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Magic. Sometimes The Addiction Is Not Electronic

January 18, 2014 Leave a comment

My post about console games, computer games and even handheld gaming devices got me thinking to what my oldest told me recently. There were a group of people sitting at a table at the eatery in the local university. These individuals have been playing the same game for at least two years now. The game is the same but not the people.

These individuals play Magic all day long. My knowledge of this game is limited. I know this game is a card game. I am not sure how the game is played. What I do know is there are quite a few young people playing it instead of going to class. Youth 1 has a friend that will play the game and not go to class. This person failed a class or two.

I wanted to point out that not all issues with games are on electronic devices. Youth 1 has informed me there are different people playing each semester. Some stay but most are gone. New players have taken the temporary spot.

These problems people place upon electronic games are not new. They have been around for decades. Before Magic, it was the board game. Yes, there have been epic Risk games at universities where grades suffered. I can recall a bunch of teens playing risk late into the night. When I awoke the next morning, there were two or three yet playing. They weren’t going to make their classes for the day.

This is why I feel it is an educational opportunity for parents to teach their children who have these electronic games.

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What rules do you have in your home for gaming?

January 18, 2014 Leave a comment

Recently, I was made privy to an email from a mother asking a question. The question is my title. Her problem was the violation of gaming rules in her family, by her children. She was at her wits end. The responses were just as poor. Some of the responses started off right but tailed off from there.

The biggest problem I see with gaming are the parents. The majority of parents do not understand the gaming world for they either did not have them as a kid or was never interested in them. Take golf for an example. I have never been that interested in golf and find it difficult to understand how people love this sport. The easiest way for parent to deal with this is to not have these electronic games in the house. If you don’t understand something block it. What a way to teach your children on dealing with life they do not understand.

The next issue are the children. Games can have an addictive feeling to them. Playing a game that involves all of your senses along with a goal and bingo the problem. If it is difficult for adults to break away then it is surely worse for children. Accomplishing the task become more important than anything. This is NO different than the mathematician that starved himself because of his interest in math. Yes, true story. There were a few additional health issue thrown in due to his obsession to math and lack of hygiene, sleep, water and food.

When these two issues are mixed we have a complete breakdown. Parents do not understand and children are not yet capable of breaking away. This is where a parent needs to wake up and realize an education moment. Life will come at the child very quickly and unless the child can properly deal with the situation there will be dire results for the individual.

What are some methods of control? It is obvious this parent gave up control. If you have to seek advice on how to take control of a situation then look in the mirror.

As a parent, I have control over the computers, ipods, Xbox and whatever there is. They are not in my possession, but I am aware of them. I

    monitor

these instruments and what is being done on them. This is the first step.

I recognize the necessity and benefit of these games. There is good benefit to them even if parents wish not to accept it. It has shown that crimes have dropped due to the console games. There have been social benefits as well an cognitive benefits. I won’t shy away from the downside either. There are downsides. This is where going back to the above paragraph allows you to adjust and understand what is going on.

I see parents throw in 45 minutes to an hour of gaming a day. Let me tell you, this is akin to the government poisoning alcohol in order to stop people from drinking during prohibition. Most games require more than an hour. Some take five minutes to get going and give minutes for saving and shutting down. There are game where the child needs to spend over an hour to get to the next level or they must start over. Is it fair to frustrated your child by restricting them? Would you like the government telling you how often you can use something? A general method of monitoring time is fluidity. Some days a child doesn’t have the opportunity and other days they have the time. In our household my two youths may have days without time for games and times where I have allowed them upwards to six hours. Why six? They are communicating with friends from other states, countries and the other side of the county. Getting together is not an option. They are doing what phones have done, texting does or even Facebook. Yes, they have been on it for a long time, but they are communicating. My oldest child has talked with friends concerning science. YES! Actual discussion on science and chemistry is being disussed.

Is there a time when there is too much time? Yes. Playing games for forty hours a week may be too much. Like my parents did with me when I was reading, I sometimes have them shutdown and go outside. Yep, I read a lot as a kid. I would spend the entire day reading in my room. My parents recognized the unhealthiness of this act and sent me out. I can not tell you how much time you should give your child to play games. You just need to be aware that some game require more time. If you give them two hours on a weeknight, it isn’t a problem to have a day without games.

What happens when the parents go out and leave the children home. I hope the children are old enough. If they are teenagers, maybe it is time to allow them freedom. This is a learning moment. Game time will be abused. Heck, they’re children or teenagers. That is their make-up. We give specific tasks to be accomplished. There are dishes to be washed or carpets swept. We provide enough time for gaming. There are instances where we believe the youth has spent too much time on the game and need a break. A more drastic approach is taken.

For handheld games, we can confiscate the game until we come home. I have block internet sites with the game of interest. For games like the Xbox, there are pieces you can detach. A power cord makes the game useless. These are simple methods. Explain to your child they are not allowed to play the games and proceed to block or remove an item. They understand they shouldn’t be playing and when an attempt is made they get the picture.

I use a method of allowing my children to hang themselves. I do not set a timer for game time nor do I block internet access. I am giving my youths the power. What do I mean? I am allowing them to make good or poor decisions. They are told the consequences of breaking a rule. My oldest is allowed to stay up later in order to study and do work. Does my oldest abuse this privilege? You betcha. My oldest now learns there are consequences. My oldest understands who is at fault. This punishment is not long term for that has no educational benefits. When the site is now blocked or game time stopped for a weekend, lessons can be learned.

