In today's busy world, it's difficult for parents to screen everything that their children process, from television to music, to movies and video games. Unfortunately, many of the video games in today's market are vulgar, violent and generally inappropriate for younger children. However, that doesn't stop even the youngest gamers from finding and playing video games.
The Seductive Pull of the Gaming World
The Harris Interactive Youth and Education Research Group reported in March 2007 that children spend more time at the computer or in front of TV gaming consoles than they spend on any other form of entertainment. These studies estimate that kids between the ages of 8 and 18 are spending up to two hours a day playing video games. This can negatively affect their performance in school, their overall health and weight, and lead to aggressive behavior and video game addictions.
Even if the time spent gaming is considerably less in your household, the engrossing nature of video games gets the full attention of young players. If the message in the video games they play is violent and vulgar, it’s going to quickly erode the values you've worked so hard to instill in your kids’ lives.
How to Satisfy Gamers Without Sacrificing Family Values
So what are the options for parents who want their kids to stay focused on uplifting images and a God-centered life?
Many parents have simply turned off video games in their household. This is not a bad choice. But many kids, drawn to the forbidden fruit, will find a way to get their fix elsewhere.
A better solution is offering them a Christian alternative.
Really Good Games With a Really Good Message
At first glance it seems like the video game industry has nothing to offer young Christians, but a few media outlets have heard the frustrated call of parents and gamers alike. Christian entertainment makers are finally catching on to the video game craze and turning the gore and sex-dominated entertainment genre inside-out.
These new faith-based games not only uphold the values that Christian parents strive to teach their kids, but also present Bible lessons in a compelling format. In fact, graphics-intensive, Bible-based video games have been known to impress even non-Christian players.
Where to Find Christ-Centered Games Your Kids Will Love
Christian video games offer uplifting content with high-quality graphics and game play. But you may not find them in the mainstream gaming outlets that sell X-Box and PS3 games.
If you’re looking for got-to-have Christian titles for your kids to enjoy, try searching Christian-based game review sites online to uncover and purchase the perfect games. You can find Christian gaming reviews at the following sites:
This is the place to go for background information on that shiny new game your kids have been begging for. These sites also review mainstream games.
Features to Look for When Choosing Video Games
When you’re in a video game store with your kids, pay attention to the packaging and features listed on the box. Some stores will have demos available to play as well. This will give you an opportunity to review the game before purchasing it.
If it is a combat game, look for arcade-style fighting instead of bloody or deadly violence. Better yet, find a cooperative or non-violent game for your kids.
Violence isn't the only danger of secular video games. Keep an eye on the game characters’ dress and language to weed out sexual overtones, four-letter words and rebellious talk.
Finally, choose games that offer something educational or inspirational, instead of mindless button-mashing. Then spend some time playing the video games with your children and talk with them about the values they can apply in real life when they're finished playing the game.
Your child will be influenced by the games they play. Make sure those games pull them in a direction you want them to grow.
Don Triezenberg, a guest contributor for About.com, is an entrepreneurial business leader who has spent his career in advertising, animation production, and marketing. As President of West Creek Studios, he creates uplifting and exciting video games for Christian families. For more information visit Don Triezenberg's Bio Page.