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Back to School #5: Finding Balance with Video Games

Video games can feel overwhelming for parents. How do we know if video games are a good idea? Which games should we pick? Today we answer these questions and give all parents a firm-foundation with which to love their children and make intentional tech choices when it comes to video games.

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Transcription:

Purposely. Your life. God’s purpose. Listen at onpurposely.com.

Hello everyone and welcome to the Gospel Tech podcast. My name is Nathan Sutherland and this podcast is dedicated to helping us love God and use tech. Today’s conversation we are talking about video games. Specifically, we’re talking about how do we find a balance with video games, or my kind of subtle title or sub secondary title, however, you’d say that, is the video games and the battle battle for greater reality. That’s kind of my focus when I went into this. Just being very clear upfront that I could nerd out for a very long time on video games. This is kind of in my high interest area and I will; I’m working on a little mini series right now where we’ll talk interesting things in video games and there’ll be those bonus episodes, so you won’t have to listen to ’em forever.

But today I wanna specifically empower you as parents to be able to talk videogames, even if you know nothing about them. Even if you don’t like them, how can you talk about video games? Because like so many forms of technology, this tech matters if your child is into it. If your kid loves video games or they’re passionate about it, or they’re even just asking a lot of questions, that now has weight and value because your child, whom you love is asking for something. And the question we have as parents is is this good? We wanna give our kids good gifts. We wanna let them do things that are going to be joyfilled and incredible. And even if they don’t have a, you know, quote unquote greater purpose, it’s not like everything you have to do has to lead to a PhD. But is this going to be something that’s gonna help them become more of who God has designed them to be? Like having fun can do that. So is video games, one of those things, that’s what we’re gonna answer today. And I will give, I’ll just dabble in a little bit of nerdom to help kind of set the stage. But that’s where we’re going. I’m excited for this conversation and with no further ado, let’s get this conversation started.

Welcome to the Gospel Tech podcast. A resource for parents who feel overwhelmed and outpaced as they raise healthy youth in a tech world. As an educator, parent, and tech user, I want to equip parents with the tools, resources, and confidence they need to raise kids who love God, and use tech.

Thank you to everyone who has helped make this podcast possible. Thank you for listening. Thank you for sharing and thank you for rating and reviewing. It’s awesome to see those come up for two reasons. One, it helps us be easier to find. So, when you rate, it means you scroll down to the bottom. I’ll just use the apple podcast example, the little purple podcast app icon, you can click on, on your phones. Scroll down to the bottom of the Gospel Tech page, and it will give you an option onto five stars. We ask for five stars, and if I’m not five-star material, please let me know. You can write me, nathan@gospeltech.net, and I would love to make improvements to make this a better resource for you, for your friends and family, so that you feel equipped and empowered to love God and use tech. Then if you’d be so kind as to leave a one or two sentence explanation. It’s so helpful because when people just like, when you and I go and look for a new podcast, we have a limited amount of time, right? There’s only so long we drive, or so long, we do yard work.

So, if we’re going to listen to something, we wanna make sure that it’s been vetted by somebody out there. They were not spending all of our time, just churn through the hundreds of optional podcasts on any given topic or genre. So, parenting, and Christian parenting, tons of options. Not a lot of gospel techs out there. I will tell you that. So, would love for more families to find out about it. Thank you for doing that. Okay.

So, let’s get started in today’s conversation to begin let’s quickly review last week. There was a two-part series making friends in a social media world. This idea of social media and smartphones. And is that the new cul-de-sac? How do we make friends? And then the, the second part were these three examples. When friendship matters. And, and that focus on being present that digital friendships are amazing, but only as long as they’re really building the in person, cuz sometimes we just need people to grieve with us; and we just need people to be in the room.

And so, if you haven’t listened to that, go listen to it. Cuz it does tie into today’s conversation. We’re talking about video games. Another area where we feel like our children can get sucked in. Here’s where we’re gonna start. First for context, why would anyone like a video game? If you’re not a gamer, it might be hard to understand why we’re even having this conversation. Because video games, as a very dear friend of mine just told me this week, are stupid. I was like, oh, it’s, I mean, that’s a pretty strong take. Like it’s a multi-billion-dollar industry and millions of people play them, but okay. Like, I get it. You, you don’t like them. And I found that this is one of those things with the conversation that people are kind of all in or all out. They either think they’re an incredible waste of time or they’re the coolest things in sliced bread. And they wonder why not everyone plays video games. So, here’s just a little bit of context. If you don’t understand video games, why would anyone play. I will just start with cuz they’re awesome.

