I have a picture of my daughter from when she was twelve years old. Her knuckles are white from clutching the Xbox controller with every ounce of stress in her body, the headset’s enormity overwhelming the small shape of her face, I can feel the power of her voice as the camera snapped the shot as she was screaming at the television.
This was back before there was wireless anything. She was on a mission to save planet earth from the vicious wrath of alien invaders.
My son was seven years old when I first put a controller in his hand. It’s been a decade since then and he’s in his bedroom right now playing Call of Duty. He owns and has beaten all eleven Call of Duty games created throughout his lifetime.
Of course video games are to blame for everything. I’ve heard it all. The most popular being obesity, attention deficits and emotional issues, violence and because of this I have been judged, at times harshly by other parents.
And here’s me, always on the defense.
Yes, my kids went outside every day while growing up. They still do. They jump on the trampoline and skateboard from spring through fall and go sledding and build snowmen during the winter months.
No, my kids are not obese. I’ve never fed them crap and obesity is not in our genetics. They’ve always had home cooked, well balanced meals and we still sit down to dinner together to this day.
Attention deficits and emotional issues? Don’t we all? It’s trendy and the standard norm nowadays.
Over the course of time the connection between video games and violence slowly dwindled to nothing in the news. With the recent epidemic of mass shootings I now hear things like, That crazy motherfucker and, Well, look at our president. What do you expect?
At one point we had a video console in each room connected for online team game play. We never had cable TV or watched TV, really. The purpose of any television in our home was solely for video games.
As my kids grew older and we each honed our personal preferences I packed up the remaining consoles one by one and sent them off to family and friends in hopes of promoting their children’s game play while we narrowed our own collection to PC, Xbox One and PlayStation III.
I can’t even begin to calculate how much money I’ve invested in video game play over the past decade. Between the consoles, accessories, memberships, games, I imagine it’s a small fortune but here’s the thing, I genuinely believe this money was an investment in their education.
As with everything, we as individuals and parents need to be responsible and accountable. I responsibly promote playing video games, and here’s why:
Video games have taught my kids far more than what a basic education has. They’ve learned to use critical thinking skills, problem solving skills and team building skills that exceed what they may have learned otherwise.
They’ve learned how to think outside of the box instantaneously without a moments notice. They’ve learned how to deal with and compartmentalize high stress situations. They’ve learned how to collaborate with others without whining over who didn’t do their share of the project, a skill that my generation didn’t learn until college or until we were out in the professional world. I know I remember bitching about so and so, don’t you?
They have the ability to accept failure as a learning experience.
They’ve learned to make shit happen while teetering on the edge of fight or flight. The speed at which they can process information is unfathomable and they’re not just thinking about or considering themselves. They’re calculating every decision for a fleet of soldiers or a group of teammates.
Video game play has taught my kids optimism in the sense that once they’ve been shot down they get up and try again. There is always hope. There’s also relationship skills, intense focus and strategic planning to boast about.
They have developed skills in game play that our future needs in order to save the real world.
The global gaming community is an unprecedented resource we have for the future of our planet’s sustainability and that’s not all. Online game play is connecting a population of the world who are creating more positive change and developmental skills than social media could ever be capable of doing.
According to research completed by the The Institute for the Future the online gaming community has the ability to problem solve real world issues that the non-gaming community has yet to do such as hunger, poverty, global conflict, climate change, obesity and technology advancement.
Their research also concludes that globally we need to be playing a total of 21 billion hours per week of game play over the next decade if we intend to accomplish these feats.
There’s more, and it’s awesome AF.
In 2008 scientists developed an online game, Foldit in hopes of utilizing the gaming community in crowdsourcing a cure for AIDS. Scientist had spent decades failing to discover the protein code in order to develop medication to prolong the life span of AIDS patients. Gamers cracked the protein code in less than ten days of the game going live.
Yeah, I’m okay with other parents judging me. Whatever.
The way I see it, parents who invest more time in condemning their children for playing video games aren’t spending enough time educating themselves on why every one of us should be gaming.
So do us all a favor while scoring cool points with your kids. Set out on a mission to save planet earth from the vicious wrath of alien invaders.
Right now, before it’s too late. 🌎