Digital Daddy - Gametime Parenting
How many of us could think back to our youth and remember our parents yelling at us to get off the “computer” and go outside and play? Video games were a right of youthful passage and depending on your age that speaks to what type of games you were playing. You may have been a Nintendo kid mastering Super Mario Brothers. Maybe you were a Sega Genesis child playing Sonic the Hedgehog recklessly collecting golden rings. Or maybe you grew up on Super Nintendo, or any of the various PlayStation consoles. No matter where you fall on the video game timeline most of us have some sort of place in our memory banks for gaming entertainment.
The dope thing is that something that so many people once considered a pointless distraction has evolved into big business, professionally organized industry and is seen to have far more benefits then it was ever given credit for. The ability to improve hand-eye coordination, comprehensive thought and problem-solving are just some of the benefits that could come from video games. Besides that, gaming offers a very unique way for fathers to bond with their kids.
You could introduce your child to the world of gaming through retro play. Many of the classic games that welcomed us to video games have been re-released and remastered for present-day play. Not only are you introducing your child to something new but you're also connecting them to a piece of your own youth. Finding common ground with your child while playing creates a space that they will always appreciate and look forward to.
Even if you are not a gamer and your child is, this still presents a great opportunity for you to connect with your kid. Simply asking them what they are playing and why they like it can open up a new level of dialogue between you that helps grow your relationship even stronger.
In so many instances, dads are directing the young child through life. You as a non-gamer entering their world of play switches the power dynamic a little bit and puts the child in the rare space of authority. This also helps with their own sense of pride and self-esteem.
Being able to teach daddy something he didn't know is an experience that could go a long way and build up many other areas of your relationship. Not to mention video games make a great way to parallel things that you may watch and see elsewhere. A killer game of NBA 2K can easily transition to a real life father and son 1 on 1 on the back top.
Video games are a great tool all around to initiate activity with your child. All it takes is a little creativity, patience and an open mind.
Written by Jason Francis