strict limits on my gaming time growing up; my brother who is nine years younger than me did not. Today he is a sporadic gamer, while I'm a hard-core addict. But then again, that could just be our personalities and have nothing to do with the forbidden fruit effect.

    I also don't think that video games *necessarily* have to stunt creativity. My brother used to spend hours watching me play Might and Magic VI and VII on the PC and it expanded his creativity. It inspired him to make up his own D&D-style games that he would play with his friends on the playground in elementary school. And when he got a little older, he started DMing a real D&D campaign for his friends.

    I also think that playing Minecraft is just as good as playing with real-world legos in terms of the creativity and spatial reasoning skills that it encourages.

    I guess where I'm leaning is to have no hard limits by default, but plan to spend time encouraging her to participate in a wide range of activities, and resort to hard limits if video games become all-consuming for her.

    ChimneyImp
  • DashXeroDashXero Registered User regular
    @Foggen

    I'd say he's squeezing just hard enough. I don't even have kids, but if I did, I wouldn't let them play games willy-nilly. Nor would I be lax about their game-playing habits. I'd be just as strict as Mr. Kuchera - if not more so.

    And the culture? Forget it.

    It's one thing to be a twenty-or-thirty-something that grew up with little or no internet, few games, and television. We are the people who shaped the culture. But, we've shaped it in such a manner that it's really only viable for us. You can expose your kids to gamer culture, but they'll almost certainly be fucked up as a result. I mean, most "non-gamers" look at us and wonder, "how do they function?"

    So, we actually come to an odd place. We can't just let them do what they want. Even with the "proper" instruction, they'll be more likely to do what you don't want them to do. You can't just forbid them to play - I mean, games are awesome. So, realizing the perils, the only reasonable thing to do is monitor and restrict.

    nephilim42Thanatos2kChimneyImpAfroOfDoom
  • iconmastericonmaster Registered User regular
  • CutttoothCutttooth Registered User
    Fantastic article!

  • jovialbardjovialbard Registered User regular
    I don't have kids yet, but we're working on it. From my own experiences growing up I would say if you want to limit how much your children play games, give them an alternative. In highschool I did a fairly limited amount of gaming because I spent most of my time doing theater. There are a lot of activities out there (dance, sports, music) that can create a commitment and social opportunity without artificial parental defined restrictions, thus potentially creating the "forbidden fruit" effect another reader mentioned. I suppose its a matter of strategy on that account.

    BrymGav082
  • Thanatos2kThanatos2k Registered User regular
    I had a fine Saturday tradition of waking up early and silently creeping down the stairs, then playing video games for a couple hours before my parents woke up. If any parents think your kids aren't doing something similar, you are just fooling yourself!

    ChimneyImp
  • Yeah WriteYeah Write Registered User regular
    When I was a kid, my parents used a kitchen timer. They set it for 30 minutes and when it went off, you either let someone else play (I have two brothers), or you go outside and do something else. They made sure to supply us with other distractions too, like a basketball hoop, bikes, and a trampoline in the back yard. We had other things to do that were just as fun as video games.

    To this day, even when I have nothing to do, I can't spend more than an hour and a half playing a game without feeling like I should stop and do something else, and 9 out 10 times, I do stop.

    When I was a teen and my mom came in and saw us playing Resident Evil 2 she made us go back to Blockbuster and return it. She stood behind us while we told the clerk (who rented it to us hours earlier) that it was too violent. Of course that same day I went to a friend's house and played it with him...and stayed up all night terrified.

    My son is just 16 months old, so I haven't had to tackle this just yet, but I'm thinking about it. I'm gonna be that hypocrite too Ben. I want to give my son the best quality games when he does play them, and make sure he has plenty of appealing alternatives for when he's maxed out that game time. Everything in moderation.

    ...do the write thing.
  • Gav082Gav082 Registered User regular
    Loved this.
    Brought back a lot of memories of my childhood.
    Like my mum sneaking up on me and my dad playing moonstone on the amiga, and being horriefied when the knights head flew off and all the blood came out. She made my dad promise not to let me play that ever again. Of course he did and if he hadnt I would have taken it to a friends house and played it anyway.
    My dad still games now, all though hes not as good as he used to be and I often have to do a level or a tricky part for him when I visit, a role reversal from my youth.
    I dont have children but I plan to game with them (if theyre instrested) when I do, as I have some fond memories of doing so with my dad.

