While driving back from work I was listening to a radio phone in with the following phrases repeatedly hurled about

  • Brainwashing
  • Fostering violence
  • Casual link to crime
  • Fuelling drugs
  • Breakdown of relationships
  • Death of books
  • Mind numbing
  • Addiction
  • Causing depression
  • School failings
  • Antisocial
  • Evil

The target of this torrent of abuse – Computer Games. Lots of people phoning in demanding that gaming is banned. Many of the callers from the sound of it have never used a computer, never mind have and clue about important stuff like a Donkey Kong.

So let’s balance out the argument a tad.

One of the best ways our son has found to unwind and release some of his anxieties is through a bit of gaming. Games like FIFA, Clash Of Clans, Fortnite, Roadblock, Minecraft and Crossy Roads. Just an hour now and then really makes a difference.

On top of helping him relax it offers other positive elements

  • Helps develop his hand eye coordination
  • Works on his fine motor skills
  • Teaches patience and the benefits of practice
  • Helps with recognising common gaming words – helps with dyslexia
  • Provides a common and interesting subject he can discuss with other kids
  • Provides a fun way of learning how to cope with time pressures.

And above all it helps build confidence and a sense of achievement. The smile on his face when he gets to a new level or succeeds in a task tells you everything. He’s still glowing after winning the Champions League with Inter Milan.

So yes gaming does have its pitfalls but let’s not forget that it can be a shed load of fun and if moderated can be really beneficial.

So while he’s not looking let’s see if I can get Newcastle United to win something. Just like in real life that’s not going to happen. Maybe if I get Mario, Sonic, Pac-man and Lara Croft on my team……

Moon Lander

If there was ever a competition for the most inept computer gamer on the planet – then get all your money on me. I am beyond useless. My latest gaming disaster involves trying to land a command module onto the moon. When you look up at the moon tonight just remember most of those craters you can see are down to me.

Pressure was on, son looking over my shoulder. Looking good then panic and yet another smoking crater formed.

“Dad I’ve found the perfect job for you. NASA have started crashing space crafts into the surface of planets. Cassini was smashed into Saturn. You would be the perfect remote pilot. You would never fail.”

“Having said that you would probably hit Saturn that hard you would probably knock it out of its orbit”