Getting into gaming with my teenagers

One of my biggest challenges since my children turned about ten is their obsession with gaming. I know I am not alone in worrying about the amount of time they spend glued to a screen. It has an impact on things like homework but worse it takes them away from me. As they get more into gaming, they value family days out less and less. It’s a worry so I decided to try their world for a while. Getting into gaming with my teenagers might be fun.

Getting into gaming with my teenagers

When I broached the idea of watching my teenagers on games they thought I was joking. I don’t even play games on my mobile phone. It just held no interest for me. That has changed a little now that I carve time out to watch my son on his X Box. I don’t like the more aggressive games but fortunately nor does he. He likes strategy games and I can see the appeal. It is important as parents not to write off our children’s passions. It’s great to spend time watching my son and trying to learn a little about how to work his controller and so on. Whilst he is relaxing, he sometimes opens up about his problems too. All very good.

 Getting into gaming

A challenge for my daughter

I asked my daughter to help me to review some of the games we found on the Solitaire website. I took a look with her and then she went off to investigate more on her own. She is someone who needs alone time due to anxiety issues and the fact that she is on the autistic spectrum. Here are her findings:

Solitaire (the one that the website opens with):

It’s a standard Solitaire game with basic graphics. It seems to run okay. The description under the game wasn’t clear to me, so for a while I didn’t realise there were instructions and was stuck with my extremely limited knowledge of solitaire. If you get stuck – which happens often – you do have to start a new game, which is annoying. The fact the website starts you on this is confusing to me. Along with the website name, it would be very easy to think it’s just a solitaire website. Maybe the website should start you on some kind of homepage?
Hidden Objects: Princess:
It’s a hidden object game with some pretty illustrations. The objects aren’t really ‘hidden’ as they stick out from the illustrations most of the time. The hidden objects aren’t specific furniture in the illustrations, instead they’re things like clip art of a crown or numbers. It makes me feel like the pictures weren’t originally made for the game. The game tells you about the turn limit but it’s unclear where that number is. There’s only three levels which is a bit disappointing.
Ancient Egypt Mahjong:
It’s a game of Mahjong with an Ancient Egyptian theme. There are 105 levels according to the game, but I didn’t play all of them. It honestly feels like way too many levels, especially since there are other games of Mahjong on the website. I did have trouble playing some levels due to the game not recognising me clicking a tile, but it mostly ran okay.

Benefits of my experiment

I realise that I should have shown more interest in gaming before. The children were keen to share their interests and I have sometimes not listened actively enough to what they get out of online games. I can see they appreciate that I am trying to get to grips with gaming. My next challenge is to find a game that I like loads. I can see gaming could be something to do when a little self-care is required. The other main advantage of my little experiment is that I can use it to persuade the children that fairness means they should share my passions a little too. Here’s to our next family day out!

Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.

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