  • E-gongaE-gonga Registered User regular
    That "Hush" guy looks like the Masked Killer Killer from Deadpool: Institutionalized.

    I don't have a child; wretched little things. Such tiny hands and whining voices. But if I did, then I would be cruel and sadistic and give them a Dreamcast. No other console provides such a high quality of game while enducing such physical pain.

    "Please, papa, no more Shenmue. The triggers blister my hands!"
    "You dare to question Sega?! That's it, you're having a Jet Set Radio marathon until you've learned your lesson!"
    "But my hands, papa, my hands! I cannot grind and tag through such pain!"

    It may seem like I'm being harsh on the boy, but it's nothing compared to the pain of an original XBox controller. Sometimes, on a cold day, the muscles between my index finger and thumb can still feel the pain of Halo's vibrating turrets...

    Dorkmaster FlekiconmasterThanatos2k
  • jeblucasjeblucas Registered User regular
    Bravo, Ben. It's a little creepy that you have read my mind and written it down here for everyone, but it keeps from having to try and express these feelings to my wife, so thanks. We've got four kids, with the oldest at ~9, and it's rough out there. The best parenting advice I can give is "kill your television." Don't kill televised content, but kill how it's delivered. My kids watch DORA, SHAUN THE SHEEP, MARTHA, and other stuff, but they don't see ads. They watch when they want on streaming/Plex, not on a schedule determined by some network exec.

    Also, stay engaged. Keep them reading. Keep them playing board games and card games. Keep them writing, drawing, Legos, knitting, Perler beads, sporting, laughing and loving and being loved. There's time enough for them to hate me later.

    Dorkmaster Flek
  • AfroOfDoomAfroOfDoom Registered User regular
    Parents rarely repeat the mistakes their own parents made, instead they make all new ones.

    At least you recognise what a hypocrite you are Ben, that's a lot more than most people.

    Gav082dozier77Harinezumi
  • GyraffGyraff Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    deleted because it was duplicated.

    Gyraff on
  • GyraffGyraff Registered User regular

    Apologies for the length, it just started pouring out, and it was sort of cathartic. The non-emptying of bowels kind. It might be safer to not read it, and take away that you might be harder on yourself, than you are on your kids. They'll be better off for your caution though.

    1979, maybe 80... can't remember exactly, except that I wasn't yet 10 years old. The local corner store had a couple of cabinets (2 at a time): Space Invaders, Asteroid, Berzerk, several others that I can't remember. I was addicted. Schoolwork suffered in a bad way. No one ever suspected my every waking hour was daydreaming about videogames. I remember stealing money from my mom's purse, several times. I remember them wondering what happened to the $10 bill, the 20, and I said nothing. She eventually thought she'd spent it. I think lunch money was lost to it. I spent every quarter on those machines. I don't think I've ever wondered how much I stole from her, because it still hurts that I did it.

    I was eventually caught, but only because they asked me directly. It's going to sound funny, considering what I'm admitting above, but I was an honest kid. I may have done some bad things, but I didn't lie. I was really bad at it... so I didn't. My parents took it really well. I was grounded, I was forbid from going to the arcade, ever again, and I was lectured about what I did. They were, and still are good parents (as grandparents, they apparently forgot everything though)... they just thought I had more common sense than I really did. I've never taken anything that does not belong to me, ever since. It's probably the worst thing I've ever done.

    No one in my wife's family could ever call themselves gamers. I am a gamer, less-so since becoming a father, but it's in my blood. He's four years old, now, and I've never played any violent games in front of him ever... kinda. I once tested the waters with the last Hulk game (Xbox360). He is a Hulk fan. Don't remember how he got exposed to it, but it was harmless. Anyway, he's a boy. Cars, trucks, construction vehicles, firetrucks, police cars. You get the idea. Anyway, the end came quick, and without question. In the game, I had Hulk pick up a tanker truck, and throw it. My son picked up his tanker truck, right in front of him, and threw it across the room. I haven't played it since... I should have known better.

