Shelby Cain talks gaming.

Shelby Cain talks gaming.

The Parent Trip – Video Games

I’ve got gamers. Somehow, right under my nose, my three and five year olds have become feverishly passionate about something I hate.

  • Jan. 5, 2015 5:00 p.m.

By Shelby Cain

I’ve got gamers. Somehow, right under my nose, my three and five year olds have become feverishly passionate about something I hate. Video games. How did this happen? One day of unsupervised play with their older cousins, that’s all it took.

They were ruined. Why do I say ruined? Let me give you a little back-story on my history with video games. When I was a kid, video games were just becoming popular. We would gather in someone’s basement and take turns playing Super Mario. As my turn approached, my heart would pound and my hands would turn slick with sweat. I’d cling to the joystick, trying to block out the merciless taunting from my brothers, and start running. Within fifteen seconds, buckling under the intense pressure, I’d fall to my death. Everyone would laugh. I can still hear the incessant song in my brain. After that, if I wanted to continue playing, I’d have to wait 45 minutes until my turn came up again.  When I wised up, I swore off playing video games for life.

Fast forward five years, I’m now in high school, and I’m asked out by an older, ‘cool’ guy. By asked out, I mean he tells me to come to his house, or not, whatever. I was so excited. I spent the week trying to choose a Club Monaco sweatshirt that went with acid wash jeans, and stocking up on hairspray. On Saturday, I go over and his mom leads me to the basement where he’s sitting on his couch playing video games. One hour later, without a word spoken, I leave. I don’t think he even knew I was there. On that day, I vowed to never be in a room with anyone playing video games, and to never waste good hairspray or good tears on a loser again.

My vows have been broken. What is it with video games? I’ve gotten the argument that the new ones are educational, they teach math and problem solving and how to kill pigs in space. Maybe that’s true. But have you tried to take one away from your child without notice? It’s like taking a bone from a rabid dog. They go into hysterics. I’ve never seen this with TV. This is new. And scary. When they’re not playing, I can see their wheels turning. They’re thinking about when they can play again. Like an addict. As a parent, I’m not sure what the best move is. I don’t want them to be the clueless one that dies in 15 seconds and gets laughed at. But I also don’t want them to be so lost in their game they miss what’s right in front of them, like a cute girl with a perfectly matching outfit and gravity-defying bangs. Help!