Like everything that is cool happens in a video game, and it happens faster and safer and all of those things. You can, you can get into the awesome immediately. You don’t have to wait around. Like there’s very little delayed gratification in video games. So, that’s first thing you need to understand.

The second is they’re interactive. So, unlike watching movies, I found that many people that really, really enjoy video games, frequently don’t enjoy movies as much. Some of them might be like myself, and we just almost loathe the movies because you just, you’re sitting there and watching other people have adventure and it’s fine. It’s not bad, but I would rather read a book, cuz at least I gotta do something, or play game. So, that’s the interactive part does matter.

And that leads us to our third point, which is really important to know which is at the end of the day, they are just games. So, they have something you’re trying to accomplish. They have a challenge to overcome. They have rules that you have to follow. And they’re going to have a Victor, which if it’s you against the computer, it’s always you, these games are meant to be beaten. They’re meant to make you feel awesome. Some of them are player verse player, PVP, where they are battle arenas like a Fortnite or an apex legend, or even like a world of Warcraft where you can lose.

But at the end of the day, you’re still supposed to be having fun in the process. They are simply games. That is except when they’re not. And so, I think it’s important then to recognize in the bigger picture that not all games are created equal. We’ll talk a little bit about that today. That’s not the point of today’s episode but I do want you to know this, that there are games with design hooks in them. And so, the reason I say that is like chess or checkers has zero design hooks, including the pacing. They they’re very slow and methodical. Some video games, if you go back to like a Mario brothers or a Megaman or something, duck hunt, they, again, they have a goal. Sure. You’re progressing through levels and it’s happening on a screen. But at the end of the day, like you’re over, you’re overcoming a singular challenge.

Modern games sometimes have little hooks and I’ll give you one example. Clash of clans, for example has a hook where they expire the amount you can play the game. So, you get the game for free. You begin playing it and you’re building up a little village and then you go off and fight other groups. But they have a limit on two types of resource and on how fast stuff you want to build builds. So you wanna build more units. Great. That’s gonna be an hour, or four hours, or a full day, 24 hours. And then they have this wonderful design little trick where they go, oh, well, I mean, you could wait 24 hours. Or you could pay 50 cents or $1.50, or $5, and we will let you replenish all of those resources and go again right now. Right? Those units you were trying to build that can be ready to go right now, which if you’re a kid who only gets a plan a Friday or Saturday, right. That you’re gaining a full week of play for five bucks. What? I mean five bucks. It’s a great deal. In doing so these companies can make a billion dollars in a year amount of free to play game. And it does leave a certain sense of dissatisfaction, but not all the games do that. There are games I would actually say Minecraft is one of the best at engagement in this way where they take something as simple as curiosity, and then they leverage that to get you to come back. Cuz remember, when you get to drool tech, it wants to take your time, your focus and your money. And Minecraft, I think is one of the best. This is why Dr. Christakis from Seattle children’s research Institute says that Minecraft is one of the most addictive games.

He’s the, the amazing researcher there. If you have not looked him up, do look up Dr. Dimitri Christakis. But he would say he does say that Minecraft is one of the most addictive in the reason being just the shoe size of the world. There’s a limitless number of things you could do. Therefore, your brain builds out a limitless number of things to try. And your curiosity drives the play, often is a very good thing, except when, as we’re gonna see today, it ruins the balance. If you are curious and wondering, and building, and you’re getting more of your child in the rest of life, and that’s overflowing and really just bringing more of your child to the surface, then that’s awesome. Very good.

Many times, with games like that game, not that game specifically, but many times when video games go sour it’s because we see our child getting so drawn into this game, into the culture of the game, into the people of the game, meaning the people they play with; their, their community is only with this game that they become so one sided. So overemphasized on a single facet of their personality, that they start to wilt in their other areas. And all their other investments start to go by the wayside. And we as loving parents or family members, or even spouses start to become concerned. And we begin to wonder, is this outlet healthy? That’s where we are taking this conversation today.