    I've seen a room full of kids, all with their heads buried in Game Boys, wondering why they aren't playing together. I've heard a father, in a doctor's waiting room, bribe his rowdy son with 'Nintendo' if the kid would be quiet. I told my wife that our son would not be exposed to gaming until he asked, and would never own a poratble device until he was 8, or possibly later if I didn't feel he was mature enough. Christmas after his third birthday, my wife's parents got him a DS... and she knew about it beforehand. I got a little more upset than I should have, but I think it's because she doesn't know about this ::motions above::. I suppose I probably tell her about it.

    pdSlooper
  • Modred189Modred189 Registered User regular
    Thanks for this; that last paragraph especially. I have my first kid due in a month, and it's good to know that the fears I have of the upcoming battle against modern media, at least filtering it, are not irrational, and are shared by others.

    We'll do what we can and hope for the best.

    rklllama
  • rklllamarklllama MichiganRegistered User regular
    Yeah, thanks Ben. My first kid will be born in March, and I get frightened sometimes by all technology. My parents had filtered internet for when we were browsing, which was great for their peace of mind, but I know how the technology works, and know that a lot of these things aren't hard to circumvent.

    We had 30 minutes of gaming a day (60 when we got in high school), but if we watched sibling play it counted for our time too. That said, we could read, and for every two minutes reading we got one minute of gaming. It worked pretty well, I read a ton, but we had no rollover, which sucked because sometimes I wanted to keep reading (say, Ender's Game), but I forced myself to stop because if I kept reading I wouldn't get a chance to cash out all the Final Fantasy time I'd saved up.

    It seems like there is more content than ever about gaming as parents, and that's a wonderful thing. I don't even have my child out of the womb yet and I'm already down to about an hour of gaming a week, although that's changing now that my wife likes watching me play Mass Effect.

    I absolutely can't wait to share some of this stuff - games, music, movies, and books - with my kids, and I'm already terrified they won't love all of it. But they won't. So I have to hope they love some of it, and dear God please let it be Batman. I feel incredibly linked with my father sometimes knowing that he was getting Beatles albums as bootlegs before they came stateside, and I'd love to have kids appreciate some of the same things as me.

    Now that all his kids are adults, my dad says he doesn't need to look for new music, we provide him with all he'll ever need, and that's a wonderful thing too. (It's pretty easy to know what he'll like.) I can't imagine what it will be like when my kid says, "Hey dad," check this out, and its something I love as much as the stuff I found with my kid, and then I'll know that my kid understands me (to some degree), and that he doesn't share something with me, but I share something with him/her too.

    So thanks Ben, all the stories about family life in the modern age is one big reason I stay a dedicated PAR reader.

  • XkavarXkavar Registered User new member
    "For now I’ll guide these things to them as one pushes a paper boat onto a calm lake, and I pray that the books, games, and movies that made me who I am reach them, and help them get through the hard parts of growing up. I hope that once they are adults and I’ve made all my parenting mistakes they do fine in the world. When they look back at the games and books we did share I hope it feels like a voice in the dark saying that I was there, I was their father, and I tried my very best. I want them to be good people first, and gamers second. I’ve seen too many people go the other way."


    Try this, Mr. Kuchera. Find a book you love that can resonate with them. And read it. Go to a resturant or somewhere and read it to them while you're eating. Read it to them on a schoolnight before 10, when they're sleepy. Take turns reading it in the car. Reading isn't a chore, it's not a hassle and it's definitely not a punishment. Kids watch you. If you don't take the time to read and discuss, why do you expect your kids to do so?

    nturchin
  • LLJKCiceroLLJKCicero Registered User regular
    Great article, even though I know I'm going to treat my kids completely differently. My son is 15 months old, and I'm trying to get him playing mario as soon as possible. I guess my perspective is different because I played a ton of games growing up (starting when I was 2) and after much thought and analysis, I've decided that on balance, they were a positive, not a negative, influence.

    The way I plan to approach restrictions on gaming is more about encouraging and requiring my kids to participate in a variety of activities, rather than explicitly restricting gaming. Meaning, I'm more likely to say "you have to go play outside for an hour, then you can do whatever you want" than I am to say, "you can only play games for an hour."

