Does your child love video games?
Talking about video games can be tricky. Video games bring up hurts and hopes from marriages, parenting, and personal pasts, many of which have gone unaddressed.
There’s a lot to say, but today we’re focusing on:
- Video games are awesome (that’s not an accident)
- If you choose to play them, play the good ones (I give you six questions to ask!)
- Be in all the spaces your children are in
Purposely. Your life. God’s purpose. Listen at onpurposely.com.
Nathan Sutherland: Hello everyone and welcome to the Gospel Tech podcast. My name is Nathan Sutherland and this podcast is dedicated to helping families love God and use tech. Today we are discussing video games. A topic that is near and dear to my heart, a conversation I’m really excited for.
This is the start here version again. This conversation is meant to be six really quick, hit sub 30 minute. I’ve been aiming for 20 and ending like 25 , but 25 ish minute conversation on subjects like how do we know if our tech use is healthy? How do we adopt new tech? How do we talk about tech with our kids, knowing if it’s safe or not?
Today we’re talking about video games and just trying to get into these so that if you run into a situation like, oh yeah, what was that thing? I heard it was good. You always know it’s the first of the year. It’s the start here series. If you like it and you wanna send it on to friends, [00:01:00] this is a great spot to start for a new listener.
So welcome. If you’re new, thank you to everyone who’s liking and sharing today’s conversation. When we’re talking video games, really covering three things. We’re covering that video games are awesome. The second is that if you choose to play them, make sure you’re playing good ones and there’s a way to actually know that.
And the third is that we need to be in these spaces with our children. We don’t have to love video games. And in fact, if we do love video games, there might be even a different way to handle our video game conversations with our kiddos. Since we’re modeling healthy gaming for them, there might be other actions we need to take.
So that’s the trajectory of this. Let’s see if we can do it quickly, but at least we will do it well. 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.[00:02:00]
Thank you to everyone who has made this podcast possible. Thank you for liking it, for sharing it. Thank you for subscribing so you don’t miss any new content. Wherever you listen, you can do that. So each week when a new podcast drops, you can get it. And thank you for just being a part of the conversation.
Send in your questions, inviting me out to speak at your church, at your school. Man, it’s been cool to see. So just so you guys know your support has helped us do this work. We are donor supported. We’re a 501c3. But in addition to that, and if you wanna give, you can go to gospeltech.net/donate.
I keep having people be like, you didn’t tell us how to give. That’s how you give. But where I was going with that, saying we have talks planned through into May now, which is awesome. I just booked flights for May, last night, which was awesome. That’s super cool. So happy to do that. Would love to be a resource for your church or family and talk about these things.
But what I love in this is that [00:03:00] people are sharing this content with their friends. So last week we talked digital trust. How do we build it? Cool. You have that resource and you can share that with a friend. Before that, it was, how do we adopt new tech? And before that’s how do we know if our tech is healthy?
So this is our fourth in this conversation to the start here piece. Today’s conversation, this near and dear video game conversation is cool because this is actually launching off a little mini-series. Now, if I wanted do this for a while. It’s been in the works. Micah Roberts, some of from episode 115, Micah Roberts, the guy who said only play video games if they’re fun.
Like game Like You, like your life, I believe was his actual quote. That Micah and I teamed up. And we’ve made a little mini-series. So this Saturday, February oh my goodness, fourth we’re gonna drop a little mini-series. It’s four episodes. It’s just on video games and the idea. We have two people who are passionate about video games.
Micah is an avid gamer. I’m a recovering gamer, and we’re simply gonna talk about stuff that we’re interested in, that we believe will help fill out a conversation, both for people who are passionate about video games and people who have [00:04:00] no idea. We really wanna meet in the middle. We’re talking to parents specifically.
And this, these conversations are just two friends discussing a topic on gaming. I would love your feedback, your thoughts on it. It will certainly be informative, but even more than that, I hope it’s enjoyable and I hope it pushes you further into a conversation to recognize both the gravity of what we’re talking about, that these games aren’t what we might have if you’re not a gamer at all.