In the next few minutes, what we’re gonna run through is this conversation. How do we know if our video games are balanced? I’ve now introduced just how can someone find it interesting? And where is the concern? Why aren’t video games the same as every other game? That’s what I was trying to address there with the Minecraft and clash clans’ example, but there’s full other episodes if you wanna go back to the crash course on video games, you can appear more of that in depth. But in this conversation, we’re gonna say, all right, how do we know if we should bring this new tech in? How do I know which games are acceptable? How do I know if the games that we’ve accepted, that fit our expectations, are remaining healthy and how can I be a part of their world once they’re in it once we’re sure that the video games aren’t the problem and they’re blooming and blossoming as human beings?

Fulfilling their purpose in Christ. How, how do I be a part of that process if I’m not a gamer? If I am a gamer, but maybe anyway, I’ll address it. So those are the four things we’re going to be addressing in today’s conversation. So, let’s get that part of the conversation started. I’m so excited about the way this has started. Let’s continue the momentum.

So, we wanna know how we can find balance with video games. First thing is we do what we do with any new technology, we talked about this in the smartphone and the social media one. About there’s episode 133 of this podcast. If you go back it’s what, how do we know if our child should get new tech when they come to us? First thing we ask is, is it safe? And in that there’s a number of things, you can go through the podcast episode for all of the options, but really we wanna know a couple things. One, does this thing have the internet on it? Does it have access to the internet? Because with the internet comes strangers, bullies and pornography, or just unhealthy unsafe adult content in general. I should actually be broader because there’s stuff about self-harm or drug and substance abuse and glamorizing disorders. And it’s just, it’s a kind of a tricky world when your kid gets on the internet. So, we just wanna know with this new technology, does it come with the internet?

The second thing, and really before that we should even look at, but the second I’ll bring up is, is it tool or drool tech, this thing that they’re asking to use. Meaning does it help them create, or does it help them consume. That does not, does not mean good or bad. It does mean that drool tech is designed with another purpose. Tool tech only does what you want it to do. So, word processing, you wanna type a paper, it types a paper until you’re done typing a paper and it stops. It doesn’t notify you about other people’s papers, compare you to anyone else, ask for a likes from other, right? Like it doesn’t have any of that built in engagement.

Drool Tech on the other hand wants to take your time, your focus and your money. And we just need to know that up front when we’re talking about safety. Is this tech gonna be a good call for our kiddo?

The third thing we should probably ask is, does it have apps? No really, I guess it’d be two parts. Does it have apps? Is part of the internet? It also is part of the design and accountability, how we’re gonna make sure that this is removing that live anonymity, that our child feels like they’re unknown on the internet and therefore can do what they please. But to always recognize that there’s accountability apps can be tricky to keep accountable sometimes. But we also wanna know, is this gonna be overstimulating? Does this game that our child is jumping into, when we look at safety, does it just match a pace of life that is gonna be healthy for our kid?

I’ll help in a little bit on how we can assess what that safety might look like for over stimulation. So, that’s the first thing we look at with new tech. The second is family expectations. If you don’t know what I mean by that the best example I can give is Philippians 4:8. I encourage every family who’s prayerfully following the Bible and specifically living out of the hope of the gospel that is presented in the Bible in Christ. We then look at, okay, should we use this tech? What video game should we use? Well, we look at Philippians 4:8, and we’re given whatever’s true and honorable and just and pure and lovely, if it’s commendable or worthy of praise. These are the things we set our brains on. So, when we look at a video game, we go, all right, the messaging of this game, is it true? This game it’s purpose, is it honorable? The way this game handles character interactions. Is it just? The focus of this game; is it pure? Right? Like those are the things we’re thinking about. So, we simply look at a game and say, does this fit our family expectations? If we want the things, we set our hearts and minds on to be Philippians 4:8.