    I feel my interest in gaming actually helped me develop an independent streak, because gaming was an interest that even early on I >OWNED<; it wasn't something I was doing to appease my parents or to fit in.

    Because I felt owned it, I took the initiative with pretty much everything for games. I learned how to read when I was 4 so that I could understand the codes for the NES in issues of Nintendo Power. I actively sought out information on new, cool games. Getting kids to take initiative in anything can be difficult, so the last thing I want to do is crush their spirit by exercising explicit control over their most-loved hobbies.

    This is pretty much what happened to me growing up with music; because my mother forced me to practice for so many years, I eventually rebelled and gave up my instruments completely, and even now it's hard for me to play them without a lingering distaste. Obviously it's important for parents to get their kids to do a lot of different things, but if you take too much control, you risk smothering their interests.

  • Marius the CellophaneMarius the Cellophane Registered User new member
    Thanks for sharing about your family, and the choices you've made in how to raise your kids. This is a great discussion to have, and I'm glad you're raising it, and leading out with your own experience. Funny to think that someone in the games industry would value play-time outside more than the medium you loved growing up. Sounds to me like good parenting!

    How would you react if your kids didn't appreciate video games at all?

  • LoonieLoonie Registered User regular
    Growing up I remember the daily limit for me was set at 2 hours when I was 9 or 10 years old and started playing a lot more. There was no filter on what I could or couldn't play, obviously, but still...I think that it wasn't a bad estimate. 30 minutes a day hahah...damn. It's hard to get anything done in that time and let it stick to you until you ponder it in bed that night, but then again I suppose it depends on the type of game one plays too.

    Books and videogames? I remember I actually started gaming first, being entranced by it obviously, but funnily enough it did not stop me from reading books heavily as well. I think it depends upon the child really. A fair amount of kids, like my niece, are such that even when they're little like 2 or 3 years old, they just can't help but bounce around and do stuff you'd expect kids to do but me - I tended to sit still a lot more, watch and take things in. I wouldn't be surprised if that difference (me being born moreso introverted than extroverted) also meant that even if I started out with videogames, I got into heavy-duty reading just fine too.

    My point being...maybe the order of it isn't as important as what the child was born like and adapt the parenting around it? I'm not saying it's not important to go outside or to get physical activity though, one of my proudest moments was when I finished a school marathon in my childhood as opposed to anything to do with books or videogames. But some kids just tend moreso towards such activity while others prefer staying indoors more. Some prefer videogames, but others find reading to be just as amazing too.

    So...I guess that yeah - good people first. Just remember there are many ways to raise someone into a good person. And taking a few minutes to ponder all of these possibilities every now and again tends to do a world of good. It can make a frustrating conflict with your child turn into a revelation as to why they're acting the way they are and, hopefully and with time and effort, a way to resolve it.

  • nephilim42nephilim42 Registered User regular
    @Dashxero

    "
    And the culture? Forget it.

    It's one thing to be a twenty-or-thirty-something that grew up with little or no internet, few games, and television. We are the people who shaped the culture. But, we've shaped it in such a manner that it's really only viable for us. You can expose your kids to gamer culture, but they'll almost certainly be fucked up as a result. I mean, most "non-gamers" look at us and wonder, "how do they function?"
    "

    I completely agree. I try to be careful about the experiences that my kids have in relation to games (and other media), however, out of all the facets related to gaming it's actually certain aspects of contemporary gaming culture that scare me more than anything. A lot of it is part of what I consider bad Internet culture in general.

    I see how women are treated in game chat and that makes me feel really terrible for my daughter in high school. She's either going to have to put up with some really horrible harassment or she's going to miss out on what's supposed to be a fun aspect of social gaming. The level of boy's club mentality that permeates a lot of game forums and chat sends a message that large parts of this hobby aren't for her and that's depressing to me as a father who wants to share gaming with her and holds me back from getting her to try out certain games. She's like her mother (who I met gaming) so I know she's certainly tough enough to deal with it at the end of the day but she shouldn't have to handle such things.

