“Mom, can you drive me to Woodleigh MRT station later? I have to collect this set from my friend. I am representing Singapore in eSport tonight,” said Sunshine Boy.
Confused by his words, I found myself wondering how to handle my child’s fondness for computer games. In this digital age, where technology permeates every aspect of our lives, parents have become increasingly concerned about the growing prominence of video games.
Understanding the Fascination:
To comprehend our children’s fascination with gaming, we must acknowledge that it is akin to television for our generation. Just as we spent hours engrossed in our favorite shows, our children seek enjoyment, social interaction, and a sense of achievement through gaming.
The Social Aspect of Gaming:
Gaming serves as a way for our children to socialize, much like television did for us. I remember those days when my parents would put us to bed at 7:30 p.m., and we would put our ears to the wall to listen to what our neighbours were watching. When I went to school, I often felt left out of conversations when my classmates talked about an adult or a child TV series. Watching television became a way of socialization. Similarly, gaming serves as a way of socializing for our kids as well.
I believed in limiting my children’s gaming time, allowing only 30 minutes a day. It worked. None of my 5 kids were addicted to gaming. However, the pandemic shifted our circumstances. Sunshine Boy needed to use the computer for programming classes and was confined indoors, leading him to engage more with gaming.
A Surprising Journey:
Fast forward two years, and Sunshine Boy has become one of the top four gamers in the nation for one game. Over time, he has excelled in various games. While I celebrate every of my children’s accomplishment whether or not they align with my values, his current situation presents both positives and negatives.
At 23, Sunshine Boy holds a well-paying job as a programmer and plays an essential role in supporting our family by paying rent and utility bills. He diligently fulfills his responsibilities at work.
Surprisingly, despite possessing a genius-level IQ of 153, he lacks ambition to climb the corporate ladder or pursue high-flying career prospects. Sunshine Boy finds contentment in his current simple job and prioritizes his passion for gaming over career aspirations. Instead of focusing on his career advancement opportunities, his thoughts revolve around his beloved games.
During the weekdays, Sunshine Boy completes his work, has dinner, and purchases a bag of donuts for his sisters before indulging in his gaming sessions. On weekends, he socializes with his gaming friends and spends time with his girlfriend. A few times a year, he volunteers to organize gaming sessions for others. While he is recognized as a top player, he maintains a small circle of acquaintances. However, he expressed his intention to be friendly towards everyone he encounters.
Finding Balance and Addressing Concerns:
While it is natural for parents to worry about excessive screen time and its impact on their children’s well-being, it is essential to approach the situation with a balanced perspective. Rather than demonizing gaming, setting reasonable boundaries and encouraging a healthy balance between gaming and other activities is more constructive.
We must acknowledge that completely removing computer games from the next generation is unlikely. Whether gaming is harmful or not depends on how our children handle it. However, if gaming begins to negatively affect their lives—such as swearing, intruding on family members, or compromising school or work performance—remedial action must be taken.
I think there are ways to incorporate gaming into our families, by finding the right balance between communication and setting boundaries is crucial when it comes to our children’s gaming habits. We must avoid cutting off communication or being overly indulgent, which can lead to gaming addiction.
Open dialogue and genuine interest in their gaming experiences foster a deeper connection. Setting clear limits and rules encourages self-discipline and a well-rounded lifestyle. Watch for signs of addiction to intervene promptly.
Striking this balance guides our children towards responsible gaming while nurturing their overall well-being.
Parenting gaming children is still quite new, but while we strive to learn more, we are seeing the next generation of parents who are gamers themselves. This sets another level of complication between parents and their gaming children.
These gaming parents bring firsthand experience and knowledge to the table, allowing them to navigate the challenges and opportunities of gaming with a unique yet different perspective.
This opens up a new realm of parenting dynamics and possibilities, shaping a generation of gamers-turned-parents.
Are you a gamer-parent or parent to a gamer? What challenges are you facing?