There was an unearthly silence that hung in the air one evening. I was going about my business: laundry, dish washing and other tidying up chores that take up a fair amount of my time. Then I realized that the other two occupants of this household were nowhere to be found at that very moment. Hmmm….it was to hot to be outside enjoying the fresh air. Equally unlikely was any destination outside of the home unless it was the comic book shop or the local ice cream parlor or video game store. No, I would have been notified of their impending departure to those obvious father-daughter haunts. And then it dawned on me as I heard murmurs of oh no and distant static gunfire bursts. I though it could not be and yet it was. HALO. More specifically HALO: Reach.
I hesitantly went down the stairs, not prepared for what I saw. The basement family room had become Video Gamer Central (replete with beverages, an assortment of snacks and empty wrappers). My kindhearted daughter and devoted husband were in the throes of a death match with others on Xbox Live. My daughter (dubbed the Chosen One) was online trying to defeat the arrogant teen cousins of the West. Headsets glowing and trash talking banter intertwined with the space soldiers barking orders made for a unique feast of sight and sound. My first thought was to demand that they finish the game and head upstairs to join the rest of the world. Then I thought better of it and bit my tongue, figuratively and literally.
According to a recent study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, parents engaging in age appropriate video game play with their children is linked to achieving stronger familial bonds, strengthening overall mental health and reducing the likelihood of contentious behavior (aka talking back to mom mad dad; okay that was my two cents as a parent).
The Journal of Adolescent Health researchers infer that parent involvement in the area of gaming has more of an impact on daughters versus sons. Fathers were more likely to play video games with their children; mothers were less likely to be participants. The positive outcomes were as follows: more quality time and increased communication between parent and child. Thus, the parent-child relationship is overall improved. In the long run, effects of playing Wii Bowling or Just Dance with your wee one is far-reaching.
Though this started as a post about being a Halo widow, it was really about the impact of connecting with sons and daughters through gaming. As I settle down on the couch with controller in hand, I can be assured as I am being obliterated by the Covenant mercenaries in the Halo universe that my daughter is on her way to being a capable adult.
For more info, please check out this link to the article: http://m.nbcnews.com/technology/ingame/gaming-your-daughter-good-her-125296