    For my son I particularly worry about the conversations he might have while playing games. He's really into Starcraft 2 custom games and while the majority of those are just fine it's the small line of text when other players chat with him that I watch the most. At his age he's heard all the salty language you can expect out of middle school boys but I don't want him to start thinking that occasional racist, sexist, or homophobic language is an acceptable norm. Given the frequency and manner in which I regularly see 'cunt', 'bitch', and 'faggot' dropped as casual terms in a lot of game chat experiences there's just no way I can let him participate in that aspect of gaming in good conscience so I end up restricting him for games that I'd otherwise let him check out. Add to that some really poor sportsmanship (gamesmanship?).

    I know a huge part of this problem is other parents. A lot of these negative gamer culture experiences arose out of parents not monitoring their kids and in some cases enabling them. I think a lot of adults have to realize that when you buy a game for your kids you're not just buying the content that the developers explicitly put in a title, you're also opening a door to the culture surrounding that title and if you ignore that component you're missing something that is actually a pretty big deal. Some aspects of that culture are incredibly positive (lots of creative and teamwork examples are out there) but we shouldn't be oblivious to the negative bits.

  • nephilim42nephilim42 Registered User regular
    @Dashxero

    "
    And the culture? Forget it.

    It's one thing to be a twenty-or-thirty-something that grew up with little or no internet, few games, and television. We are the people who shaped the culture. But, we've shaped it in such a manner that it's really only viable for us. You can expose your kids to gamer culture, but they'll almost certainly be fucked up as a result. I mean, most "non-gamers" look at us and wonder, "how do they function?"
    "

    I completely agree. I try to be careful about the experiences that my kids have in relation to games (and other media), however, out of all the facets related to gaming it's actually certain aspects of contemporary gaming culture that scare me more than anything. A lot of it is part of what I consider bad Internet culture in general.

    I see how women are treated in game chat and that makes me feel really terrible for my daughter in high school. She's either going to have to put up with some really horrible harassment or she's going to miss out on what's supposed to be a fun aspect of social gaming. The level of boy's club mentality that permeates a lot of game forums and chat sends a message that large parts of this hobby aren't for her and that's depressing to me as a father who wants to share gaming with her and holds me back from getting her to try out certain games. She's like her mother (who I met gaming) so I know she's certainly tough enough to deal with it at the end of the day but she shouldn't have to handle such things.

    For my son I particularly worry about the conversations he might have while playing games. He's really into Starcraft 2 custom games and while the majority of those are just fine it's the small line of text when other players chat with him that I watch the most. At his age he's heard all the salty language you can expect out of middle school boys but I don't want him to start thinking that occasional racist, sexist, or homophobic language is an acceptable norm. Given the frequency and manner in which I regularly see 'cunt', 'bitch', and 'faggot' dropped as casual terms in a lot of game chat experiences there's just no way I can let him participate in that aspect of gaming in good conscience so I end up restricting him for games that I'd otherwise let him check out. Add to that some really poor sportsmanship (gamesmanship?).

    I know a huge part of this problem is other parents. A lot of these negative gamer culture experiences arose out of parents not monitoring their kids and in some cases enabling them. I think a lot of adults have to realize that when you buy a game for your kids you're not just buying the content that the developers explicitly put in a title, you're also opening a door to the culture surrounding that title and if you ignore that component you're missing something that is actually a pretty big deal. Some aspects of that culture are incredibly positive (lots of creative and teamwork examples are out there) but we shouldn't be oblivious to the negative bits.

  • Tal!nTal!n San Francisco, CARegistered User regular
    Bruce Coville! Definitely one of my introductions to the amazing world of books.

  • THRA5H3RTHRA5H3R Registered User regular
    Funny, I've never felt like the grizzled veteran before, but I have two teenagers and I didn't see any posts from this perspective. I don't claim to be the voice of wisdom here, but I wanted to share my two cents.

    Gaming is the only thing that has been consistent in my life. It defined how I made my relationships in high school, from NES to D&D (and everything in-between). There was zero chance I wouldn't raise gamers when the time came. How I married a non-gamer is beyond me, certainly overlooked while dating.

