Keeping safe online 3: playing together

Extracts from Raising Children in a Digital Age

Playing together1

Derek Brown, Digital Editor for The Sun, plays games with his daughter, often Lego City. The game takes time:

At times, she says she’s bored with the game and wants to play something else, but I, in a sort of Victorian dad way, insist we see this thing through. Why? Well, I think the importance of learning to finish something you’ve started has been lost in a world where there are so many quick distractions like YouTube, Twitter, texting and BBM.

A study at Brigham Young University, Utah, found that girls who regularly play video games with their dads are happier and healthier and have a much better relationship with their parents, and are far less likely to get depressed in their adolescent years. But this may just be because they are spending time with their fathers, rather than because of the particular technology involved.

As with all the activities that your child engages in, undertake some research into the games they wish to play, and don’t assume they are inherently bad. Gaming can develop particular skills, including the solving of complex problems, collaboration, quick reactions and learning how to customise games, such as by designing new levels:

[C]reators had inserted hacks, shortcuts, and trapdoors for players to ferret out – or learn of from friends. ‘The evolution of games started to mimic the complexity of real life,’ Wong says. ‘Life doesn’t come to you in a box with an instruction book.’

Dr Bex Lewis

Dr Bex Lewis is the Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint and the author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014), where you can find more information. Passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way and trained as a mass communications historian, Dr Lewis is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University, with a particular interest in digital culture, and how this affects the third sector, especially faith organisations, voluntary organisations and government behavioural campaigns.

Lewis, B., Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014), page 189

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Send this to a friend