Great. Now we have a family expectation. You’re welcome to add whatever you would like to that family expectation, but that’s a great spot to start. Then we go, does this new technology in this case, video games support my child’s purpose? And while that’s a huge question, what I want parents to be able to get at is to be able to trust their spidey sense, and be able to have words, empower to talk to their child about what they see as a parent parents. Grandparents, mentors, teachers, you all know these young people and you can see things they cannot see in themselves. And I will say with our three kiddos I can see individual characteristics in that are positive and amazing. And that I believe is my job as a parent to prayerfully support and direct, that I did not put there.

So, Owen is eight and a half and that young man is driven, and incredibly kind and empathetic. He feels deeply. And I want to continue to feed that and challenge that and prune it, when it gets to be unhealthy. Cuz guess what? Sometimes deep feelings get in your way, and so, we need to talk about how we process these strong feelings we have.

With Henry, he absolutely loves individuals. He loves people. If you have a face, you’re his new favorite person. He has an incredible sense of humor and a way with words. And I want to feed that, and I want to see it grow. And his ability to read right now is just, it’s impressive. Not because we’ve done anything different with him other than Owen or Hadley. But just we are watching his mind, grasp these concepts and run with them in ways that really we can give him positive ways to grow that, right. There are negative ways to grow his passion for reading and words. He can learn how to be really snarky and snippy and use it as a weapon. Or we can teach him how to engage those ideas and understand when he’s slipping into being mean, versus being productive or incisive. There are ways to use satire. In fact, I would argue, we see Jesus use some of that. But there’s ways to use it well, and there’s ways to use it just in your own strength to make other people small. So, when we’re talking about our children and their purpose, we look at this game and say, does this game make them more of who they’re supposed to be? And as your child grows, they’re gonna have their own goals. They’re gonna say, Hey, I wanna. Grow up and be this kind of a person I wanna grow up and do this thing for a living. And we can ask, all right, is this game gonna help you do that? This game requires, let’s just use an example. You want to grow up and be an Architect. You want to grow up and be a game engineer. You want to grow up and be a teacher. This game requires 50 hours to beat. Or, or 150 hours to beat. Or this game requires X amount of time per day to do, does that fit? Like you want to do that? Fun. Does it fit with who you want to be? That’s a question we have to start helping our children ask. And that’s true with anything, right?

It’s I, I mean, whether you want to go skiing or on vacation, that sometimes there’s things that you just have to prioritize, and it won’t fit. So, that’s the first thing we ask before we add any new tech is, does it line up. Family safety, family expectations, child’s purpose and their own goals for their life.

The second thing we then ask is, all right, this tech is safe. We can have this gaming system in your life. I actually let’s take a half step back. So, parents who might be hearing this for the first time and going, oh no. I have, I have this gaming system and we’ve never asked that. And in fact, It does have the internet. We haven’t addressed that at all. It, it does have apps on it or it is overstimulating. It doesn’t fit our family expectations. Like we just, someone gave it to ’em for Christmas or a birthday present, or we bought it and didn’t really know. And now we’re having these regrets. This is a wonderful time to Proverbs 22:6 and raise your child up in the way they should go.

It is absolutely within, not only your possibility, but I would say strongly encouraged within your responsibility as a parent to walk back to your child and acknowledge a mistake has been made and look at your next steps. And I’ll give you the tools for how to do that next. But if you are thinking through those three and you go, no. I don’t have three yeses; either it’s not safe or it doesn’t fit our family expectations or it doesn’t fit my child’s purpose. Maybe it did. And now it doesn’t. Or maybe an aspect of it does not, but you must address this as a parent. Who’s loving your child. Because otherwise Jesus says we’re, we’re all parents know how to give good gifts and we want to give good gifts and know one who, when their child asks ’em for an egg would give them a snake.

The, sometimes our children ask for an egg. They go, Hey, I wanna have fun, mom and dad, I wanna belong with my friends and I want this system. And without being intentional, we might hand them a digital snake. This thing can bite them and poison them and cause all sorts of strife. If we’re not thoughtful and intentional in it.

So, if that mistake has been made, don’t just let, ’em keep hanging out with the snake. Like, let’s fix that. Go back. Maybe removing the system is part of it. Maybe removing certain games. Maybe adding accountability. Maybe adding structure around it. Maybe adding professional support. If your child is really struggling with some of their mental or physical or spiritual health, there might be steps that have to be taken. But that’s how you’re modeling for your child the way they should go.