    Video games have not been any sort of hindrance in my children's development. My son, at 4, learned to read complex sentences within a week when we refused to continue reading the dialog from Zelda:The Wind Waker for him. My daughter has developed an amazing eye for color and style, with interest in clothing design, after creating about a billion Sims and their houses (she never plays the game, just makes Sims!).

    I've always monitored grades and homework. I am always available for them to ask questions, and I quiz them, too. When all of that and chores are done, their free time is their own. Sometimes we play together, sometimes I'm watching them. I won't deny that sometimes they play games too long, and I harp on them for it, but as often as not, they are engaged in social interaction with their friends while they play, so I see it as the teen hangout, as well.

    Please don't think I'm negligent. I do encourage book reading (but I don't usually have to, because they do that on their own), and getting out to recreate non-digitally. I just happen to think that what I used to do as a teenager just doesn't look the same as it does with this generation.

    And, believe me, if you game with your kids, not only will they continue to like you in their "brooding years", but you'll also be popular with their friends. It actually makes you someone they enjoy being around, which you may find puts you in a unique position of trust within that group. Not a bad position to be in as a parent, if you ask me.

    tl;dr: I don't think strict is bad, just be careful to analyze situationally for best results!

    Harinezumikernelpanic99skeetshart69
  • THRA5H3RTHRA5H3R Registered User regular
    Funny, I've never felt like the grizzled veteran before, but I have two teenagers and I didn't see any posts from this perspective. I don't claim to be the voice of wisdom here, but I wanted to share my two cents.

    Gaming is the only thing that has been consistent in my life. It defined how I made my relationships in high school, from NES to D&D (and everything in-between). There was zero chance I wouldn't raise gamers when the time came. How I married a non-gamer is beyond me, certainly overlooked while dating.

    Video games have not been any sort of hindrance in my children's development. My son, at 4, learned to read complex sentences within a week when we refused to continue reading the dialog from Zelda:The Wind Waker for him. My daughter has developed an amazing eye for color and style, with interest in clothing design, after creating about a billion Sims and their houses (she never plays the game, just makes Sims!).

    I've always monitored grades and homework. I am always available for them to ask questions, and I quiz them, too. When all of that and chores are done, their free time is their own. Sometimes we play together, sometimes I'm watching them. I won't deny that sometimes they play games too long, and I harp on them for it, but as often as not, they are engaged in social interaction with their friends while they play, so I see it as the teen hangout, as well.

    Please don't think I'm negligent. I do encourage book reading (but I don't usually have to, because they do that on their own), and getting out to recreate non-digitally. I just happen to think that what I used to do as a teenager just doesn't look the same as it does with this generation.

    And, believe me, if you game with your kids, not only will they continue to like you in their "brooding years", but you'll also be popular with their friends. It actually makes you someone they enjoy being around, which you may find puts you in a unique position of trust within that group. Not a bad position to be in as a parent, if you ask me.

    tl;dr: I don't think strict is bad, just be careful to analyze situationally for best results!

    regtocommentZephidsEmbraceMDSVeritasPanda Likerskeetshart69
  • StockBreakStockBreak Registered User regular
    A few random thoughts:

    With only 30 minutes, it's a good thing the days of long waits between checkpoints and save points are mostly gone. It seems kind of short, but then again I wasn't allowed to play ANY video games on school nights growing up. Is the limit raised on weekends?

    "I make sure the kids have all their school work done, and clean rooms, before they can play on the iPad, but in high school I skipped day after day of class in order to beat Final Fantasy VII. I’m a hypocrite of the highest order."

    I don't think it's hypocritical at all. I'm sure there's a long list of things you got away with as a kid that you wouldn't want your kids doing.

    skeetshart69
  • FriedZombieFriedZombie Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Ben, you're really one of my favorite writers in the video game community, but I would strongly caution the limiting techniques you give to your children. Take my advice with a grain of salt since I do not have children of my own and definitely a hardcore gamer addict.

    This technique of limiting my exposure to video games to 1 or 2 hours per day was applied to me as a child to help me "expand" my mind beyond the pixels that I chose to be immersed in.

    I then already had an addiction to it as it greatly soothed anxiety for me at the time; instead of lashing out like you see when kids drag their PC from it being taken from them, I formed a new horribly horrendous idea: break into peoples houses to relax.

