New homeschoolers play video games nonstop. It’s a phase.

A lot of times when kids first leave school, they spend a few months playing video games. That’s all. Just video games. And the parents freak out.

But let’s say your kid is playing video games. What would you want your kid to do instead?

Math and reading are what most people would answer. But ask yourself why. Why not let your kid decompress from the pressures of school for a few months. After all, if school were not detrimental for your kid you wouldn’t have taken your kid out of school. So let your kid have a break.

There will be no falling behind. Really. No one falls “ behind” in math and reading from playing video games nonstop for a few months. You can easily catch up. A whole generation just caught up. I know it’s not funny, but in this moment, for you, it’s a convenient reality.

The truth is that most parents just feel uncomfortable watching their kids play video games all day. Too many people tell parents it’s bad, so the parents feel bad.  I was not immune to this. At one point, my kids played video games with their coats on as a joke – to make the point every time I saw them playing video games I’d say, “Why don’t you go outside.”

But we know that competitive video games are so so so much better for kids than conventional school. The networking to get on a team is just like trying to get a job. The team negotiations are intense and I’m amazed to see the kids do it themselves. They sound just like adults. Their phone skills are amazing because they have to talk with new people all the time — and actually collaborate with them to win. And the kids work just as hard at gaming as people do at any other sport. Those competitive gamers are intense and driven and serious.

Or maybe your kid is building on Minecraft. If your kid were creating worlds with paper and pencil or making cutouts with a scissors you would stand on street corners bragging.

This is not unequivocal support for all screen time. Video games are qualitatively superior to social media. Video games are challenging and goal oriented and social media is BS and demoralizing.

So be patient at the beginning of your homeschool adventure.  And if you get antsy, keep in mind that kids who are on social media all day long have more self-esteem than kids whose parents control their screen time with an iron fist. Because parents who are controlling squash kids self-esteem, and controlling applies to the screen because it’s a window into their social life. So chill.

Video games provide a significant and deep level of happiness

Screen time: It’s not about how much, it’s about how

Kids who play video games do better as adults

Kids like violent role playing and fantasy; it’s normal and healthy

Obsessive video game play is the most beneficial of all screen time

1 reply
  1. Angie
    Angie says:

    I don’t home school, but still strongly related to this post. My daughter has a lot of screen time (more than the recommendations and messaging that I seem to get hammered with). My natural position is to not be too concerned about it. I spend all day working on a computer with work and then do my own thing online later in the evening, so it’s basically 24/7 screen time during my working week. I kind of think screens are the future – seems counterintuitive to want to shut it down. At the moment my daughter’s screen time is fairly productive and seems to be improving her knowledge and skills – it’s largely minecraft, youtube ‘how to’ or ‘did you know’ type videos and other games. She is only 7 though so I still have a reasonable level of control over what she’s doing. Will be interesting to see how this evolves as she gets older and more interested in social media etc.

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