According to a Reuters story, playing video games can be healthy for you. Which is good news for me.
I've been playing them since Pong appeared. I sunk every spare quarter into machines when I was in my early teens: Asteroids, Space Invaders, Galaga, Galaxians, Wizard of Wor, Battlezone, Dig Dug, Joust, Jump Bug, Centipede and dozens more I can still picture in my head but don't really remember the names for. I don't play as much as I used to but I do still enjoy them.
My kids love video games, too; particularly my older son who saved for 18 months to get himself an Xbox 360. Well, okay, he paid for it and I got it by standing outside of Best Buy at 5:15 a.m. on Boxing Day to get a good deal.
Even my dad, now in his 70s loves video games. A Holocaust survivor, he is particularly fond of any game that allows him to kill nazis as part of the story. All three of us enjoy a good game of Castle Wolfenstein, one of the best first-person RPG games ever and one that is based on mowing down battalions of nazis.
According to Reuters, video games "can satisfy deep psychological needs and, at least in the short term, improve people's well-being, new research shows."
This is not the first time that research, despite the naysayers who claim video games create violent tendencies, divorce people from reality and create isolation, has shown that they are quite possibly beneficial. I'm a pretty normal guy for the most part, my dad is highly respected by his peers and and very successful in his field and my son is anything but anti-social when it comes to outside activities.
There are, as with TV, boundaries. It pisses my son off that I won't let him watch wrestling but I can't tolerate what I consider to often be incredibly negative treatment of women. He can shoot cartoon nazis but I don't want him to believe that insulting and degrading real life women is acceptable behaviour.
Heck, for that matter, he can shoot real-life nazis when he gets older if his country calls on him to do that and he answers. I don't think it's gonna happen; the nazis are gone. And, I certainly hope other threats are extinguished before he grows older but I'm not holding my breath.
In the meantime, maybe the games will act as simulators and teach him a little something...just in case.