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Parenting in the digital age: How I teach my son valuable lessons through games

I love video games and I found a way to make them a great tool to teach my son different lessons. Here are some of them.

The majority of parents say games are bad. I’m definitely not one of them. I honestly believe that everything can be bad for kids when used in the wrong way. Super-healthy diets can lead to, weirdly, health problems, paying too much attention to grades can lead to chronic stress, etc. The same goes with games - if you control it, it can be very useful to child development.

I have a thirteen year old son and we occasionally play video games. Well, to be precise, we do it two-three times a week, depending on our schedules. We both enjoy the process and I’m confident enough to think that my son spends this time with use. Sometimes we play simple competitive games just for fun such as Disc Jam or Mortal Kombat (well, yes, it’s a bit cruel, but I don’t think it’s bad for a thirteen-year-old). But sometimes, we dive into something much more complicated and, to my opinion, educational. Here are some examples.

Civilization IV

This game teaches about how agriculture has contributed to the development of civilization. My son and I create our own civilizations, control them, choose places to build new cities, hire wage workers, develop infrastructure, cultivate land, build fortresses, etc. We need to build a strategy here, which is a great thing.

While playing this game, I can teach my son about history, agrarian states, division of labour, strict social hierarchy, army as a part of a strong nation, trade between countries, religion, etc. Learning about centuries-old mankind experiences in the form of an interactive game can be a strong foundation for understanding how we got here, to this stage of civilization.

Unravel

This is the last game that we played, and I’m very fond of it. Here, you play with a cute creature Yarny made of yarn. This little fellow runs utilizing the unraveling yarn; he has to solve puzzles in order to survive.

Playing this game, we train our logic skills. I must confess, I was confused myself a couple of times while playing it. It is for sure a great puzzle for a kid’s (well, and adult’s) brain. Besides, it is also incredibly pleasant to watch, as the game has beautiful views.

Starcraft

Here is another strategy game I love playing with my sun. This is the game that made us think of a new gaming motherboard, by the way. And we did buy it, and surprisingly, my son also contributed to this purchase; he’d been saving from his pocket money.

Anyway, back to the game. If you happen to be unfamiliar with this game, here you have to manage an army, evaluate your resources and forces, and come up with a strategy to win. I’ve noticed that playing this game helps developing the ability to make decisions faster. Coming up with strategies here teaches to learn from your mistakes and reshape your way of thinking while playing.  

So, these are just three games from a big number of those I believe teach kids valuable lessons. Maybe the lessons here are not very specific and more general, but I’m just starting to write about this topic and I have much more to say for my future posts. Thanks for reading.

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