Welcome to a new edition of PS Weekly! This week I’m skipping the usual news that I would drop to discuss a specific topic. Pandemic and parental choice in video games.
2020 has been a difficult year for most countries in the world, and let’s face it, 2021 could go either way. While we keep our fingers crossed hoping for a quick relief, we still have a long way to go. Today, people spend more time at home than anywhere else, and that requires more ways to spend the time and manage all the stress. In some cases that means more time for video games and full disclosure, I don’t see a problem here, but thanks to an article irresponsibly written and published in the New York Times, some people are worried about the gambling craze. Why don’t we take a break?
The Times article is based on interviews with several people, including a professor of psychology at Harvard. Everyone is entitled to their feelings, but this article is written in such a way that it tries to represent world opinion. To be fair, the people interviewed in the article are overreacting to the pandemic and will likely face the stress of the pandemic themselves. Either that, or they don’t know what they’re talking about. This article is a Class A fertilizer at best, and I won’t go on to talk about how the stars. Read the full article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/16/health/covid-kids-tech-use.html
This article begins with a quote from a man: I let you down as a father, wow! So this father, according to the article, has a lively discussion with his son, but if the conversation was lively, it’s probably because of the way dear old dad handled things. In any case, this father apparently neglected the time his child spent playing video games and using his cell phone for social purposes. The father says his son spent most of his free time mountain biking and playing basketball, but now he spends most of his overtime playing games on his Xbox or phone. Well, the only real concern I find legitimate here is to be completely ignored.
The child is listed as playing on the Xbox or cell phone. That worries me. This kid needs a PlayStation console in his life. While we’re at it, there should probably be a Nintendo Switch too, because variety is the spice of life, and Pandemic has certainly taken a lot of variety away from us at the moment. Grab a copy of Descenders on PS4 and he’ll be back on the mountain bike in no time! Take NBA 2K21 and what do you know? Not only is he playing basketball again, but he’s also the top scorer in the NBA! It certainly makes for good conversation at the table, doesn’t it?
Seriously, these are tough times for adults and kids alike. For many children it is no longer possible to just go and visit their friends. Some can’t even see their friends at school because they are taught remotely. Is this man a failure as a father? No, of course not. He doesn’t see the real problem here and doesn’t care about anything. The real problem is that he fights instead of relaxing, that being a parent means making mistakes and then learning from them. Limiting your child’s ability to play or use the phone is a drastic solution, not a quick fix. I can’t tell anyone how to raise their children, but I can certainly offer some good advice.
I suggest creating a schedule that asks the child to do a few tasks to interrupt the free time that seems to be spent too much on the screen. Have your child exercise for 30 minutes a day and have them do some household chores as well. Doing the dishes, taking out the trash, cleaning the living space, etc. These tasks should not take much time and should also teach a sense of responsibility. You can easily integrate hours of play, meals, chores, etc. This benefits both the parent and the child and is not a punishment because the child feels he or she deserves something. It is also an excellent way to prepare them for their future work.
I also don’t think it would be helpful to go to your child and tell them that you are a failed parent. These are harsh words, and if our children see us in such distress, it will lead them to ruin just as much as it did you. Some children may even feel that they need to take matters into their own hands to show their parents that they are not failures. This means that your child is stressed and sacrifices personal moments of happiness and joy to carry the burden for the parent and make him or her feel better. That’s pretty selfish of any parent, if you ask me.
Now, I’m not a psychologist, so I can’t give professional advice, but I also don’t need a degree to give honest advice. I speak as a player and a parent who has made mistakes, but has also learned from them. I hope this father can find a way to forgive himself and stop thinking he has to forgive his children. He worries too much, and that’s not good for anyone.
Should a child be allowed to play video games 40 hours a week? Honestly, I can’t say. I know that when it comes to rules in my house, I wouldn’t allow it, but this is my house. I don’t judge the father in this story, I actually have a lot of sympathy for him, but even more for his son. We all need to remember that the mental health of our children can be a roller coaster ride in these dark times of the world. It’s hard enough, but let’s not blame video games and sound the alarm about what we’re actually doing to ourselves. Like I said, I can’t tell anyone how to live, and that’s just my advice. What advice would you give your father in this situation?