I hope that it’ll set some context, but also some of just like the joy that can come from discussing, are we doing this well? Is this where we want to see it go? And that’s what that is. That’s my hope. Micah does if enjoy nothing else. Enjoy how Micah crushes his first ever podcast. This definitely is.
If you remember episode 115, I tricked Micah into doing it with me. . We like had him over. We were hanging out, and then I just put a microphone in front of him. So this is an extension from that and God has used it in some cool ways. So I hope you guys are encouraged by that. Join us Saturday the fourth for when those episodes drop.
All right, so jump in. Here we go. Video games. Woo. There’s a lot to say. Let’s [00:05:00] review what we’re covering today. Video games are. We’re then going to look at if we’re gonna play ’em, let’s make sure we’re playing good ones. And the final one is we want to be in those spaces with our kids, no matter their game, where they’re playing.
So first video games are awesome. I just wanna set this down in stone. First and foremost, there seems to be some debate about this, about are games awesome. Let’s just put that thing to rest right now. Games are awesome. They’re designed to be awesome. The reason I can say this unequivocally is because there are zero people I’ve ever met who’ve had to learn how to find a video game awesome.
You need to learn how to play it. You might need to learn how to get over some of the frustration of it, but they’re games and we are designed for games. Learning at its core is a game. You have a question, you have a process for how you’re gonna learn it, and it’s just bumping into things until you can figure that out.
This concept, that information gleaning, like I go watch a YouTube video and now I’m sudden suddenly an expert on that subject because I’ve watched four hours on YouTube about something. It doesn’t work. We learn through experience. We learn through failing. We learn through from, the hot end of the [00:06:00] stick as it were.
You get burned doing something, you’re like, man, I need to not do that next time. And that might be, you died in this game. It might be you took damage, it might be you lost equipment. Games are really good at giving you the burning into the stick to teach you what you’re supposed to do in that, it makes ’em awesome.
They don’t even compare it to things like movies and other experiences that are immersive and fun. They can be powerful and important, but video games are you engaging in a conversation. Engaging in a relationship with an entire design team, and these people are amazing. Sometimes it’s one person in an indie game.
Sometimes it’s floors and floors of people. . You go look at the credit list of some AAA major games. They’re huge, but they’re fun. They’re interactive they’re designed that way it’s on purpose. Part of that fun though, can be that it’s effortless. I mentioned that just anyone can pick up a game from a three year old to a 30 year old, to a 93 year old.
They can pick up a game and it will be enjoyable. It’s a fun experience because it’s designed to be very human, but that effortlessness can be problematic, and we do need to know that. Part of the awesomeness of games is that [00:07:00] they’re so easy to be excited by and so easy to fall into. It means it can be very easy to stay there.
You get easy wins, you get easy adventure, you get easy relationships. You get easy things that used to be hard to feel but you can get them faster than in real life, and you can get them more easily than in real life, less bar of entry, which makes you more likely to then to invest in. My friend suggested a book called, oh my goodness, I believe it’s called The Infinite Jest, is the name of the book, and the premise being what if you made a video game that was so good, it was the perfect video game?
No one would ever wanna leave it. So everyone who plays it always like dies of starvation basically, cuz they can’t pull away. And that’s an extreme example. But the premise is still true that it’s so awesome. It’s actually the awesomeness that can turn into a lack of health.
And it’s not. Some people when they think video games being unhealthy, they think it’s like sneaky voodoo work. They’re like some kind of dark magic is working on my child. No, it’s the amazingness for the most part of these games. Sometimes it’s symptomatic of something else. I don’t want to leave that out, [00:08:00] but usually it’s this game is so awesome.
Why would I ever set this down? Real life can’t add up, and that is where I came in. So when we talk about video games being awesome, my personal story simply, I played video games with the wrong purpose. I was seeking satisfaction in them. It was years and years in the making. I gamed from when I was about eight, seven or eight to I don’t know 11 and a half years ago, however old that would make me my late twenties.
