Sunday, July 8, 2007

Happy Video Games Day!

Ever since video games first came onto the market, people have had conflicting opinions about them. Some people say that video games encourage children to sit in front of the TV more than ever, instead of playing outside, doing schoolwork, or pursuing hobbies. Others say that video games can be good for kids, teaching them teamwork, logic skills, and small motor skills. Still others worry that some video games can cause kids to become frightened, or to start using violent behavior in real life. Some have even blamed tragedies, such as the one at Columbine High where two teens shot up their school before turning guns on themselves, on violent video games.
What is the answer? Well, it doesn't look like video games are going away any time soon. And the truth is, to forbid your children from playing video games may be fruitless, as they'll either play games at their friends' houses, or even lose valuable social opportunities or be ostracized by other kids because they don't play.
So, what can you do?
If you know a young gamer, talk to them about the video games they play, or ask to play with them. They may enjoy teaching you how to play a game... and they may really enjoy it when they win! It can be a nice chance to relax and laugh with a kid, and enter their world for a while.
Meanwhile, keep non-video-game opportunities coming for the kids in your life. If they love a skateboarding video game, try skateboarding in real life! If they love racing games, take them go-karting! Encourage them to balance gaming time with outdoor time.
If you're in the position to provide video games to kids, or if you're thinking of giving a kid a video game for a gift, then you should check out the Parents' Choice Awards search engine. You can search for kids' products, including video games, that are parent-approved. You can even search for video games based on the child's age!
Some of the Parents' Choice Awards' favorites?
Sim City 4, where kids can try simulated life in a city, and learn about things like budgetting, family life, and more.
Viva Pinata, where players create a garden and a virtual eco-system.
Hot Shot Business, where players try their hand at running a virtual business.
The Parents' Choice Awards program also seems to prefer sports-themed games like All Star Baseball, Backyard Baseball, Tiger Woods's PGA Tour, and Sega Sports NFL 2K3.
My ten-year-old nephew recommends all of the Mario-based games and Sonic-based games. These games have a little bit of mild, cartoon-like violence, but are pretty innocent and entertaining. And my personal favorite is Animal Crossing, another virtual-village game.
So... go play some video games... and then go outside and get some fresh air!

1 comment:

ashleymclure said...

My daughter would recommend CATZ where you raise a virtual cat. There's an equivalent DOGZ and HORSEZ version.

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