It’s not just about having the best rules. It is a loving step. It’s an opportunity for you to present them with the gospel in a loving way. You’re modeling love for them, even though it’s not gonna be easy. So, I just wanna say that up front here, that if you’re this deep and you just realized, oh no, I don’t have three yeses, family expectations, safety of the device and child’s purpose, then there’s an intervention needed here. And so, please understand that you are empowered to go have that conversation. It is within your purview as a parent. And it is very loving to do.

If however, you got three yeses and you said, yes! Video games are saved for my child. Then we have to ask all which games are you gonna play? This is one of my favorite questions to answer because I’m just really grateful to be able to give you six really easy questions to answer.

Here we go, parents, should your kid play this game? You don’t have to know anything about video games. You don’t even have to like games. All you need to be able to do is talk to your kid about these six things. And I would encourage you to actually answer them with your child. Your kid comes, they might be a six-year-old, might be a 16 year old say, Hey mom or dad, can I play this game? Six questions. First, well, will we have the main character over for dinner? Easiest way to answer that is watch some quick gameplay. What’s this game like let’s let’s look it up together. Go on YouTube. Look it up. You can also go to ESRB.org, the entertainment software review board. That a group that gives you the little grade on the outside of the game. They do a wonderful little writeup paragraph on every game released, and I’ve actually found over the last several years, they’re incredibly accurate. You don’t always have to say just cuz it says teen, your teen can play it. But I assure you if it says teen, there is content in there that is not appropriate for younger than teen. Or mature, if it says M for mature, they’re not kidding. They’re not saying that just to get a, get a rating out there, I found them much more accurate than movies.

So, ESRB.ord go through first question. Character. What I have this character over for dinner, your kid is spending a lot of time online or a lot of time in this video game with this character. Is this someone you want your your child to be more like yes or no? It’s it. And it’s not like a well kind of, that’s a no. So that’s no. And then find the kind of and go find a character who’s more like what you want them to be like.

Second thing we look is violence. Is it part of it or the point of it? Some games celebrate violence and reward it. Mortal combat would be an example of that, where your goal is these finishing fatalities. They’re grotesque. And over the top. That is when I talk, the point of the game is violence. If you don’t know what I mean. Again, go on YouTube. Look at mortal combat fatalities. I’m not gonna include a link in it in the show notes, cuz I don’t need to do that. I don’t need any reference of that to this show, but if you don’t have any perspective on what I’m speaking of, it would be an example.

Three, we look at the language does a language within this game help or hurt? Does it help us practice the sort of language God asked us to share with others? Right. Is it kind, and does it build up, and is it humble? Or is it other types of language? And it’s either hateful or hurtful and we don’t need to be practicing it. You can have your own lines for what your expectation is on that. Sometimes it might just be snarky or sarcastic characters. Sometimes it’s just downright unhelpful. Be thoughtful about what is said.

Four, what are the themes? Do they line up with our family expectations? There are messages in most video games, especially the big ones. Many of them even have to do with the spiritual world, or God indirectly. Ask your young person, what the game is about. Look up a plot summary of the game. You can again do that with ESRB.ord. It’ll tell you roughly what the game addresses. You can also find it on Wikipedia, or if you just look up whatever the game title is, plot, you’ll find a, a multi-paragraph explanation of what the game is from all sorts of resources. So, you can find that out there pretty quickly and read it through, through with your kiddo.

