A reader writes:
I have two sons. My older son is 21, living at home, working and going to school. He has played games for several years. He began playing teen rated games when he was 16, or 17. Now he is into M games. We have had a number of discussions over the years about these games. Now my 15 year old is playing teen games. I do not think these games are healthy for a number of reasons. My husband does not seem to worry about it. I think you mentioned you have a teenage son. Do you allow computer games? What is your take on this? These are some of the things I bring up to my sons: the world view in these games, the moral content or lack thereof in these games, the kind of actions and decisions players are asked to make (in other words does the end justify the means), do these games effect one, spiritually, socially, emotionally, especially if someone plays for long hours at a time. My older son’s take on this has been that he can separate fantasy (games) from reality and he doesn’t see a problem. I wonder. In light of the thread on your blog, this is an odd topic to bring up, but I think an important one for discussion somewhere.
I allow computer games, but I prefer the ones that make you use your head, rather than simply perfect your hand-eye coordination in the endless destruction of living things (indeed, with the exception of Star Wars games, we won’t let them in the house). I highly recommend, for instance, Myst, Riven, and Myst III: Exile. My kids still play a certain amount of running around and fighting games, but not too much, and they avoid the bloody ones. The littler ones play various math and reading games. But we try to give them more interesting things to do. Some days are just rainy days though and sometimes you like to just goof around with a computer on such days.