And the idea behind that process is that what made me love video games is how I’m wired, what God made me to make. And that I am in no longer playing video games, I’m not losing anything. I’m that proverbial guy who sells everything he has and buys the field for the treasure in it. I gave up what I thought was my number one go-to at that time, and for a couple years afterwards was convinced I was giving up something huge for God.
And I was just an absolute martyr because I’m giving up my passion and my interest and my friend group and all these things. And I can tell you 11 and a half years down the road no, none of that’s true. I lost nothing. I still [00:09:00] have first of all, I have my job.
I’m in this job speaking to you right now because God took video games outta my life and that led me to working with young people outside of school. And that led me to realize I’m passionate about kids reaching their potential, not actually about language arts. That led me to stepping out of the classroom to start a nonprofit, which led me to starting Gospel Tech as a ministry to help families connect their tech to the gospel, which led me to running this podcast like it’s all directly back to the day when God challenged me on what I was actually doing with my gaming.
I’m not saying go give up your games. Anyway, listen to what God’s telling to do is what I’m saying. But I’m, I’ve lost nothing. I still have an amazing outlet and I gained my favorite hobby of all time in cycling. Like I lost nothing and I wasn’t doing any of this stuff 11 years ago when I gave up video games, cuz video games were my hobby and my outlet and my way of connecting with people I’m not next to right?
That was my, thing. And I never would’ve put in the effort required if I still had them. So video games are awesome and the reason I spent so much time emphasizing that is because I don’t want to come [00:10:00] at this from a standpoint of just get your kids off video games cuz there’s real life out there.
We need to understand what video games are. Some of you, if you’re gamers, you understand that. . Very cool. Some of you maybe struggle with the concept, so I just want to lay that in stone. Video games are awesome. They’re designed that way. It’s on purpose. I do want to add one more footnote. Yes. They’re easy to fall into.
That’s my story. Some video games are not games though. And this is gonna lead us to the second conversation. But. They’re not games. Games need a goal to accomplish. They need rules for how you’re gonna accomplish that goal. Like you can only play within these lines. You can only score in these ways.
You can only use as many players, like all games for all of history, have needed a goal, something you’re trying to accomplish, and the rules for how to do it. And then they need a way for you to know if you’ve won. It’s time limit, it’s number of points, it’s whatever it is you’ve got to the certain destination and now you’ve won some games don’t have that.
They basically only want you to keep playing. It’s not a game and the like, we’re gonna beat this game. It’s a game. Like [00:11:00] life’s kind of stinks. Come live here instead. We need to be very aware of that because they can be packaged in some sneaky ways. I would say Fortnite would be an excellent example of that.
There, it feels like there’s an end game because oh, I played out of these number of players and I ranked third out of this group. That kind of feels like that’s an end except zero times has anyone ever finally won their squad match and said, oh, great. I won, so I’ll just leave now. That’s not, the game is set up to get you to go, great now you’re good in this ranking, like you should try again.
And it encourages you to come back for more points and for more skins and for more challenge. And maybe you’re good enough to go pro, maybe you should think about that. And it’s tied in to engage and then to capture your attention, to really take your time, focus, and your money.
So do know games are awesome and some of them aren’t designed as games. They’re designed as something else. They’re just called games and we need to, it’s like smartphones are not actually phones. They’re app delivery systems, so that just doesn’t roll off the tongue. We need to be aware of that. The second thing then is if [00:12:00] you’re gonna play a game, play the good ones.
Really, what I want you to think about is this. There are six questions you can ask to know if this game is good. It’s not simply do you like it? Your kid comes and says, Hey, can I play this game? You don’t know. So here’s what we can ask. We can simply look at the characters and I’m gonna give you six categories, and then a question for each.
First we’re gonna look at characters, then we’re gonna look at the violence language, play times, themes, and game experience. In these six, in under three minutes, you can answer that. First characters. Would you have the character over for dinner? Yes or no, and then explain it with your child. No, we’re not gonna let you hang out with that person a couple hours a week.
