Of all of the negativity that video games endure, parents are finding them as a useful tool to help communicate with their children. Kids who were around for the introduction of video games now have children of their own, and this gives them a related interest. A new survey taken last year by the Entertainment Software Association found that 35 percent of parents play video games, and 80 percent play with their children, including mothers. This activity is one that equalizes children and adults in terms of size differences, and since children have the edge in the activity, it may make them more willing to communicate with their parents on their own terms. Parents also have a better idea about what to buy their kids on holidays.

Some parents may be reluctant to engage in playing video games, especially with the stigma attached to the activity in being called violent and self-destructive. On the contrary, it has been shown that the rate of juvenile violent crime in the U.S. is at a 30 year low. While extremely violent kids, such as school shooters have been linked to extensive video game playing, it is mental stability and quality of home life that drive kids to commit these acts, not violence in the media.

Others may worry that video games socially isolate children. However, it has been found that 60 percent frequently play with friends and 33 percent play with siblings on top of playing with parents. Children often take turns playing while the other(s) direct the player as to how to maneuver. Also, many games are for multiple players, sometimes going up to as many as four players per game.

It should also be mentioned that video games are not for little boys alone. Earlier generations of players have continued to play video games as adults. About 62 percent of the console market and 66 percent of the PC market is age 18 or older. Even young teenagers prefer adult rated games and receive them because their parents believe that all games are for kids. Unfortunately, this may be exposing them to inappropriate content, but if parents were more involved in their kids’ playing, they would recognize this and adjust accordingly. Girls should not be singled out either. Up to 40 percent of all women play video games, and they now slightly outnumber men in the playing of web-based computer games. In saying this, this is no excuse to leave daughters out of the bonding experience.

At the same time, video games shouldn’t be the only bonding activity that takes place with their kids. Outdoor and educational activities are a must as well because of the intellectual and physical development that comes with them. Still, some games, such as the computer game, The Sims, allows children to make ethical decisions and learn from the consequences of these decisions. It helps them to experience guilt without doing any actual harm and accomplishment to show that they have the ability to do good things.

For related articles visit

http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/fun.games/06/15/gaming.parents.ap/index.html and http://www.pbs.org/kcts/videogamerevolution/impact/myths.html.

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