    I did become horribly creative though, wore all black clothing and black shoes to avoid being spotted, applied official licensing software stickers to the back of my clothes (since they're so shiny) to alert nighttime drivers of my prescience on roads w/o sidewalks(they could be removed when I was in a desirable neighborhood), modified outside calipers with razer blades to cut circles in glass so breaking said glass would make less noise and be more precise, I mapped routes and marked times when my parents came home to hypothesize optimal times for me to sneak out of my house, and alternate routes and safe points in case something went awry.

    This all ended very badly for me as I did this for approximately 18 months before I was caught, and sent to juvi for my actions.

    I think my story relies on the addiction being added early to the equation to be 100% relevant to your situation, but it might spark ideas of rebellion similar to mine if you're constantly on their case when they turn anywhere from 12-17 years old.

    The best remedy that I think would be to constantly introduce them to new activities to expand their mind and really drill into their head that you as a parent can form a symbiotic relationship with your kids rather than a parasitic one that I viewed my parents as.

    I wish you good luck from one hypocrite to another.

    FriedZombie on
  • pastamaniapastamania Registered User regular
    First of all, this is an incredibly strong article, probably one of the best since you started The Report, and in many ways its actually a shame it appeared on a video game themed site. You've pretty much encapsulated the entire emotional range of the violence-in-video-game debate, highlighting the conflict between a rational acceptance of the medium and the emotional need to protect your kids from content that they aren't ready to absorb. This debate goes right the way back to the first story books, and it's important that it continues to happen.

    I'm no parent. It's easy for me to go 'Did Mortal Kombat fuck me up? No. So, GTA is fine'. But, I think I understand, at least the emotional sides, of the argument against that content from this piece. It's easy to dismiss others feelings and, almost sneer, cold facts and statistics at them. People don't work like that, and its an ineffectual defense. I think I understand their perspective better.

    My feelings are (and again, no parent here, so I readily acknowledge that my perspective is genuinely worth little & less than most of the posters here, but goddammit someone spent time coding this comment box and I'm not gonna let it go to waste) that kids will find a way to access content you don't want them to see. 14 year olds may not have life experience, but they're probably....if not intellectually smarter, then at least quicker thinkers than you and I. And that's actually fine. The message kids need isn't that 'violence isn't real', it's that 'violence isn't Ok'/ And I think making the effort to protect kids from violent content, even unsuccesful, is alone enough to communicate that.

    Also, to quote the folk singer Frank Turner, 'Fucking with your parents makes you grow up big and strong', and if your not conservative with this stuff what the hell are they supposed to rebel against?

  • pastamaniapastamania Registered User regular
    First of all, this is an incredibly strong article, probably one of the best since you started The Report, and in many ways its actually a shame it appeared on a video game themed site. You've pretty much encapsulated the entire emotional range of the violence-in-video-game debate, highlighting the conflict between a rational acceptance of the medium and the emotional need to protect your kids from content that they aren't ready to absorb. This debate goes right the way back to the first story books, and it's important that it continues to happen.

    I'm no parent. It's easy for me to go 'Did Mortal Kombat fuck me up? No. So, GTA is fine'. But, I think I understand, at least the emotional sides, of the argument against that content from this piece. It's easy to dismiss others feelings and, almost sneer, cold facts and statistics at them. People don't work like that, and its an ineffectual defense. I think I understand their perspective better.

    My feelings are (and again, no parent here, so I readily acknowledge that my perspective is genuinely worth little & less than most of the posters here, but goddammit someone spent time coding this comment box and I'm not gonna let it go to waste) that kids will find a way to access content you don't want them to see. 14 year olds may not have life experience, but they're probably....if not intellectually smarter, then at least quicker thinkers than you and I. And that's actually fine. The message kids need isn't that 'violence isn't real', it's that 'violence isn't Ok'/ And I think making the effort to protect kids from violent content, even unsuccesful, is alone enough to communicate that.

    Also, to quote the folk singer Frank Turner, 'Fucking with your parents makes you grow up big and strong', and if your not conservative with this stuff what the hell are they supposed to rebel against?

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