That’s a bad decision. Pick a different game. Cool. Then we go to violence. Is violence part of the gamers at the point of the game? The best example I’ve been able to come up with Mario Brothers, when you jump on a goombah it gets flat. It goes away. I’m assuming that goomba probably had a family, but that’s not part of the game.
It’s not really like the process that we’re aiming for. It’s just as it’s an obstacle. We get through goombahs and we move on to the little flag at the end. That’s the end of the story. [00:13:00] But there are games where violence is the point of it generally, cuz you’re rewarded for that. Mortal Combat would be the example.
You’re trying to get your opponent down to this kind of dazed state when you can rip out spines and hearts and do other sorts of horrific things. Or Doom where the most recent iteration of Doom where you get points for certain executions and that’s how you get your ammo and things like that.
Those games are built around violence versus, what, violence is kind of part of it. Mario Kart. Sure there’s violence in there, I get it. Like you are actually knocking people off course, but it’s all very cartoony, comicky and it, I think there’s an argument to be made for that. That’s what we need to think through with the violence of our games.
All right. Third, is the language. Is it helpful or hurtful? I’m talking both in-game language and the language of live people. If it’s online, if it’s competitive, and if it’s being played with other individuals that you don’t know is a really good chance, language is going to be harmful. The question is just, where’s your kid at?
How do you manage that? You can turn off sound, you can turn off mics. There are options. Apex Legends has a system for that, [00:14:00] but you need to know at least what’s going on in the game. If you don’t know how to check that, go to esrb.org, the Entertainment Software Review board. Type in the name of the game you want, and click on it.
And they’ll run through the specifics of this kind of language is used within the game at least. Fourth is playtime. Really all I care about for Playtime is can it be beaten? That’s it. That’s my only standard anymore. I used to have a whole schematic. All you need to know now is, can it be beaten? Can the game be played like a game?
There’s an end game. It’s completed, and you can set it down. Mario Brothers takes about 30 minutes. Super Nintendo, Mario Brothers, super Mario Brothers, maybe 45 to an hour. Then you get into some other games. There are games that take 20, 30 hours. There’s games that take a hundred hours, as long as it can be beaten.
That’s the only standard I’m asking you, because really all I want to know is contentment. Is this game allowing you to play it like a game or is it demanding that you constantly give it more? Is it constantly pecking you when you’re away about the fact that monthly subscription you have, it’s just going to [00:15:00] waste and you’re not even using it right now?
That’s not okay. I’m not happy with that, and I don’t love that for anyone. So check with playtime. Can this game be beaten? And if it can, probably scores pretty well on this one. It probably is a yay instead of a nay. When we come down to the next one, then it’s themes, do messages, line up to a biblical standard.
Basically we’re talking about a family standard. Philippians 4:8 is one that we use a lot. But this idea of that does this line up with the truths the Bible teaches us? If it doesn’t, how can we address that? Just be intentional. A lot of games have themes that don’t line up with whatever is true and whatever’s honorable and whatever is just, and whatever is pure, and if it’s lovely and commendable and excellent and praiseworthy that we should think about these things as Romans 8:5 tells us we should set our minds on the things of the spirit.
That oftentimes themes of games don’t do that. So we just wanna be aware, what are the themes of these games? What’s happening in it? How’s the image? How’s the, excuse me, the artwork, how is the [00:16:00] thematic? Like the lighting, and then what’s the messaging? And finally the game experience. Basically, I wanna know, is it a fast-paced game?
Does it have live competitions? Is this something people go pro in? Are there live people actively trying to get famous in this? And then are there microtransactions? Does it want me to spend real money? Right there, I would just say if it’s six outta six and you said, absolutely, this is amazing. It lines up and this is healthy and all six of these, then that’s a fine game for you to play.
