Sean Sands, writing for Gamers with Jobs:
However, that doesn’t make raising a video-gaming son any easier. In fact, in some ways it’s harder, because I understand that earnest desire to lose days at a time in these pastimes. And as a responsible parent, I can’t exactly say to my kid, “Have fun playing the new Lego game until your ears bleed and your eyes burst in their sockets. I’ll see you in three weeks!”
My kids are still much younger than Sands’ and not yet really losing themselves in virtual worlds, and yet there are so many ways for them to do so. Even now they’re sitting across from me playing a game that allows them to compose a story by selecting a series of choices.
Then there’s the iPad with its virtual horse paddock, interactive Mickey Mouse episodes, realMyst (which my daughter has developed an inexplicable attachment to), etc. On top of that, I get requests for Zelda (LttP, of course) or Flower or “your game with the bad guy” (My daughter may have once awakened from her nap during a game of DayZ).
With so many access points for gaming, it is difficult to balance the activities I allow and for what amount of time. These screens, interactive stories, and traditional games capture their attention when other play options do not.
Is it not enough that these experiences engage, entertain, challenge, and encourage sharing? Why am I still trying to justify these activities as though I’m the kid in Sands’ article or the inner voice of Sands himself? He calls it Gamer Guilt and says he’s over it. I wonder if I will be by the time my kids are of an age with his now.
Also, the original article features one of the least toxic comment threads I’ve read in a long time. There’s some interesting stuff there.