This evening I came home to find TBK once again beating the crap out of his alien friends on Halo3. Since having had the xBox for Christmas he’s spent more time than I’ve ever let him before seated in front of his computer playing games.
I’ve alieviated myself of some the guilt of being one of ‘those’ parents who sits their children in front of the box to entertain themselves by a. Convincing myself that with xBox live at least it’s social, as in he might be by himself but he’s not playing alone and b. Once the evenings are lighter and the weather warmer he’ll be back out on his bike and in and out the front door like a yoyo just like the last few summers.
I say some of the guilt as I’d still had doubts, I was still worried of the ‘mind numbing effects of playing pointless video games’ and didn’t wish him to become a statistic of the illiterate generation we hear so much about in the media.
I know I’ve been worrying unnecessarily as my mis-spent youth visiting friends houses and setting up our own LAN parties for weekend long games of Quake hardly set my development back at all – and you’ve only got to have a conversation with TBK to see he’s a well rounded 10year old, but as a parent you can’t help but worry.
I discovered needn’t have!
This evening TBK showed me in style why I have no need to worry about computer games stunting his academic development.
Whilst in the virtual world of Halo he was running across a sandtrap and jumping to strike a competitor, gravity hammer in hand, In the real world he’s sitting in the arm chair screaming “Onomatopoeia” at the screen and the following exchange took place ..
Me: why did you say that? Do you know what Onomatopoeia means?
Me: explain then….
TBK: it’s when a word sounds like its spelt, like bang, and the gravity hammer goes bang when you hit something, so….Onomatopoeia!
I don’t mind admitting that I think I was a whole lot older than 10 before I grasped the concept of onomatopoeia, in fact I can still remember learning about it in secondary school, which definitely made me older than 10, and I don’t think there has ever been a time in my life where I’ve had a discussion that included the word onomatopoeia or used it outside of that classroom before this evening.
So if TBK wants to spend his down time plugged into his xBox talking to the voices of his disembodied friends hunting aliens in “pointless video games” then so be it because it’s at times like this evening that I realise it’s not doing any harm at all!