Gaming is A Way Parents Can Connect With Their Teens

images-66As winter settles in here in the great white North, we find ourselves doing more and more things inside. For my family, this means things like watching football, catching up on movies, surfing the web, baking cookies (Superdad here baked cookies with my 6-year-old girl last weekend), and playing video games (gasp!).

I really enjoy the outdoors and the warmer months, but the colder weather and being inside more offers some advantages – namely, we find ourselves doing more things together as a family, including playing video games together.

I’ve played more Madden / Rock Band / Guitar Hero / Halo 3 (with my kids) on our Xbox 360 over the past month… I almost forgot how much fun it can be. So why should you pick up that controller too?

Not All Video Games Are Violent

While the media likes to bombard us with bad news when it comes to video games (violence, sex, addiction, etc.), many of them are harmless and are just plain fun. Games like Guitar HeroRock Band, and Madden offer nothing in the way of violence, yet a lot in the way of cooperative or competitive play. You can go head to head in a grinding game of Madden, or fire up a struggling garage band together as you rock out to some songs you probably know by heart in Rock Band.

The previously mentioned games are just a few examples of several “parent-friendly” games on the market. For other examples and more in-depth analysis on all things game related head on over to GamerDad or WhatTheyPlay.

Gaming as a Family Activity?

This holiday season, you may have noticed some of the many advertisements for games like Guitar Hero World Tour. While advertising video games for the holidays is nothing new, advertising video games centered around family time is. Wal-Mart is running an ad for Guitar Hero World Tour showing the whole family rockin’ out playing World Tour together on the Wii. See, GamerDad and I are not the only ones playing these games with our kids.

Gaming Systems

The three main gaming systems on the market today are the Xbox 360, PlayStation, and the Wii. The Wii is probably the most original of the three, with interactive gameplay whereby you might even get some exercise in the process (see Wii Fit).

The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 offer more traditional gameplay but include superior graphics and approach being complete home entertainment machines. The PlayStation 3 includes Blu-Ray technology for playing high definition DVDs. The 360 includes free downloadable movies via Netflix if you have a Netflix account.

I could go on and on comparing all of the various features of these systems, but you can find that all over the web – the point here is this. All three of the current generation game systems can provide you with hours of gaming, and even non-gaming, entertainment.

If your not into video games another good way to connect with your teens is through text messages and YouTube.


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