Jim Daly Christian Blog and Commentary

Do You Let Your Children Play Video Games?

  • Jim Daly Jim Daly is president and chief executive officer of Focus on the Family, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families thrive.
  • 2012 May 17

Posted by Jim_Daly May 16, 2012




When it comes to video games, Jean and I have a pretty simple and straightforward rule:

No guns, no blood, no bad language and, obviously, nothing that’s sexually suggestive.

So I know what some of you are probably thinking:

It’s still possible to purchase and play Pong? 

Our boys actually play a very limited amount of games on Wii, usually sports-themed and always very innocuous in nature.

But we know parents who feel strongly that any type of video game is just a bad idea and a poor use of a child’s time. Whether or not it’s gaming, Facebook or watching television, there’s no question that the average child is experiencing far more “screen time” than ever before.

I’m not so sure that’s a good thing.

There are only so many hours in a day, and childhood is a finite season of life. Is it possible that we’re doing our kids a disservice by allowing them access to tools that discourage creativity and hamper the development of social and intellectual skills?

Whatever happened to cultivating a child’s imagination? This generally only happens when it’s quiet. We need to deliberately set aside such time and, to quote Jane Austen, encourage them to “indulge [their] imagination in every possible flight.”

On the cusp of summer, it would be a good idea to exchange “screen time” for “sky time” and see to it that our children take time to play in the sun and gaze into the stars, to “wonder anew what the Almighty can do” in their young lives.

Here’s an idea: how about challenging our children to read a stack of good books these next few months?

My colleague, Tim Goeglein, wrote yesterday and reflected on a recent speech he made at Patrick Henry College, where 90% of the students come from homeschooling backgrounds. Here is what he shared:

The student body is remarkable. They read Thucydides, Burke, Livy, Montesquieu, Tocqueville, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, Milton, Spencer, and Dante.

I am bowled over. Wow. The future is bright.

I’m not sure how many Patrick Henry College students play video games, but I suspect that it’s far, far below the average.

Let me ask you how you see this issue. Is it black and white for you?

Do you let your children play video games? Why – or why not? If you do, what type of parameters do you put on them?

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