When I first started playing LOTRO, my kid’s ages were 10, 8, 6 and 4 years. In those days, they had a fairly strict bedtime of 8:00 in order to maximize both their sleep time and my wife and I’s sanity. Thanks to this rule, I was able to put off playing video games until afterwards. It was convenient for me to be able to completely separate video game time from family time, as I was very cognizant of the fact that my kids were growing up quickly, and I didn’t want to be distracted from spending quality time with them, especially for something as trivial as my own personal entertainment.
I was listening to the Burton and Scrooge podcast the other day, when host Roger Edwards said something that made me pause and reflect upon my own behavior. Near the closing of the show, he noted how, at a recent movie theater visit, many small children were present at a film that was obviously not appropriate for a young audience. As I was nodding along and heartily agreeing about how parents should be more cautious about exposing their children to some of these images and messages, it struck me that I am guilty of this very thing with my own kids. This train of thought has brought me to a familiar conclusion: parenting is tough! It’s the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do, and sometimes I fail miserably.
I love Steam’s Family Sharing feature. I’m always a little peeved when I take a step back and notice the fast-paced tech industry ignoring the concept of “family unit” in favor of pushing everything towards individuals with credit cards. This is especially irritating in the gaming world, when you realize that historically, video games were developed and marketed mainly towards kids, and without whom the industry itself might not even exist, today. So I’m always happy to see big companies like Apple, Amazon and Valve taking families into consideration through sharing and parental features.
NPR radio show “This American Life” put out a great podcast episode this week focusing on fathers. Specifically, it spoke of the difficulty dads have in communicating with their children. While not universal, I do see this as something that fathers have traditionally struggled with, especially dads who spend most of their time interacting with other adults, conducting serious business, and trying to provide for their families financially. Some of the issue may be cultural or generational, but generally I just wonder if fathers who struggle communicating with their children (and spouses, too) just don’t get enough practice.