Video Games – What’s the Problem?


For our twelve-year-old boy, all roads lead to video games. I don’t like this. It bothers me, a lot.

Frankly, I don’t know what to do.

When he is not playing video games, he’s either thinking about playing games or talking about them. More maddening is when he watches youtube videos of other people playing video games.  This is insane to me.

The featured image here is of PewDiePie – the world’s most famous youtube personality with 32 million subscribers and over 6.5 billion views.

Why can’t our son be interested in sports, music, school or something else I can relate to? How about playing at the park or riding his bike?

And before you make some judgment about our horrible parenting that created this video game “Monster,” let me stop you for a second.  We’ve been judicious with screen time throughout our only child’s life. He has never had carte blanche to play when he wants for as long as he wants.  It’s just that video games are at the top of his version of Maslow’s pyramid.

And as you saw by Mr. Pie’s numbers, he’s not alone here.

Within the entertainment/toy industry, nothing else even comes close to the video game industry. Grand Theft Auto V, the highest grossing single title so far (and one we don’t let our son play) has brought in over $2.5 billion dollars in sales. Call of Duty brought in a billion dollars in one day.

If you have a phone, you have access to literally tens of thousands of games. The rub here is what parent hasn’t found delight in the break they can get from their little ones in the car or at a restaurant when they let them play one of these “gateway” games?

So what are the concerned parents to do?

Well, the “research” on the “harm” video games cause is hardly conclusive.  Video games are not cigarettes. They won’t kill you. Also, there is some evidence, as reported recently in Pediatrics, that there may be a “magic time” of daily play where the benefits outweigh disadvantages and are something to encourage. Who would have thought that?

That’s great to know, but, still, these games simply tick me off. I don’t like them. I don’t relate to them. Why can’t the kid pick up a guitar like his old man did when he was his age?

Then I remember that great spiritual axiom: when I am disturbed, there is something wrong with me!

Yep, this is more my problem, not his. He has no problem playing video games. They are what his generation does. PewDiePie is the Beatles/Elvis.

Plus, he’s not a zombie. He’s a responsible kid. He’s doing well in school. Like most kids he does need some focusing to do his homework, but, he gets it done most of the time. Oh, and he is on his way to earning a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Maybe I am the one who needs to chill out a bit.

Simply put, all roads to the fact that our son really likes playing video games.  Most likely because they are fun.

And the big takeaway for me is to recognize that I may have a slightly anachronistic perception of reality – just like my parents did. Which by the way also ticks me off.

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