If there’s a five outta six, you’re like, you know what? This game’s awesome except it just can’t be beaten. We can talk it out. And Minecraft is one where families go, Hey, you know what, we just, we set up time limits and we play 30 minutes twice a week and we’re good to go. And my child is content with that.
Again, I would put the word contentment. The only problem with the time is that it’s driving you towards a lack of contentment. So if your kid can be fine with the amount of time you’ve agreed on, cool. But if you’re constantly having battles or constantly sneaking it or right like that next piece, then we have an issue.
And that’s not an issue to win. That’s an issue to converse on. That’s now I’m going to my son or daughter and saying, I see that you love this game. I really appreciate how [00:17:00] passionate you are about it. It’s causing you to be disobedient. It’s causing you to be unhealthy. It’s causing you to give up what you need for what you want.
You need sleep. You don’t need this game. If you’re choosing this game over your sleep, that’s a problem. We’re officially gonna make a change, right? That’s, it becomes your talking point. So that’s my hope in this. That’s a talk it out point. If you just have one off, and if there’s two or more things about this game that are off, you need an alternative.
Maybe you need to move to a non-digital game. Maybe you just need a different game in that same avenue, but you need to help your child think through what else they could do for fun. So when we talk about, video games, when we talk about the playing the good ones, play games that are awesome parents often and exasperation go, Nathan, what game should we play?
The one I always come back to is Mario Kart, play Mario Kart. It’s great, it’s social, it has very quick, beatable, succinct. Even if you play the storyline there’s circuits, you race and then you’re done. There’s certainly some gamification built in, but they, you buy the game, you either earn the skins or just get them in the deluxe version.
It is an [00:18:00] excellent example of that done well, and you don’t have to pay the monthly subscription to use it. That’s just to play against live opponents elsewhere. You can still just play through your console, which, or against the computer. In my world, that is excellent and wonderfully safe when it comes to gaming options.
Those are the six ways we know if our games then are worth playing. Should we play this game? Now you know. We have Philippians 4:8 to line it out. We have really these games should be drawing out Galatians 5:22, the Fruit of the Spirit. This game should bring out love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness.
That’s what it should bring. If you go back in ring Galatians 5:19-21, there’s a whole list of like envy and division and jealousy and these things that fits of rage, fits of anger. We wanna make sure that’s not being drawn out of us. And if it is, we do a self-check and say, all right, is this just a me thing that I’ve got issues I need to address?
Or is this game encouraging this behavior? Let’s address it. And then basically we want more of you, we want more of your [00:19:00] kid to be present once you’re done gaming. This is board games for me. I can play a board game, I can play it for an hour, I can play it for two hours, and I walk away, more present, more ready, more energized, coming back to my family.
And we had a good time, and I can remember it. Video games, that was not the case. I would finish video games and go, man, that was so amazing. When can I get back to that? I don’t always remember who I played with , who was in the room at the time because the game became the preeminent thing. And this is where I’d caution parents who are gamers.
That’s amazing that you have healthy gaming as part of your life. Do that with your kids. This is transitioning to our third point, which is be in the space with your kiddo. But keep in mind that you may not have to. Just healthy gaming. You may have to model hanging out and engagement outside of games.
So if you go gaming is my thing. So if we’re talking about games with our kids, awesome. Like my kids should come be a part of this. That’s great. You should also make sure you’re modeling healthy life outside of games because many of us are incredible at being healthy in the space we’re comfortable and [00:20:00] we need to model that for outside our kids, which is why this third point is a point at all.
Third thing you need to do is if the first one is games are awesome. So recognize that. Second is play the good ones. Third is to be in the space with your kid. If you’re a natural gamer, you’re gonna be there, you’re gonna play the good games, you’re gonna do that well, you’re gonna model healthy behavior. You’re gonna model following Philippians 4:8 in your family framework knowing that you’re choosing good games that represent who God is calling you to be.
And that bring out the best, the Galatians 5:22 in you. So let’s you do that well, however, Not all of us do that well. If you do that really well in games, your job is to model how that transfers to real life. You need to put intentional effort into making space and time for your kids outside of games.
