On Friday evening, a wonderful group of geeky parents gathered in the Condor Room at PAX East 2017 to talk video games. Sometimes, life doesn’t work the way you want it to work. In fact, a lot of times that’s how life works. So, despite the fact that I had all the best intentions of Facebook Live streaming our panel? I failed. Miserably and epically. Well, I recorded it to FB. Just not the GeekMom one. So anyone who was waiting for it to stream? I 1010% apologize. I feel awful.
For those who want the quick overview, after we all introduced ourselves, we launched into our presentation. Look, we all know that there are a lot of people who just don’t “get” geek parenting. They think that board gaming is fine, but really, all those video games are just rotting kids’ brains. They report back to us about research that is outdated and biased. Yes, even scientific research comes with a bias. Just read Killing Monsters by Gerard Jones.
To be honest, before researching for the panel, I knew video games weren’t bad for kids. We all do, right? What I didn’t realize was just how good they could be. From my perspective, the most interesting part of the research turned out to be how kids use gaming. For kids, much as Jones noted, gaming is something they choose to do not something done to them. Kids want to be in control and often don’t feel they are. This means that playing video games acts as a cathartic endeavor. In addition, cooperative games, even if they’re violent like Halo II, help teach skills that lead to prosocial behaviors. Ultimately, the research shows that as long as parents are moderating kids’ behaviors and/or gaming with them, video games are no different than board games in terms of how they help children. In fact, for special needs kids? They very often can be a lifeline.
Below is the full panel discussion (complete with slides and Q & A):