Video games can be looked upon with a sense of hesitancy by many parents. Of course, we’re far past the days where video games series like DOOM were decried as being satanic conduits for our children. The truth is the video game industry is continuing to grow into one of the biggest entertainment industries on Earth (if not the biggest). Many parents are having to struggle with its implications.
One consideration is parental controls. Are they available and used on consoles to ensure our sons and daughters aren’t spending hours upon hours gaming each day. Or do they measure their exposure to “gambling like” rewards, which can create a false sense of accomplishment. Parental controls help with our need to moderate what kind of content our children are exposed to.
Those conversations happen daily, and they’re important. But it can be just as informative to discuss the positives of a pastime rather than its negative consequences, and so we hope to do that here. In lockdown, especially, video games have proved to be a fantastic conduit for families to come together and bond.
Let’s see what that might mean:
It’s good and healthy to bond with our family members and online discourse has never been more important. This especially applies to how we go about our online interactions. Many of us have become familiar with Skype calls or Zoom meetings with our families or at work. But video games, like Madalin Stunt Cars 2, provide a completely different type of interaction.
We can play video games with our family members and connect in co-operative spirit. With measures like Steam remote play, we don’t even have to own the same copy of the game. That can be tremendously helpful.
Party games can bring people together, too. From the Jackbox party pack to games like Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, digitized board games like Mario Party or simple rhythm games that test our musical ability, all of these can help us bond with our family. Over time, we can use gaming as a truly social experience. This counters the narrative of the gamer who isolates themselves in their room without seeing a hint of sunlight. Instead it becomes a positive and you can show your children how to manage a social activity.
Your favorite franchise are often represented in the games medium, and playing those games can be a novel way of interacting with that space. Disney, for instance, have a range of excellent games out on all platforms, while the LEGO games also provide child-friendly game mechanics exploring mammoth series like the Marvel comics or Star Wars.
Games are becoming integral to the cultural entertainment fabric. You may wish for your children to have approved solo experiences rather than going online and interacting with other players indiscriminately, and that’s a great idea.
But it also doesn’t hurt to browse the library of official franchises that may be offering novel takes on interactivity in its branding. Such as how Spongebob has recently launched a wonderful re-release, or how old brands you may be familiar with, like Spyro, have been getting remastered. If anything, this can be a great way of showing your child the games you enjoyed when growing up.
Competition & Collaboration
Healthy collaboration and competition can take place even when your children or two families aren’t playing the games together at the exact same time. For instance, many parents have had their children show them their Animal Crossing villages with a sense of pride. It’s not hard to see how worthwhile this can be, especially if it inspires communication and sharing.
A topic of engagement like this that people have to work for and develop their own stories with. You can compare these interactions to when children play pretend by taking care of a baby doll or with a dollhouse. Just because it’s digital and animated doesn’t make it any less important.
We hope you can now appreciate how video games bring families together for the better.
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