04 Aug, 2021 Are Video Games Good For Christian Households?
by Josh Reedy
“THOU SHALT NOT PLAY.”
Wait, does it really say that?
In my previous article we covered the dangers of violent video games, or rather, discovered how dangerous they may or may not be. This still leaves some questions for the Christian parent. We often wonder what the bible says on the matter. Or, some may think there must be better things for their children to spend their time on. So much time can be spent on video games that parents will even question if their gamer may have an actual addiction. Technology will never and should never replace the significance of human interaction and relationships. The book of Proverbs gives us guidance when it comes to this issue.
“Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it”
How does one “train up a child?”
We read this passage and may interpret it much like Insight for Living Ministries does.
“Be sure your kids attend Sunday school and church regularly. Teach your children to know and obey the Ten Commandments; teach them to pray at mealtime, bedtime, and for emergencies. And be sure to feed them a steady diet of Bible verses. Do this early on because—watch out! —teenage rebellion, where they will sow a lot of wild oats, will detour their spiritual journey. When their fling is over, they’ll come back to God. You can count on it because this verse has God’s promise on it.”
Does that sound too simple?
It would be nice if it were this simple. However, as they point out throughout the message, this is not an accurate interpretation of the scripture. The words, “Train up in the way he should go,” are more accurately interpreted as “use things that appeal to your child’s natural instincts.” This makes guiding them to grow into the person God has called them to be, much easier. More specifically, this would mean that training up a child does not look the same from family to family, or even child to child!
“What does this mean for my child?”
It means that simply being Christian does not rule out your child playing video games. As a matter of fact, depending on your child’s God-given instincts, gifts, and talents, playing video games may enhance their abilities. Playing video games has been proven to improve the player’s hand-eye coordination, problem-solving skills, spatial interpretation, and much more! This includes the 2010 decoding of the human genome by a collaboration of gamers who worked together using their problem-solving skills to do so.
What about games with bad content?
This does raise a good point and is a large part of the reason I write video game alerts for Counter Culture Mom. Biblically, I cannot find a passage that would directly rule out violent video games from a Christian’s life. The passages that would lead us close to a conclusion of video games being bad are those along the lines of general protection of one’s thoughts or what a person takes into their body.
For example, you could use Phillipians 4:8 to say that violent video games do not perfectly line up with this list of things to think on. However, you could make the same argument for the story of a woman driving a tent peg through an evil mans’ head (Judges 4:21).
I am NOT saying that any scripture is bad. On the contrary, I would argue that all scripture is good, and good for us. Because of this truth, we must rethink how we choose between good and bad for our families. The bible contains swear words, detailed gore and violence, sex, substance abuse, witchcraft, and the worship of other gods. Granted, video games and other media probably aren’t inspired by God the way we know scripture is. This does however show that we cannot immediately deem a game as bad because it contains these elements.
Are there even any GOOD options? How do I choose?
Prayer: I always recommend praying about the content you are unsure of. James 1:5 tells us that God gives wisdom to those who ask for it.
Educate Yourself: Take some time to familiarize yourself with a game, read the ESRB rating, watch some gameplay trailers, check the Counter Culture Mom App for video game alerts. If we don’t have an alert for a game, you are curious about contact us and we would be glad to assist!
Look for Intent: Look at the meaning of the game, the message it is trying to send, and how it is trying to do so. What type of violence are you dealing with? “Cut Em Up” violence is very different from war reenactment and both serve a different purpose. Did a swear word add emphasis?
Know Your Child: What types of content do you already expose them to? Have you seen negative effects of that content in their actions and demeanor? How old are they? You might not let your 7-year-old play Red Dead Redemption II, but your teenager probably isn’t interested in Go Diego Go.
Set Time Limits: Video game addiction is a real problem, especially as games are designed to be more and more real. Games with virtual reality can make children (and adults) forget they are even just playing. If you notice your child being irritable when they cannot play video games for extended periods or throwing tantrums when it is time to turn them off, you may want to consider evaluating and adjusting the current limits.
***MY BIGGEST TIP***
PLAY WITH YOUR KIDS! I cannot tell you how many games I have researched, checked, and read about only to be blown away by the negative content mentioned nowhere else until seen in the game. This is not only a great way to keep your kids safe, but it is also a great way to connect with them on their turf. Plus taking time to play as a family can be a great tradition which leads to other activities.
OUTSCHOOL IS FOR YOU!!!
Whether you travel for sports, are homeschooling your kids, or you simply want to fight the “I’M BORED” monster, you’ve got to try Outschool!
Does your child hate math but love Minecraft? Love art, but you can’t afford art school? Outschool has so many AFFORDABLE and FUN options available. Some classes are as little as $5-$7! If you sign up with our link, you’ll get $20 to try out a class or two!
If your family needs assistance, you can sign up for their $300 scholarship to go towards classes!
THERE IS NO REASON NOT TO TRY OUTSCHOOL!
“Do not envy the violent or choose any of their ways.“
Josh Reedy is a husband to his wife Elizabeth and father to three cats, Logan, Slade, and Raven (All named after comic book characters).
An avid gamer, he brings to the table a degree in Pastoral Counseling and a passion for seeing Jesus glorified in all entertainment, including video games.
Full-time Josh is an Operations consultant with an emphasis on technology. He has several hobbies: First and foremost, he loves to play video games. Next up, playing music on his guitar, and lastly building super-fast gaming computers from scratch.
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