I like the fact that kids these days would rather spend time on gaming rather than wreaking havoc outside.
Don’t get me wrong — I’m not trying to insinuate that keeping your children locked away is better than them socializing outside. That’s not the case. I just want to show you why your children staying home isn’t as bad as you may think. As long as they have some extra-curricular activities or sports club to join so that they can get enough fitness, it’s actually a very good thing.
It’s also important for you to monitor your child’s time spent on the computer. Be on the lookout for any type of cyber bullying. Thankfully, it’s easier to track as opposed to your kids being outside with who knows who.
Before the pandemic, parents were worried that their progeny did not go out as much, instead spending way too much time on the computer. They saw this as a bad thing. Now, however, they can see more positives than negatives.
Games help your children survive the pandemic-related isolation. They can still socialize and gain some skills.
Steve the Rascal: The Official Autobiography
What was my life like without online video games? I used to spend most if not all of my time outside with friends. I loved that. Being able to make friends in a traditional way is very cool.
But what we were doing outside is nothing to be proud of.
I started going outside by myself when I was 11. I met a group of friends one day when I was riding a bike. There were 4 of them, all from my street. There was Dan, 11, just like me. There was Nick, who was 10, and there were also Coty (8) and Gavin (6). They were the Valentine Lane gang.
Why the g-word? All in good time.
The guys saw me and my brother Scott (8) on the street, and they followed us around. The first game we decided to play was crashing our bikes into a fence. This was the beginning of our adventures.
We spent 3 years together as a group before me and my brother moved away. I can honestly say we wreaked havoc on the town during that time.
Let the gang wars commence!
Our street was connected to two other big streets: Alice Crescent and Blueberry Drive. They were home to our rival gangs. Playtime was over. It was a territorial war.
It began with us losing our beloved home. Don’t worry, I don’t mean our *actual* house or anything. I’m talking about our den, situated in a small woody area between our streets. We used to have cool picnics in there, climb the trees to make tree houses, and building something we would call home. We though the place was ours. Alice Crescent, however, thought otherwise.
They demolished our den, making a clear statement.
This is when a war between our streets started. Soon, Blueberry Drive kids joined in. They would come to the Valentine Lane playground, spraying the park and destroying the equipment there.
Of course, we took revenge by chalking their roads and pavements with abuse. But we did not expect how far our retaliation will lead us.
One day, we got surrounded in the playground. There was just me and Dan. He was lucky to get away. I was not. Jim Bob, the leader of the Blueberry gang, aged 15 or 16, came up to me and flipped me on the floor using a shoulder throw. He then took the screw side of a hammer and hit me in the arm with it. Nothing was said, but you could tell by the looks on his face that he knew he went too far. He did not want to look weak among his friends. Going to the police or our parents was seen as a weakness at this stage. We put ourselves in this predicament, so it was our job to get ourselves out.
Our group decided to stick to our street to avoid more trouble. But that was not the end.
Boy, that escalated quickly
A month later, Blueberry Drive took over the woods surrounding our three streets. They built a huge den there, combining many trees and making them into tree houses.
One afternoon, though, Alice Crescent put it on fire, using deodorants and other flammable liquids. They went crazy with these, and a fire brigade had to put out that fire before it spread to the rest of the woods.
Boy, oh boy, were the Blueberry Drive gang pissed off. They had no idea who did that. So what was their next move? Do exactly the same to both Valentine Lane and Alice Crescent. They found grassy areas and set them alight. Another job for the fire brigade.
My 3 years living there involved a whole lot more stories like these. They include us ravaging what we called a neutral zone, breaking and entering abandoned places and destroying enemy hideouts there, physical fight, and even riot police turning up to stop the rampage.
The dangers of hitting the streets
Moving away did not change anything, either. Wherever me and my brother moved next, we’d again be outside a lot, wreaking havoc on our neighbourhood. Public urination on people’s property, police chases and vandalism came back in full force. Other bad stuff, like alcohol or weed, also appeared. When you’re a kid, you don’t think of these as something to worry about. You just live in the moment and enjoy life as it is. However, when you think of your children playing outside, you don’t expect them to be doing such things, right? This is the stuff you need to protect them from.
As a parent, I see now that children would rather spend time inside playing games with their friends online. What’s so bad about that? Kids should not be exposed to the bad stuff I was at such a young age. I’d rather have my progeny stay inside, play games, learn new things from them and from the people they meet online. The streets, on the other hand? They’re becoming more and more dangerous, and your children might become a menace should they meet some nasty fellows.
The benefits of kids playing video games
One of such benefits is the fact that when your kids stay at home playing games is that you always know where they are and what they are doing. You could obviously track them with mobile phones, but that would be spying and violating their right to privacy. Also, children tend to bend the truth a lot.
I had wonderful experiences when I played games growing up. Some of my closest friends to this day are the people I met during my online campaigns. We even got to meet in real life. When you leave high school, you often lose contact with your friends. If you talk to the same people each week playing games, these friendships stay longer.
Another benefit is the skills my sons can pick up using the computer. I wrote more about this in one of my previous articles. They can learn so much stuff and get to use so many tools. For example, they can broadcast online to tens of thousands of people using Twitch. They can edit videos of the games they were playing and make YouTube compilations. They can learn to communicate with people from all over the world with software like Discord.
There’s no point in perceiving gaming as something negative. It’s a new way of socializing and learning, and a safer one at that. Kids can either become professional gamers or use their online gaming experiences and skills when looking for a job, for example.
I mentioned that gaming is a great way to interact with others during the pandemic. But they’re also a great way of bonding with your children. Since they’re unable to go outside, why not spend that time on playing games with them, watching movies or playing board games as a family? Life has little time in the day, so use it wisely to build stronger relationships in your household.
So, if in the future my son tells me:
“I don’t want to go out, I want to play Fortnite with my friends online,”
I’ll see this as an absolute win.
I would rather have him learn about teamwork, communication, leadership and competition from this than be pressured into doing things that could jeopardize his future. As long as he dedicates enough time to studies and fitness (playing sports, etc.), I’ll be more than happy to sit down and play Fortnite with him.
by Steve Jones, Community Specialist at G2A.COMBack