Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Monday, July 23, 2007

My thoughts on computer games

A few weeks back, Shelly had a rather opinionated post in defense of computer and video games. It was a rant, and she called it such. It was directed at those who may look down their noses at her for permitting her sons to play such games, or question her Christian devotion or mothering skills.
Now, before I go any further, I need to make sure you're aware of some things. I look over at Shelly's house so often it probably could be stalking if I didn't live here. [note to Shelly--you used to watch me hang my laundry, remember? And discuss it with your husband? :)] I see her boys pretty regularly and have talked religion with her. Those are my disclaimers on Shelly.
My disclaimers on video games are these: we were gifted with a system for our wedding. We bought the computer a month later (one of those Day After Thanksgiving madnesses at Wal-mart) and the only time the game has been touched since was to move it from our apartment to our house. I don't even know if they still have games for it, even at used stores.

Anyway. I think games are like any other kind of media in today's world: TV, books, magazines, movies. I think most of them, frankly, are crap. Harmless, meaningless, non-educating drivel. Most, not all.
I think there are some out there that are truly destructive. Over-the-top, unnecessarily violent, explicitly sexual with nothing more to them than pandering to the lowest common denominator. Those are the ones that get all the press.
And I do believe there are some--a few--that are worthwhile. Like one that teaches you guitar. Or explorer games where you can learn about metallurgy (for the difference in swords). Or those that teach typing or reading. They do exist, you know. To dismiss all of them because you consider yourself a Conscientious Parent is short-sighted.

I see Shelly's boys outside, spending time with friends. Her oldest was willing--with no parental prodding by anyone--to try to help Madeleine do a backflip. He and his friends were trying gymnastics; the little ones wanted to try. You don't have boy that age willing to help someone else's five-year-old girl unless Mom is doing something right. There goes her "bad" mothering skills. Are her boys developing their albino complexion and thumb reflexes to Grand Theft Auto or Doom? Um... no. [Do those references show my age or what?]
On Christian discipleship--she can quote the Bible better than I can. Not really that remarkable, considering, but it still bears mention. I think she's more charitable a lot of the time than I am. I've had some really really snarky fallen-away times. [Yeah, we've dished, but my years started younger and lasted longer.]

Enough about Shelly and games. To lump Mavis Beacon and the writers of Doom all together in one uniform mass really is a sin of ignorance. You can take just about anything and, if you misuse it, abuse it, twist it, or beat someone about the head and shoulders with it, IT'S WRONG. But if used properly, with appropriate supervision and guidance, it can be a useful tool to make a productive citizen. That goes for computer games, too.

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At 1:38 PM, Blogger Zach said...

On Christian discipleship--she can quote the Bible better than I can.

Yeah, but you have the handicap of having been raised Catholic. :)


At 1:41 PM, Blogger Heather said...

My point exactly, Zach. :)

At 7:37 PM, Blogger The Story Of Us........ said...


Thank you for the kind words.

I've only just read your blog after being hidden away from all media for a few days. I have to say you've been quite understanding about my turning into a hermit to read the new Harry Potter book.

Thank you my very good friend. :-)

At 4:53 AM, Blogger Dale said...

It's a Playstation 1.0 for the curious.

It does have one of Heather's favorite games, "Rampage," a funny (and literally) cartoonish romp in which you get to play a city wrecking monster from the great age of Godzilla films.

I also have "Panzer General" for it, but you probably already had that one pegged.

At 8:19 PM, Blogger Amy said...

I knew parents (one set in particular) who would never let their children use a computer - not even for homework - and you could pretty much forget video games.

I completely understand not wanting to expose your children to dangerous and/or immoral things. That's fine; in fact, that's great.

However, to pretend as if the computer doesn't exist (when you're not part of an Amish community) and to not allow your child to gain even rudimentary knowledge in such is - I believe - doing more harm than good.

I mean, this kid didn't have the faintest clue how to turn a computer ON, let alone write a paper on it.

Unless he goes into farming or manual labor (and even then) chances are they'll need computer skills at some point in their lives. Lacking them could mean the difference between lucrative employment and not-so-lucrative employment.

I believe everything in moderation. There's excellent software out there, simple guidelines (computer in a centralized location, parental access to email/chat accounts, etc.), and just plain old common sense.

At 11:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ours watch very little with 1 computer between 12 that says it all!

At 10:36 AM, Blogger Terry said...

Panzer General

I never would have graduated had I known about that one.


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