Parents need to see this as a beneficial and educational moment. Whether you realize this or not, electronics is now and will always be. If your children do not know how to utilize this equipment they are left behind in society. It sounds nice until you need it to interact and be successful.

As for the addictive nature of games. Whose fault is this?? As a parent you need to know the game and its requirement. You should know your child. Through observation you should know if your child needs time away from a game. It may not make your child happy, but you are now being a parent. Have a game free Sunday. Better yet, doing something fun on the weekends takes children away from games.

I can not dictate to a parent what is appropriate or not. I can state one hour a day is insufficient in many instances, but I can’t state two hours should be minimum. I will tell you this as a fact. Every child I have known growing up in a restrictive environment concerning games look for the opportunity to go hog wild when visiting other families. They have even lied to me when visiting. Unfortunately for them I know their parents. What is worse are those that direct themselves to pornography.

Playing games is not a problem. Like many other activities, over doing it can become a problem. There are plenty of people overindulging. I can mention food and drink as one. Yes, even volunteer activities can be overdone. I have known people who have ignored their marriage because they spent too much time with a volunteer activity. Moderation, moderation, moderation.

Categories: Games Tags: ,

Stratego

December 26, 2013 Leave a comment

Years ago, around 17, I visited my brother and his family during their vacation at the beach. We had spent much time together since he had gone to college and then married. This was the moment to spend time together.

A game was brought out by my brother. The game was Stratego. I remember the commercials growing up but never played the game. Indeed this game never was in our house during my youth. This alien game was set up, and I was briefed about the rules of the game.

In case you are not familiar with this game, each player has forty pieces to place on a 10×10 board. This is similar to chess except your pieces can be placed anywhere on your board. Each piece has a ranking with the weakest piece to the strongest piece and one piece that can conquer the strongest piece. The object of the game is to find the opponent’s flag. For more information, please search for Stratego.

Our first game didn’t last very long. I was soundly beaten by my brother. For one, I really wasn’t interested in playing the game. I was doing it for him. Two, I was not very good. In fact, I was horrible. The first game had me thinking of no more than two more game before I would quit.

The second game took a while longer for my brother to beat me. I had learned from the first game. Still, it was not too hard for him to beat me, but something had happened during the second game. I was beginning to see the strategy and tactics of the game. I was understanding the game.

Our third game ended in a draw. We had played long enough to eliminate most of our pieces thus leaving our flags protected by “bomb” pieces and no way to remove these pieces. I had studied the previous two games while I played. The first game was unknowingly studied by me. This third game perfected my understanding of how to play Stratego.

The fourth game was victory for me. It took a bit longer for me to win, but it was decided by the midpoint of the game. I was not to lose another game the entire evening. This would include at least an additional ten or more games. In fact my brother noted how he could not mount any attack or defense against me. I was too good.

It would be about 17 years later before I would play this game again. Youth 2 would be the person to introduce the game to our family. Youth 2 wanted to buy a gift for the Educator and myself from the heart. My gift was an version of Stratego.

My first game was against Youth 2. This version has a 9×9 board and a new piece. My 10×10 knowledge and strategy as this doomed me to defeat. Give Youth 2 credit, too. I made an error in judgment and Youth 2 took advantage of it. This was actually a quick game. I went from winning to losing in a quick fashion. The second game against Youth 1 was a drawn out game with me the winner early on even though Youth 1 did not know it. My strategy was not adjusted to the new board, yet. My deception tactics still worked. You see, Youth 1 does not understand deception where as Youth 2 either ignores the deception or may understand the concept.

Why am I writing about Stratego? It is a board game. These types of game are seldom played by kids. Anymore it is the electronic game that is played. As much as I think video games have their place, board games still have a strong value that can not be matched.

Playing a board game has direct family involvement. We are face to face studying our faces and enjoying our company. Board games force you to think about strategy and future moves. There is just so much to learn from playing board games. Unlike a video game, a board game gives you time to think about future moves and what your opponents are doing. The best part is spending time with your family and shaking the hand of your youngest child after you are beaten.

Play a board game with your family today. It is a wonderful way to spend time together.

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Uno

December 5, 2012 Leave a comment

Last night, I was laying on the couch in pain from head to knee.  The room was lit by the Christmas tree and little else.  The only sounds I could hear was Youth2 pleading a case with the Educator upstairs.  This strange evening was not my best for I was miserable.  Youth2 would alter my evening as the child came downstairs with an idea.

I wouldn’t call it being forced to play.  No, I considered it a parental duty to suck up the pain and get on the floor.  Youth1 quickly finished what school work was left and joined us for a game of uno.  The three of us played for an hour without anyone noticing the time or complaining they were not winning enough.  Even though I could feel my agony, it was no longer as harsh as it was.  By the way, I won four out of the ten games!  Poor Youth2, only one was won.

Playing these old fashioned games allows me the opportunity to not only bond but observe the growth of my children.  For instance, Youth1 has developed adult skill with this game.  This child uses the same techniques I use in order to win and it shows.  There is an obvious brain development from when this game was first given by “Santa Claus”.  When we first played Youth1 struggled to win more than me.  The Educator spent more time protecting Youth2 who was always upset for the victories were not there.  Youth1 will continue to develop until there is an equality between our congitive process.  Youth2 has developed as well for this child no longer gets upset when there are no victories.  The strategy is still lacking, and Youth2 spends more time trying to “get” Youth1 and protect me.  I guess it is sibling rivalry.

My entire body is in pain today, but last night was one moment were pain relief was spending time with family.  Maybe  there is another game tonight.  I hope.

Categories: Family Life, Games Tags: ,