It’s Monday. Of course like you, I love the weekends. Years ago during my real estate career, I remember when one of the company’s top executives, Philip Waddington retired, he said something in his retirement speech that has always stuck with me. “No more Sunday nights.” Hmm. It’s a good point. But I also like to embrace the coming week and look at Mondays as the start of another 5 days of opportunity. My Monday starts almost immediately as I get up around 3am. The first order of business is to start looking through the latest news posts on www.nj1015.com, Twitter and the various emails from news sources from around the nation and in our area. This morning I was struck by a post on NJ1015.com that asked the question…”Is Your Child Addicted To Video Game? NJ Therapist’s Advice For Parents.”
My first reaction was a high level of annoyance. In case you’re wondering if my annoyance is expressed verbally…Yes, I do talk to myself sitting at my desk at home at zero-dark-thirty. Thinking, here we go, another therapist weighing in in yet one more thing to add to the ‘addiction’ list. So it became a major topic on the show this morning.
Lemme offer a couple points from this morning’s show…
First of all, when I hear addiction I think of people that are suffering from addictions related to drugs, alcohol, dieting and other serious obstacles that destroy relationships, careers and families. I certainly don’t think of electronic gaming. To test my theory that I instinctively support people’s “Right To Game” I asked the audience this morning what they thought. I was inundated with callers proudly discussing the hours they spend playing games through home gaming consoles by themselves or in social networks across the internet. At the risk of offending people, I followed by asking if they were healthy physically, in a relationship and gainfully employed. To a caller the answers were all a resounding YES.
A couple callers said that their female partners hated gaming, but valued the fact that their husband/boyfriend needed to decompress after work and even bought them a game system as a gift. Seems the real story here is that some parents are simply having trouble wrapping their heads around the fact that every generation of new teenagers has and needs a distraction. Kids used to play in arcades, hang in malls and since 1977 when Atari’s home gaming system hit the market, hangin’ in front of the TV.
So in 40 years of home gaming, one thing is true, every generation loves the option of atying home and playing a fantasy game of some sort. And really, what’s the harm?
Distraction From Stress:
Too often parents buy into the popular psychology that kids should be spending more time ‘outdoors’, ‘socializing’ and not in front of a TV, or phone. I ask Why? Gaming is a terrific distraction from the stress that many working people and kids have whether it’s meeting work deadlines, getting homework and major projects turned in on time, etc. Most kids are getting ample time outside through the overwhelming number of organized sports and school teams. And isn’t Michelle Obama taking care of their diet at school?
Social Interaction, Future Job Skills, Creeper Avoidance:
In addition, I find that in observing my middle school son and his friends, the games are a tremendous source of social interaction, hand eye coordination and offer teachable moments about avoiding creepers who try to get in on the kids games. Not to mention the next generation of military pilots and civilian drone operators. All upside.
Multi-Tasking AND Intense Focus:
Another one of my biggest observations is how my son is able to watch TV, play a game on his phone and talk to his mom in the next room…retaining info about all three activities. This is the best multi-tasking generation yet. On the other side, the intense focus on some of the games is also good for a kid’s development. When I started my sales career a long time ago, I sold timeshare property (I’ll save the war stories for another blog). We sat in a room with 30 other sales people at small tables with our customers only a few feet apart. You had to have an intense focus on YOUR conversation and not get distracted by the multiple conversations happening within earshot on all sides of you.
The Real Question:
For me, I’m not a gamer, but I was as a kid. Now my distraction is to watch episodes of Family Guy (usually with my son) as a way to turn off my brain for a few minutes without having to worry about doing research, and having deep and detailed conversations about the world around us. Before my daughter moved to London, the distraction was watching various reality TV shows, including, but not limited to, “Mob Wives.”
As parents and future parents we need to focus on goals and balance for ourselves and our kids. As long as grades are up to expectations, and there’s a healthy diet, exercise and some communication within the home, a few hours of gaming is not only a great distraction for the over-scheduled and structured youth of today, it’s completely necessary and will benefit most kids in a very positive way.
So the real question you have to ask yourself is, “Are You and Your Kids Playing Enough Games?” And are YOU playing enough? Check out and play some of the best games EVER here!