I’m going to be slightly controversial and confess that my kids play the Xbox regularly and that I’m happy about that. I am.
And I don’t feel a shred of guilt about it.
Now, just to clarify, this is not a sponsored post. Microsoft wouldn’t know me from a bar of soap, despite those calls we keep getting from “Microsoft” alerting us to a virus in our computer that can only be fixed with the release of our bank details…
I know lots of people frown upon computer gaming and there are valid reasons for that. But, in our family’s experience, the Xbox has been a more positive influence than a negative one. And, just to spice things up in cyberspace, I wanted to share some positives about computer games.
Here’s Why I Believe Playing Xbox is Good For My Kids
1. Gilbert’s albinism means that he has to be kept out of the sun in the heat of the day. So finding indoor pursuits that he loves makes it easier on us to look after his skin. The Xbox is an activity he can do at times during the day to keep the boredom at bay.
2. I believe the Xbox, like the iPad or any other electronic device, can be educational. 6 year old Matilda is becoming more motivated to independently read through playing games and trying to read the instructions on the screen. Anything that encourages reading is good in my opinion.
3. Through playing the Xbox, my kids are finally understanding the concept of taking turns. Most of the time they are happy to wait while the other has a go, knowing they will eventually get another turn. This is a real breakthrough in this house as turn-taking has ALWAYS caused problems between my kids.
4. The Xbox is helping with their problem solving skills too. Kids on the autism spectrum have difficulty dealing with problems and finding ways to solve them. Watching my two eldest work together to overcome obstacles in the games, more often than not without a tantrum or screaming match, has been wonderful to watch.
5. Best of all, my kids will actually communicate to each other when playing the Xbox. Normally they don’t really converse together a great deal, they never have. But since starting to play the Xbox they have been cooperatively playing together to get through stages of the game. Watching this unexpected interaction has been simply wonderful.
They have been able to use appropriate language to direct the other throughout the game. They have listened patiently to the other when describing what they are trying to do. At times Gilbert has even been correcting Matilda’s speech (very nicely, I might add)!
It’s not always rosy. We have fights over it, we have moments of sheer frustration and we do need to be firm on the time they can be on there (they would be on the Xbox 24 hours a day if they were allowed). But, overall, the benefit of seeing a real relationship develop between them and seeing them personally grow makes up for the other stuff. My husband and I have both been blown away by how well they generally treat each other while playing on the Xbox.
Sure, spending a few hours a day in front of the TV is clearly not as healthy or active as running around outside in the yard. But, I’m happy to go with it for now if it teaches my kids those other skills of cooperation, teamwork, turn-taking and problem solving.
That’s why I believe playing Xbox is good for my kids!
What do you think of Xbox when it comes to your kids?
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Kirsty, I really enjoyed reading your post and I completely agree with you! We do a lot of sport in our family, but my kids also really like playing our wii. I have noticed the same cooperation, and problem solving skills developing with my own kids. I think it is great to play the games, when balanced with other activities!
Thanks Nicole, it’s nice to know that I’m not alone in thinking that computer games do have benefits for kids when balanced with other activities. I must admit I am really getting a kick at the moment from watching my kids work together when playing games – that’s something that rarely happens otherwise and is really great to see!