Sunday, January 26, 2014

Parenting And Gaming

   I remember the first game that I really fell in love with.  I was a teenager, and I had just discovered that some games had stories every bit as good as what I could find in a book. I have written several 'love letters' about books on this blog, so if you've been reading... you know. If not, suffice it to say that I am the book fanatic of all book fanatics. But I had never really looked for the same kind of writing in a game. I sat down to play for kicks, but never really got hooked. My sister was the person who really was the gamer at this point. My little sister was the one who saved all of her birthday money up for a Sega Saturn, which I kinda ignored, and then a Playstation. And then she brought home something called an RPG. I was like, "What's that?" Little did I know I was fixing to fall into the RPG suck zone. I would never make it back out again; I'm still there.
   Bet you can guess the game that got me there. Bet you can. Well, maybe you can't, but most of you can. Final Fantasy VII. That is an awesome story. I cried my heart out when Aeris died, although Tifa was my favorite. I was captivated. And then I got m grubby little gamer paws on Final Fantasy VIII, which got a lot of guff for the 'draw' system. That system never bothered me, and honestly, I thought that Final Fantasy VIII was such a romantic story, I was hooked. I have been a Final Fantasy fan ever since, although I haven't liked one as well as those two games, and I've never even played the all online versions of Final Fantasy, because I don't like to game online. I have to be social all day long at work; when I come home and manage to get time to play, I like to be antisocial as all hell. Don't talk to me, I don't want to talk to you, I just want to do what I am doing. Maybe one day I will jump into online gaming, but I am really not into it right now.
   Of course, mine and my sister's gaming got my mom gaming, especially when she realized the story-telling that goes into some of them. She is the person I get my bookwyrm tendencies from, after all. And with a whole family of gamers, my daughter becoming a gamer as well just makes sense.
   You can get a lot of flak from people when they find out that your kid is a gamer. "Games are so violent." True, some of them are, but violence is also in movies, television, books, and unfortunately, every day life. This is not to condone violence, or violent behavior, but what exactly am I supposed to do with that statement? Maybe I could lock my daughter in a bubble, but I have no interest in doing so. I think that would be a sad life. So what I do instead of putting her in a bubble, is I pay attention to what she is doing, how she is acting, and how she responds the things that she sees and hears.
   You should always be aware of what your kid is doing. I have said that I do not ban books (for the most part. 50 Shades Of Grey = banned. I will ban the hell out of my daughter from reading that book until she is an adult.) But just because I don't ban books, this does not stand to reason that I do not know what she is reading. I ALWAYS know what she is reading. Usually, I have read the book myself. If I have not, which is happening a little more often now because she has been into reading books based on true stories and books based on historical events, I familiarize myself with the book itself. I look at the book, and read the blurb, and flip through it, and most importantly, I ask her about the book. I don't know about your kids, but all I need to do is ask my daughter, "So what is this about?" and she talks my ear off. She will follow me around the house, even to the point of talking to me through the bathroom door, telling me what that book is about.
   Games are easier. All you have to do is sit there and watch; you can see everything. There are a few games that I am not comfortable with my daughter playing yet. Dragon Age, for one; I am not comfortable with my daughter being able to manipulate her character into doing the deed with one of the other characters. There are other games banned as well, but my daughter is fine with that. So far, following Mom's rules has not been an issue for her. Honestly, she tends to prefer the G-rated games anyway. We play a lot of Harvest Moon and Rune Factory, but yes, she does have a fascination with Skyrim. What can I say? She gets it honest.
   The point of all this, I guess, is that I have my daughter under control. If you have strict issues that disallow gaming for your kid, then I respect that.  I would never force my parenting methods onto another mother, because different kids have different needs. But I am raising a 3rd generation gamer, here in my home, and I just don't see a problem with that.

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