The fifth thing you’re gonna look at is time. Does this game match your family’s time expectations? It’s a simple enough question. The, the rule I use is can it be beaten in under 20 hours because when I’ve looked at longer video games, they draw more than just the time it takes to beat. They often draw you into a lot of side adventures and it builds this general sense of dissatisfaction, both with the amount of time you’re given to play and with life in general. Because the games that you invest that much time into often feel cooler than real life. Cuz you start having more adventures in that world than in this one. I would just look at the time expectations you can go, how long to beat is a video game. It’s just howlongtobeat.com and are the game title, and it will tell you here’s how long to beat the plot. Here’s how long to like to beat all the side quest. So, something like a Minecraft will be over a hundred hours. Or a Skyrim or Eldon ring… these are all games that don’t have a quick. That’s gonna be important to know, because usually if there’s friction around time. It’s that your child wants to invest more in it, and the family says, yeah, but this game doesn’t really help you in any way. In fact, it might deter you. I’ll, I’ll give you a tool here in a minute and how to know if it’s unhealthy because of time. But that’s time. If it can be beaten in under 20 hours, there’s a good chance this game is gonna be okay. I would put a caution on some games. They’re not meant to be beaten. So, Minecraft would be one of these. In fact, Dr. Dimitri Christakis from the Seattle children’s research Institute, says Minecraft is one of the most unhealthy games he’s seen for young people. Not because it’s programmed in an unhealthy way, per se, but because the world is so expansive. Young people are actually just powered by curiosity at this point. So, even games like Minecraft, which is really cool, it’s like digital Legos. Except it has a limitless blocks and limitless exploration, and a lot of quests that are added in there as part the downloadable content, or even just in the core game, that drive our young people back to it with curiosity. And instead of that curiosity, finding an answer and now being resolved, it’s finding more quest. Which drives more curiosity, which drives more quest, which now starts the cycle of, instead of feeling contented that you’ve learned something and done something, this it develops a series of basically limitless consumption, which is concerning to us. So, that’s why we care about the time. And I wanted to explain that well, cause there’s no specific time in research that says just never play a game that is over X amount of time. I set 20 hours because in my experience with gaming, and my research on games and my talking to families with games, When time becomes an issue, it’s usually games that are encouraging effectively, limitless play. Hundreds and hundreds of hours. I, the one caveat is if your game is a battle arena game, like Fortnite, Overwatch, apex legends, these games might be 15 to 20 minutes to play but they aren’t meant to be beaten. Instead, you have to play lots and lots and lots of rounds to get good at them. So, keep that in mind, because that will, again, it’s gonna be a time expenditure that your child’s gonna want to do because of the nature of the game.

The sixth thing you ask. So, first take it from the top. When you said, should they play this game? Look at the characters. Would we have ’em over for dinner? Violence. Is it part of it or the point language themes, your time investment. What’s our commitment here by saying yes to this? If your kid, by the way, battle arena, game, kids always ask me to tell parents this, you can’t pause them. Parents, you need to know that if your kid’s playing fortnight, they can’t pause that game. In fact, if they leave that game, cuz it’s dinner now, and they’re eight minutes into a 15- or 20-minute round and they leave, their team gets punished, and they usually get some kind of demerit put against them.

So, just know that if you’re allowing them to play that you are also agreeing to either have them just swallow the punishment and take that bitter pill for all that hard work they’ve been putting. Or you’re going to have to allow them to say no when you tell them to do something, because you understand that that will actually hurt their standings in this game you said they could play. So, just make sure that conversations happened.

Sixth thing then is just the experience of the game. I break this down into three areas. Is the game played online? Again, access the internet access to strangers. What does that look like? That this game happens in a, in an online world. Second is, does it play competitively? Meaning is it player versus player? And is this game part of like a professional gaming network? So, Overwatch, Fortnite, apex legends, have professional tournaments. That’s really important because your child is seeing that. And pro gaming is now in front of them and they’re watching people make money doing this game they like. And that’s a very different world of gaming compared to something that’s just played for fun. Competitive gaming also will make your child want to practice more, cuz they wanna be good. And they, that is just a different conversation to have of, alright, how much of this is still fun and the point of a game and how much of this is slipping into an investment of time and effort, that would be much better spent developing something that could still be fun and interesting and engaging, but it would also develop you into the person you need to become?

And finally, it’s micro transactions that ability to spend money. Like I mentioned, in clash of clans to get that quick reward and do so at the expense of real-world money. So, that’s the final thought with experience of a game. Actually, I’ll add one more. You also need to know the game culture. This is another one to keep your eye out for. Search for the game first. So, do a quick Google search. Look at the game and, and the kinds of reviews that they’re getting, and the kinds of things they celebrate. Then also watch a game once your child is playing it. You’re going to get a feel for that. I encourage parents to look at game culture through, watch a video on the game, read an article about the game, and then somehow watch like the game play of it. And at that point you’re gonna have at least a general idea. I’ll give you one example of an extremely tricky one. I think it’s the trickiest game out there to review well.

