Tip #1 – Show You Care (About Video Games)

May 17

How do you feel when your son or daughter excitedly tells you he or she just finished an awesome new book! Pride for their accomplishment? Thrilled that your kids are just as smart as you? Hopeful that this is the start of a beautiful life-long love of words?

Now think about how you react when that same child thrusts their DS Nintendo toward you to brag about their top score. Irritated that he’s interrupted your tweeting? Barely interested? Maybe offer up a little eye-rolling? Apparently, that’s not the ideal response if you want to be an influential partner in your child’s digital life.  Research indicates that parents who are gamers, themselves, have more say over their kids’ video game habits. (You can read an earlier post on this here.)

While I can safely say I will never be a “gamer”, I’ve stopped cutting my kids off every time they outscore an opponent, or share the latest on a new Wii game they MUST have. My “I don’t really care” response has morphed to raised eye brows and similar expressions that convey I’m interested, really really interested (even if it’s feigned).

The upside to this is that my boys are talking more to me, about everything. A chat about Mario Brothers leads to a story about some drama that played out at school. It also has encouraged them to talk about all their digital experiences, not just those related to high scores. They want to show me funny youtube videos, tell me about friends who they believe play too much video games, and admit when they’ve inadvertently seen something inappropriate on screen (hopefully I’ve heard all such stories, anyhow).

The more I listen, the more they talk. And, you know what? Some of their video games are a lot cooler than I’d ever realized.


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