Video Games and Violence

Since the Parkland, FL high school shooting in February (which, at the time, was the eighteenth school shooting in 2018; there have been more since), gun violence has become a hot topic in the media and American society in general (see the recent blog about gun violence and the second season of the series 13 Reasons Why). The issue of gun violence is important for teens and their families not only as we think about how to keep kids safe but also as we consider what may be the underlying causes for such horrible acts. To put it in perspective, the perpetrators of four of the largest school shootings over the last decade were all between the ages of 17-23 years. One topic that has received growing attention is the role of violent video games in promoting youth aggression and violence.

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Parent-to-Parent Peer Pressure

It’s a common scenario – the kids come home from school one day and start talking about something they want. Maybe it’s a new video game, a new phone, or to go on a trip to some far locale. And inevitably it includes the phrase, “but everyone else has one, and I’m the only one who doesn’t!” (or something similar).

As a parent it can be difficult – after all, we are all familiar with feeling left out. And perhaps we’re even a bit worried on how we’ll be judged by other parents. Social media can increase that pressure, too – pictures of seemingly perfect birthday parties with coordinating colors and cute themes; smiling family vacation photos from Disney World; presents overflowing from beneath the Christmas tree; endless photos of successful sports activities. It just doesn’t seem to end.

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Pokémon Go (but look where you’re going)

Pokemon GoIf you feel like you’re living in 1999, you’re not alone. Pokémon is back (and Blink 182 is topping the charts). This time Pokémon Go is here in an “augmented reality” game instead of Nintendo Gameboy game, trading cards, or the animated television show. Don’t ask me to explain the premise in depth to you – I don’t really have a good grasp on it. It sounds like geocaching meets the Thunderdome.  Basically, you fire up the game app on your smartphone and then start trekking to prominent local landmarks — represented in the game as “Poké Stops”. You can then “see” tiny monsters called Pokémon (short for pocket monsters) through the window of your phone, as if they existed in the real world. Then, you can catch them. At other locations called “gyms” (not necessarily actual gyms), Pokémon battle one another for supremacy. Clear as mud.

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Level Up: A Guide to Parenting Gamers (Giveaway)

Parenting GamersSummertime is here… and almost winding down! The snow shovels are tucked away (hooray!), and what fills the garage are bicycles, life jackets, soccer balls, baseball gloves, scooters and various other warm-weather activity accessories that get people outside and moving. But it is not summer’s outdoor activities that we’ll focus on today, it is the indoor activities: specifically, video games.

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