And so, I’m just telling you right now as the example, At least you’ve heard of it and kind of know that it’s a thing. The game Overwatch is made by blizzard. It’s a wonderfully made game. It’s a battle arena game. So, it’s these 15-minute shoot, ’em up first person shooter games. But it’s cartoony and it’s very colorful and there’s, there’s a lot of positive to it. And one of the positives would be these digital shorts they made. So, the game doesn’t really have any storyline. The premise is you’re just battling each other. So, you don’t really need a lot of character development. However, Blizzard dumped tons of effort into making each character these six and a half or so minute intro videos.

Some of them are more or less appropriate, but they introduced these characters, and I included a link at the bottom for the bastion video. He’s a me and it’s a really cool digital short, even if it wasn’t related to this game, it’s just an amazing little video, beautifully done. Great colors, really cool storyline. You’ll have all the feels in watching it. So, please, if you want to know, like why would people like video games? Watch this video. I believe it does an excellent job of introducing anyone to why video games are such a powerful medium for just communication story and an adventure.

However, Overwatch is also an exemplary I guess, standard for how it can go wrong. Fans saw these videos. Thought that’s really cool and decided to make their own content. And it’s incredibly inappropriate. You would never know that unless you were able to search and find this, but if your child is into a game like Overwatch, wants to find these character videos, which are made by a, a really big development company, they might bump into fan made material. Not at all sponsored to support it by the company itself, but it’s still out there. So, be aware of the gaming culture, because some of them do have these subsets of followers. I mean, all of them probably have it to some extent, but some games spawn more of that than others. And it’s just important to know. Overwatch is one of the most unique. Fortnite would be right there with it. But anyway. So, just know that that, that is out there and knowing the game culture is part of it.

So, at this point, I actually wanna tap the breaks on this conversation and review what we’ve done. And we’re gonna have this be this episode. I didn’t feel good cutting out anything we’ve said so far, and I don’t also feel good just piling more on. So, we’re gonna have a part two of this conversation on Thursday. Here’s what we’ve covered so far. We know that when we look at video games, we can answer three questions to know if we should even bring this system in. First, is it safe? Second, does it fit our family expectations? And third, does it support our child’s purpose?

Does it bring out more of them or leave us with less of them after they engage with this? Second, is for the game itself. Those six questions. We want to know if this game is a good fit and we’re gonna figure that out by asking six questions. We’re gonna ask question about the character. About the violence. About the language. The themes, the time, and that game experience. That overarching culture of the game, to make sure that it is in fact gonna be a good fit.

If it is, then we know the system’s a good fit, that the game is a good fit, and now we’re gonna move forward. And when we talk on Thursday, I’ll address how we can ensure that it stays healthy, and how we can be a part of their world, whether or not we’re a gamer. So, I got excited about it. As I mentioned at the beginning, I could talk a lot about this.

So, I do want to end it here because I think you have enough to reflect on. I hope and pray. It was encouraging to you. I hope you feel empowered to have this conversation. That you see how this can apply to your own life, to your own marriage, to your own kiddos, and to those conversations, when kids come over. Right. When we start asking questions about kids, and wanting to know what they’re into, and if this is a good decision for ’em, it’s no longer just those games out there. Now we have practical ways to start thinking and processing the gaming experience our kids are desiring, or the gaming experience our kids are having.

And we can now be a part of that conversation with them because our whole goal isn’t to get them to only play good games or to never make a mistake in gaming, but instead to process the mistakes that are made and go, all right, is the game the problem, or is there something else wrong? How do we know, how do we take this to the Lord? Cause at the end of the day, the gospel is still the hope driving us forward. The fact that we are sinners in need of a savior, and that can be great news and impact even the games that we play. So, I hope it was encouraging to you. I hope that you have heard something you can apply out of this. If it was, would you think about sharing it with someone? Would you send ’em a text? Kick ’em an email or something and let ’em know. Share this on social media and let ’em know. This is something that you found encouraging and would you join us on Thursday as we continue this conversation about video games and the bigger conversation about how we can love God and use tech.

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