Gaming runs in my blood. My brother is a gamer, my sister is a social gamer (she does it when I’m missing a player and I force her to), I’m a gamer and I married a gamer. When I took a shopping trip to Bangkok with my mom and my sis, the husband was over at my house gaming with my brother for 5 days straight (most days without sleeping). Me, I spent 90 hours on Final Fantasy XII alone and I’m pretty sure I’ll top that when FF XIII is out.
So it’s not surprising that my son is also a gamer. I say you can tell a gamer from the way they hold a controller because it’s your best friend, your weapon. You can’t just hold it like it’s a potato. The grip must be firm but not too tight and your fingers must have enough room to maintain dexterity. This you can’t teach.
While some parents freak out at the fact that their kids are playing computer games at 7, I’m proud to say that my 17-month-old boy holds a controller like a pro. Peruse exhibit A.
You should probably know by now that my parenting style is rather unorthodox. I know all about the research that shows a correlation between gaming and violent behavior in children (if you try hard enough, you can also find correlation between a caterpillar and ballroom dancing). And the argument that it hinders social development or promotes parasocial interaction. And the fact that it’s bad for the eyes, or how the flickering light can cause epilepsy.
But in my defense, here’s what I’ve got to say. Gaming is wonderful because
1. It trains your fingers to be dexterous. Everyone knows that dexterous fingers are vital to becoming a surgeon. (just watch Grey’s Anatomy) So just look at it as giving him a headstart to becoming a top class cardiovascular surgeon. I bet Christina Yang can kick some serious ass at Viva Pinata.
2. It trains you to think fast and think out of the box. How else would you be able to rescue the princess and fight your way out of a burning castle with 20,000 minions with katanas on your tail? Mental strength and creativity, that’s how.
3. It relieves stress through catharsis. You have a crappy day and gaming helps you to let off some steam. It’s not good to keep all that bad emotions bottled up inside because then you become a sullen, angsty teen that uses your parents as punching bags. The secret to a happy and *fulfilled* childhood is to take it out on all the baddies in Metal Gear Solid 4.
4. You can learn to play musical instruments and eventually form a real rock band like the Jonas Brothers U2 and become a superstar. If you want to succeed, you can’t be sitting around on your ass pretending to do assessment books because you’re afraid your mother is going to whip your ass. It takes practice. On Rock Band 2.
5. You can play computer games for a living and get rich by winning competitions. Now that’s job satisfaction for you.