I Hate Video Games – Why I let my Children play them Anyways

Ever wonder if you should let your kids play video games? I’ve been there, and I know it can be a hard decision to make.

kids and video games

Confession time.

I hate video games. Absolutely despise most of them. (As you see, I said “most” and I’ll explain this part a little later.)  I consider video games a waste of time.  

If the presence of video games in my home was based on just how I feel about them, we’d never have them here.

There’s a lot of information out there about video games. While there are some positive studies about it, overall there are a lot of negative things associated with video games.

Growing up I was exposed heavily to the negative side. And I’ve seen how this has been detrimental to some of the people around me.

So, naturally, when I had kids my inclination was to ban them from the house.

However, deep down I knew this wasn’t a good way to teach them how to manage their time or self control with something like video games.

I knew that this could have the opposite effect. That eventually they could move out and run straight to the games and become addicted to them without knowing how to manage their usage.

Sure, it may not, and there really was no way of knowing, but I just felt that an outright ban wasn’t the right approach, as much as I would have liked to do it that way.

So, since the kids have been young we’ve had a limited amount of video games in our house. They started with old handheld devices that were handed down to them.

And then eventually someone gifted them with a used Wii (which I don’t mind too much for various reasons I’ll discuss in a minute.)  I guess the Wii is old school now, but the homeschooled kids in this house don’t care!

I’m going to give you the reasons why we allowed games in our house, and then at the end I’ll share the rules we’ve set in our home for video games (and devices in general.)

Why we allow video games in our home even though I hate them

The kids have to learn how to self-manage their own time as they grow up

I want my kids to learn that there’s a time for fun and a time for work. Even though I don’t like video games, I understand that they can be a fun activity for others and an hour of video games is no different than the hour I mindlessly scroll on on my phone.

One day the kids won’t have me to tell them to play or not play video games and will have to learn how to self-manage using their time wisely. Not just for gaming, but for other things too.

My hope is that they see and understand that they can play games for a limited time, and then we turn them off and do something else.

I want them to learn that playing a video game is fine in moderation, but we spend time on other hobbies too, like fishing, and playing hockey outside, and skating, reading, playing piano, and hiking.

I see the benefits in some games

When my kids play the Wii together or with their friends I hear laughter and excitement. On top of that, Wii games are often incorporating some kind of movement with the game, which is why in our house the Wii is the gaming system of choice.

The kids are learning how to work as a team or be a good sport. And especially on a rainy day when they can’t go outside, it’s a great way to stay occupied while playing with others.

They learn about priorities

The kids learn that video games are fun, but not a priority. That means when someone accidentally walks in front of the screen they don’t yell at them because people are more important than games.

It means when I ask them to turn it off to do something else they don’t holler, “just one more level” because obedience to their parents is more important than winning a game.

They know that video games don’t come before school work or chores and if they want to play games they have to have the mandatory things we do everyday done first.

Rules for video games in our house

While we allow video game usage in our house, it’s not without rules. It’s not a free for all where they can do what they want.

One day they will have to decide what they will and won’t do when it comes to video games and technology in general, but while they are in our house it’s our job to help manage that part for them.

They only play for a limited amount of time

My kids can’t just pick up a device and play anytime they want to. They need to ask, and then if it’s a good time they only play for a designated amount of time.

Sometimes it’s an hour, other times it’s a couple hours depending on the situation and what works at the time.

Gaming devices are not allowed in the bedrooms

The gaming devices stay in the living room or kitchen. This prevents them from being tempted to play when they aren’t supposed to, or to get addicted to them.  Kids and teens get into more trouble when they have devices such as a video game or the Internet in their bedroom where there are no other eyes around looking in.

They turn them off when asked without complaints

When I ask the kids to turn the games off, I expect them to finish up what they are doing quickly and to turn them off. There’s no requests for “one more level” and no getting upset when it’s time for gaming to be over.

There’s no fighting or bickering or they don’t get to play

Video games are supposed to be a fun hobby. If the kids can’t get along and are fighting the games get turned off.

Their chores and schoolwork have to be done first

They can’t play games until all the other things they need to do are done first. That means all schoolwork and all chores have to be completed before they ask to play video games.

They don’t get to play just any game they want to

There are a lot of bad games out there.  Ones that aren’t good for kids.  Ones that aren’t even good for adults.  And so there are certain games we don’t allow in our home.  Ones that are addictive, dark, and extremely negative are not an option for my kids to play.

They don’t play video games on the Internet

This one is probably a little controversial but we don’t allow our kids to game online.  Years ago we watched as another family we knew dealt with an incident where their child had been preyed upon through an online game.  Bad people pose as children in online gaming and even with controls in place, it can be a dangerous place.

Not to mention, we don’t really know ANY of those people our kids would be communicating with through online gaming and so we’ve chosen to only allow games that aren’t connected to the Internet.

Teach your children how to use video games wisely

You may be like me and would prefer a home without video games but when we live with others who have different interests and hobbies we need to compromise sometimes. For our home, I found we could compromise on video games and they didn’t have to be as bad as I felt they were.

With rules and boundaries your kids can learn how to have a healthy relationship with video games and technology in general. Sometimes banning things outright can backfire in the long run. However, I won’t use that as a blanket statement as I’ve seen families ban video games in their home and be very successful with that as well. You have to decide what approach is best for you.  For us, we allow video games, but our teens don’t have cell phones at all.  So each family is going to be different on what works.

If you are wondering how to balance the use of video games in your home and not making them a priority or having kids obsess about them, I hope the tips above can help you.

 

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