Most of us though, we send our kids to games. It’s nice, it’s quiet. They can’t get that hurt in the process, right? Like they’re not getting into that much trouble in that game, right? We need to go be in those spaces. So really, You let your kid play this game. You’ve decided it’s a good addition.
You’ve set up your framework and know your standards. Now, go in that space, even if it makes you motion sick. Even if video games aren’t your thing, your kids are your thing. [00:21:00] So three ways to do that. You ask questions. Be curious. Kids absolutely love, especially gamer kids absolutely love when people are curious about their games, they want a chance to teach an adult.
They want a chance to talk about that boss, that level, that character, that design aspect. There’s a really good chance if your kid is super into video games, they know other people who are good at this video game. Ask them who do you watch that plays this game? If your kid has the internet and video games, they probably watch YouTubers who play games or Twitch streamers, or they’re on a Discord chat.
Out there in the community learning about this game and just ingesting it. Make sure you’re out there with them, hearing what makes them tick. If nothing else, you’re gonna hear about their friends, what gets them excited, the levels they like, whether they enjoy the story, the type of play they like. Some of them are first person shooters, some of them are puzzlers, some of them are action games.
Some of them are resource management, like you’re gonna have to learn a bit about it. And some of your kids are self-medicating. They’re depressed, they’re angry, they’ve been hurt, abused they’ve made mistakes. They’ve got stuff going on in their life they don’t know how to [00:22:00] handle and video games or they’re out and you’re going to hear that come out in the way they talk about their games.
You’re gonna hear them start talking about how games are better than real life and how games are the only spot they feel happy and the place they feel like they belong. You are designed for this world. Absolutely there’s a way to belong in a digital space, but if you’re running into that digital space because you believe this world has nothing for you, that’s a lie.
And we as loving parents, wanna be a part of figuring out what’s going on, what’s feeding that lie, what’s causing that pursuit. Cuz that sounds a lot like self-medication via video games. So the first thing we do is ask questions. Then we’re gonna learn how to engage this video game. Yeah, you’re gonna be terrible.
You’re gonna be staring at the sky running in circles. And that’s amazing. You’re gonna get motion sick. You’re gonna enter your kid’s world though, and be a part of it, because that’s what Jesus did for us while we were still sinners us, before we asked for it, before we even knew we needed it. He came and did that work.
And you’re doing the same for your kid. Your kid may not even realize they have an issue. You are gonna go be in their space, not shouting from the outside. Be more like me. I’m amazing. And said you’re gonna model [00:23:00] being like Jesus and go into their space and be a part of whatever it is. And if it’s really broken, like I don’t know, you guys ever watched something you thought was funny until a parent came in the room and then it happened and you’re like, Ooh, not as funny with my parents here.
And there is a little bit of that. You don’t have to bring judgment, you just have to be a loving person. And they recognize, man, this person loves me. And now that I know I’m loved, that’s not as awesome as I thought it was. That happens. But more importantly, what happens is your kid’s gonna feel validated.
Validated is that word. I hear myself use that word. I hear myself use this word. I would say they feel valued and intentionally pursued. Let’s use that. I don’t think you need to validate your child’s choices while they’re playing games. You also don’t need to correct them in real time.
Be a part of it. Learn is the second one. Ask questions. Learn how to be a part of it. Learn why it’s hard. Learn some respect for what they’re doing, cuz it can be very difficult cuz that leads to third one is play together. Whatever your kid’s doing, play together. Your kid likes baseball, go play it. I don’t love baseball, my son does.
I play it , [00:24:00] right? Like I just, I wanna be a part of it. My sons aren’t into what I’m super into. That’s all right. They don’t love cycling. Okay, that’s fine. I They don’t love wrestling. All right. I get it. My I have secret prayers, . One day they will, but they may not. And that’s okay. The main thing is valuing our children and letting this be a big deal because our kids are into it.
