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



  • ZenbryoZenbryo Registered User regular
    This is something I worry about: how to handle this very situation when I become a Dad.

    I just don't know. I think that Jerry Holkins said it best when he said that games are an entertainment "apex predator." Video games provide narrative, interaction, puzzles, and fun-juice at alarming speeds, so much so that other forms of entertainment pale. I've seen it in my little brother - he doesn't watch TV, he reads books only rarely (Ender's Game was one of his favorites, which I managed to expose him to), and he loves games.

    However, he's also one of the smartest people I've ever met. He's also honest, and polite, and friendly. Games have taught him about heroism and fighting for what you believe in, and the idea that you have power to change the world around you. To never be a victim.

    My first console was an Atari, but I was like four so I barely remember it. I played Nintendo, Genesis, Super Nintendo, etc, but I never thought of myself as a gamer. I also played outside, was in youth basketball, karate, etc. Gaming was just one more thing I did. I didn't get absorbed in video games until the Playstation Era (FFVII particularly), but by then I had a suite of other hobbies and pursuits, and a good deal of social skills as well.

    It's easy to think that the only way to make a good person is for them to go through EXACTLY what you've gone through. Ben even says as much in the article, talking about exposing them to the same games and movies that forged him.

    However, my little brother grew up completely differently than me. He never played team sports, or any sports that weren't forced on him in high school. He never played War outside, or at least not with any regularity. He never climbed trees like I did, he never got in fights like I did.

    He's still one of the best people I know. Your kids might have a different experiences than you, but if you keep up communication, talk to them about things, engage them mentally, they're still going to pick up the good stuff. Plus, you know, the smart-person genes you've given them help alot too.

  • GuardianAngelGuardianAngel Registered User regular
    @BWM, the notion of outside can obviously be overrated and misconstrued. It's not simply telling your kids to go outside and leaving it at that. At least, it wasn't for me growing up. I was the middle of 5 siblings, and it didn't take more than an imagination to start some sort of game or contest. When my older cousin came over, we played basketball. When my female cousins came over we would just hang out on the swingset and try to climb on the roof of the garage. I'm only 28, it's not like I come from a different time period here. But at the same time, I was never forced out of the house. We could stay inside and read or do something else if we wanted, it just happened that the TV was off until 6 pm, and being outside presented more opportunity to have fun.

    I do think it's counterproductive to kick kids out of the house and say, "Now go have fun." But, I don't think it's hard to foster an environment where kids WANT to go outside and play. For example, I have young cousins who live in Arizona. One of their favorite things to do is to go with their parents (and generally a few friends) to a park and climb every big rock available. There are parks everywhere down there, and there's never a shortage of new places.

    When I was a kid, I had to join a sport team every season at school. But it wasn't until high school that I even realized that was a rule. My parents had simply exposed me to different sports when I was young and asked, "Would you like to try this?" I always just assumed I was the one making the decision, and I loved it. And that was reinforced by my parents who would participate and practice with me if I asked. So sure, forcing kids to figure out their own fun completely on their own might be daunting, but like others have said, give kids a little direction/support, and they will make good decisions. Kids don't naturally want to sit around doing nothing. Give them an area to have fun, rather than an order to do what you say, and they'll figure it out.

  • GuardianAngelGuardianAngel Registered User regular
    @WARPZONE, maybe I'm alone here, but the older I've gotten the more I've appreciated what my parents ACTUALLY did to raise me. At first it was just growing up, but then it was asking, "How come all these other people I met have done so many stupid things in their teens/college? How did my parents somehow keep me from even considering that stuff?" And I realized they didn't, or at least didn't come out and just say, "Don't do that." They simply gave me the tools to make my own decisions early. They steered me towards positive influences and creative endeavors. They let me make small mistakes early so that I would know what to do when big mistakes presented themselves. I wasn't forgoing dumb things because it was taboo, but because I already understood the concept of consequences, and perhaps more importantly, that I didn't need anything outside my own mind to be happy.

  • SchizzySchizzy Registered User new member
    edited May 2013
    I little late to the party, but I'm glad I did.

    They're not old nor mature enough to appreciate it yet, I'd love to share the pop culture of my day with my kids some day. Like you, I want my kids to be people with strong characters before getting into gaming (if they do decide the like it). I've seen far too many parents push iNannies at their 2-year-old kids without appreciating the dangers of it.

    Reading this has given me the beginnings of an idea on how to start. Thanks.

    Schizzy on
  • mountainliftermountainlifter Registered User regular
    This article is a part two for this one (this was also written by Ben)

  • rowan_urowan_u Registered User regular
    I found this comic for you, Ben :P My kid's been playing Starbound All Day today :p

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