Video games are steadily making their way into everyone’s homes. From the NES Classic Edition to Playstation 4, teens are spending most of their free time playing games online with their friends and people around the world. While they are engaging with peers and others, teens seem to be shutting their parents out along the way. Parents with teenagers today are finding it almost intimidating to raise children in world full of technology. Children today have access to so much more than in previous years, when us parents were growing up.
It can be very frustrating trying to communicate with your teen in the first place, then you add video games to the mix and it is literally like standing in a loud heavy metal concert screaming for someone across the mosh pit. While it is important for kids to socialize and develop personal relationships in life, online video games are not the best way for this to occur, but as time goes on, it is almost the only way pre-teens and younger teens seem to socialize. It is important for parents to try and engage their teens in activities not involving technology. Some great ways do this include, but are not limited to:
- Family dinner. Yes this still can happen. Have your teen put the video games on pause for 30 minutes while you all sit down and enjoy a family dinner together. Have your family leave their phones behind, and if they can’t leave them behind, take them from them. Engage your family in conversation during dinner, whether they like it or not it is important to maintain a good relationship, especially during teen years.
- A day trip or small weekend vacation. I say small because most teens today do not have the tolerance to be away from home or technology for long. Go to the beach, go hiking, or camping. Get your teens involved in activities with nature and only let them use their devices for photos and memories along the way. The good news about the beach and camping, there is no Wi-fi.
- Museums. Believe it or not teens can have interests outside of comparing K/D ratios and levelling up their characters, whether it’s art or history, or even an aquarium, they are likely to find something to enjoy in learning about the real world. For example, if they are playing the game ‘Assassin’s Creed Origins’ (a franchise that is known to pack it’s games with historical facts) they may actually have an interest in Ancient Egypt, the period in which the game is set.
The most important thing you, as a parent to a teen engrossed in video games is; remember to breath and remember YOU are the parent. It can be frustrating when your children have no real interest outside of technology. While they are sitting on their butts screaming their heads off at people all over the place, it can be hard to not smash the game console with a sledgehammer. Instead of doing that, take a deep breath (or drink a glass of wine, whatever) and ask our teen to shut the game off and find something more constructive to do with their time. Whether it is studying or stepping outside to physically do something, get them off the game system as often as possible.
Another thing to consider about your teen; video games are a huge part of children’s lives these days. Do not be afraid to move your kid over and play a few games with them, it is a great way to spend time your teen, and helps keep communication open. Also, if you’re willing to sit down and show real interest in something that they enjoy, they will be more open to spending time doing things others enjoy as well. Do not get me wrong there will exceptions, there always is.
Taken from the May 2018 issue of Geek Parenting, out now!