And again, we’ve already assessed adopting new tech and we’ve already ensured that this tech is a good choice for this season. That’s the last two episodes. If you haven’t heard, so go back to the last two and listen to those. But that’s what we’re doing. We’re playing it together. If it’s, by the way, I’ll just say this out loud, I don’t know if it needs to be said, but let’s say it if the game is a terrible fit, if you gave a gift or they received a gift, say for Christmas, and they got a gift, a game from a friend, or they even said, can I buy this game?
And you said, yeah, but you didn’t really check it that and you now have witnessed something in that game that’s terrible. It is absolutely a loving step to go you know what I love you enough to take this from you. I realize that gave you [00:25:00] serpent instead of a fish, I gave you a stone instead of an egg.
That is a, it’s a mistake that I made. I’m sorry about that. And I’m gonna make it right now. We’re gonna take this and we’re gonna replace it with something better. Maybe a different video game, maybe a different experience, maybe a different opportunity, maybe a non-digital game, a board game cool.
A sport or whatever it is for you. But just recognize that Absolutely going back, saying, I’m sorry I messed up, I need to fix this, but I’m gonna, I’m gonna make it up to you. It’s absolutely reasonable. It’s absolutely loving. It doesn’t mean it’ll be popular, but it does need to happen. In conclusion today as we talk video games video games are amazing.
They’re not for everyone. I’m not telling you go out today and play video games cuz it’s the only way to have fun. I’m saying don’t be scared of a game just cuz it’s on a screen. Like they can be incredible experiences. In fact, for some of us, they’re the only fun that makes sense in the digital world because a lot of those other ones are just lame.
So do know that there are some of us that are just wired for that. For others of [00:26:00] us, they just, they hate it and they see it as an incredible waste of time. There is a growingly or I don’t know if that’s how you say it, there’s a shrinking portion of the population who does, isn’t into games at all, but more than two thirds of the US population at least plays video games.
Anyone from three year olds, 93 year olds can play video games and lots of famous people. In fact, just recently I learned that Joe Rogan had a bit of, too much of an affinity for video games and has had to stop playing as well which is a random human to hear that about. There are people all over the spectrum who have recognized both the wonder of video games and the unhealthy draw they can have in our lives where we start to mess up our priorities.
We start to choose our wants over our needs. So just know that’s a real thing. Games are awesome. We just also need to recognize that. They expose what makes us tick. So as parents, these are a wonderful playground for us to learn about our kiddos. Second is that we need to play good games. That list of six things where we can run through and say, all is this game a good choice for characters, [00:27:00] for violence, for language, for the playtime, for the themes, and for the game experience?
Look at those. Make that decision for you and your kiddo. And finally, go to that space. Ask questions, learn how to play it, then play together be part of the journey you’ve allowed your child to go on and walk that path with them. Because at the end of the day, it’s not about choosing the perfect game, playing video games, or never having played a video game.
At the end of the day, it’s about what brings our hearts hope and joy. And our hope and joy comes from the fact that we are sinners in need of a savior, recognizing need and recognizing the solution for that need. When Jesus says, I am the way, the truth and the life, I am the way to the father. No one knows the father, but through me.
He’s not being narrow as Tim Keller so delightfully says he’s not being narrow, he’s being truthful. And that’s where we get our hope is recognizing like, man, I am in need. I need someone who can do what I can’t do. I need God to come and not just make me better, not give me a better way, but give me the way to him so that I can be whole and so that I can be [00:28:00] saved.
So that’s our concept of the gospel, is that we’re sinners saved by grace and that we’re saved for good works not from ’em. And good works can exist in the video game world. They can exist beyond it. So my hope today is that you’re encouraged by this conversation that you join us Saturday.
Micah and I launched this little four part series on gaming and, anyway, listen to it. I’d love your feedback and what you think. And I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Does this conversation help you? Do you have more questions about video games? And would you join us next week as we continue this conversation about starting with technology, connecting the gospel, and about how we can love God and use tech?