Gaming is often portrayed as a source of evil by the media. If a crime is committed by someone who loves gaming it’s often the video games that get blamed. The media raises concerns about kids playing games too much and not playing outdoors. In the next breath, they make parents want to keep their children indoors because of the dangers in society. I’m here to say that gaming isn’t all bad, in fact, gaming can be extremely good.
Video games offer escapism, they offer inspiration for imagination, they also have proven cognitive benefits:
- Improves coordination
- Helps to develop problem-solving skills
- Improves memory
- Benefits concentration and attention
- Excellent learning source
- Improves speed of brain functions
- Enhances multitasking skills
- Improves social skills and team working
On a personal level, gaming helped me through anxiety and depression. Second Life even gave me skills and the idea of starting my own business. I even met my G thanks to Mario Kart Wii! When it came to parenting, I had no concerns or doubts about introducing my daughter to the gaming world from a young age.
I started my daughter out on our Nintendo 64, SNES and GameCube. All still excellent consoles to start kids out on to this day in my humble opinion. Her love for Zelda and Mario to this very day warms my soul. She now games on her laptop and has a PS4, most recently completing Life is Strange. She also working part-time, is learning to drive and studying full time for her A-levels. She has friends, a boyfriend and is working hard to give herself the best chance in life. I couldn’t be prouder of her and her life achievements.
Parents Views Video Games
I reached out to other parent bloggers to ask if any felt they could see the benefits in gaming with their children and/or with their partners. I wanted to be reassured in a world that often frowns on gamers that there were progressive parents out there having fun with their children using this incredible technology we have so freely available to us. The feedback I received impressed me greatly.
“I love playing Lego games with my 7-year-old son on our PS4. It’s really helped his coordination, and it’s got to the point where he is telling me how to do things, rather than the other way around. They are great games for teamwork.” – Pete from Household Money Saving
“My 6 year old loves playing Minecraft. He loves playing it with his dad on the PS4 and it is a great way to bond one-to-one. It has been amazing in improving his spacial awareness and a way to let his creativity and imagination come to life. I love playing the Nintendo Wii and DS with our son with yokai watch being a game we play together and is great for teamwork Talking about the characters and missions together always gets him excited. Mario Kart is loved by the whole family along with Wii sports games for lots of fun and to get us all moving. Even our toddler gets involved which he loves as he feels like a big boy playing games like his brother.” – Elizabeth from Where Roots and Wings Entwine
“I’m a huge gamer and so is my husband. I knew that when my kids grew up I wanted to share this with my kids – one small problem though. How do you share your love for gaming when your child has almost zero fine motor skills? My eldest son was born with a severe form of cerebral palsy. Thanks to a charity called Special Effect we were able to find a set up of equipment that enabled my son to game not just with us but at times completely independently. We love to game as a family as it’s a very social activity but gaming does so much more than that for my son. It puts him on a level playing field with others. In real life my son will never get to drive a car – but he can put on a racing game and become a champion driver! Gaming gives my son confidence, a sense of achievement and inclusiveness that I just don’t think we’d find anywhere else.
We play every single major games console on the market except the switch (I’m just waiting for a specialist convertor to be available in the uk so we can all play it) our fave family games include, Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed, Skylanders Imaginators, Minecraft, Fifa and Everybody’s Golf!” Nikki from Glam and Geeky Mum also on YouTube
“Me and my hubby play World of Warcraft we make a pretty good team!! It’s something fun we do in the evenings to de-stress from work. We don’t often play games against each other though as we are both competitive and that would likely cause more stress!! I think it’s a great way to do something together that’s not just watching TV or being on our phones!” Sophie from Soph-Obsessed
“I’ve really enjoyed playing the games I loved as a child with my kids, like Mario and Sonic and seeing they love them too! We have a PlayStation and our eldest at 5 has just started getting his own games for that, he’s a great little problem solver so it’s another way he can utilise that and have fun at the same time. We also play a few games on a tablet together and it’s just another thing we can do when we are cosy and relaxing.” Laura from Wafflemama
“As my son gets older, I know I can’t stop him playing games so I try to join in with him. Over mindless puzzle games or racing games, we have a general chit chat about what’s going on in his life and I find he usually opens up more because he’s relaxed. I see it as bonding time. Plus I secretly love playing gutair hero” Ally from Slimsights.
“I’ve been a gamer since a young age and I’m part of a local gaming community. Gaming fostered a really close relationship between me and my Uncle that persists to this day and I have a lot of happy memories of gaming with him. I play games with my husband, and will with my son once he is old enough. It’s our family time together and is fun, entertaining, relaxing and makes us think about things and work together.” Christy from Welsh Mum
“My son and my husband play on the Xbox One together. My hubby downloads games that he knows will be relevant and that B will enjoy. To be honest though, B isn’t overly fussed! I was a gamer when I was younger and have fond memories of playing the NES with my dad!” Emma from Me and B Make Tea.
“We are a family of gamers. Myself and my husband love games and our children (aged 8, 6, 4 and 2) love them too. We all have our own PC (yes, even the two year old! 🙈) and often play games such as Minecraft / Unturned together. We create mini missions and we all work together, it’s brilliant for family team building. Not to mention problem-solving, coordination and memory. The future is IT based and they have excellent knowledge already. We have a balanced lifestyle, so they get a good mix of experiences, outdoors as well as indoors on the PC. But technology and games are a huge part of our lives and we are even in the process of creating an office so we can be in the same room together as we play. It helps me understand my children, highlights their strengths and having shared passions definitely brings us closer together!” Hannah from Hannah Tasker
Video Games for the Win
I received no negative feedback but I know that there will be some parents out there that see games in a negative light. Having said that, I love that there are plenty of mums and dads out there that enjoy gaming with their children. Games are not all bad news so don’t let the media scare you into stopping your children game – join in, have some fun yourself.
Special Effect – The Gamers’ Charity
Glam and Geeky Mum mentioned Special Effect. Special Effect is an amazing charity that helps people with disabilities play video games. These guys do incredible work and they always have an excellent stand at EGX, giving everyone the opportunity of trying accessible gaming controls out for themselves. Some controllers even support eye control enabling paralysed people to game. I have so much love for this charity and I hope to help them with fundraising and awareness. Please check them out on their website and social media. They don’t sell the equipment and they don’t charge for one to one support. All donations to Special Effect, be it monetary, time or skill based, make a massive difference and without the generosity of gamers and the public, they wouldn’t be able to do the work that they do.