Count me among that very rare class of parents who believe that videos are a waste of time and money. Not that kids should not play any video games at all, but that they should never become a first priority. I firmly believe the money spent on video games can be better used on other forms of entertainment, something that falls along their lines of interests.
The professional environment has become very competitive these days, and I expect that competition to compound when my kids hit the labor force. The economy has not recuperated at the pace those experts had predicted and more children are expected to pursue advanced degrees. Tuition may be climbing at a quicker pace than we're comfortable with, but this past recession has magnified the importance of an academic degree.
So what would I want my son to spend his money on? For one thing, his future. He has shown a keen passion for movies. He talks continuously about writing scripts and producing movies in the future. He has even started writing two of his own. So I encourage him to follow that passion by investing in anything that will build his skill set in that career. He has a leather bound journal to write ideas as they come to him, an iPad mini to write plays and scripts. He recently went to New York and was treated to a film museum in Queens, where he found the most interesting books on the topic. He's been going to more movies than maybe he should and then there's that Netflix subscription, the occasional DVD purchase, etc, etc. You get the picture.
It may appear easier to entertain my son with his potential career. Movies are entertaining and kids love them. Maybe not all children have thought out their future as my son has or maybe he'll change his mind somewhere down the road. At the very least, he has learned the value of building dreams and the effort it takes to see them through. And children who are considering any line of work can be encouraged down this path as well. My daughter is interested in helping people, so I encouraged her to
join a local organized soccer league that plays with disabled children every week during the school year. She absolutely hates soccer but loves her time with these kids. It has given her something to look forward to, and she's found better ways to use her time than mindlessly flipping channels for countless hours.
Like any other forms of downtime, video games serve a purpose. Life should not be dedicated to only the mundane. There should be more to our existence than getting things done, especially work. So many Americans find themselves at jobs they loathe. A position they commit to for the needed salary, to live up to expectations, to whittle their time away. Imagine how much easier it would be to run a business or manage a workforce with people who show up with a purpose, or at the very least a passion. Which is why I finally gave in to my son's pleas to buy the PS4, with conditions of course. I'm afraid that if I push him too far into pursuing film, it may feel more like work and not a passion. But next summer, he will be attending a summer session on film and script writing and hopefully that will distract him from his "need" for the latest video game console. Fingers crossed.