Home and Recreation

Liberal Christian Values Meet Video Games

How do I raise Christian children when video games are so important to their childhood?

two boys sit under a tree looking at a phone with tents in background
My boys sitting at the fair looking at a phone.

I really wish the Bible was a little more helpful for raising children. Yes, I must admit there are some wise comments on parenting in there. Jesus said to let the children come to him. Proverbs has some good one-liners. But, I don’t find the Bible has much to help me navigate the specific daily struggles of parenting. For that I seek advice from my friends, counselors and on-line communities. Screen time and media are particularly problematic. I wish I could go back to a pre-technological era, or erase all video games and television from our lives. Since I can’t, I have to figure this out. We have rules that work for our family. Screen time is a hot topic. Everyone has an opinion, so I cannot add much to the debate except to say that video games are not mentioned in the Bible, not even once. Check me if you want. I’m sure of it. Here are some resources that I think you might like if you are wondering how to navigate modern life, Liberal Christian values and video games. Ironically, all my resources are on-line.  

The first three resources below provide ideas on how to navigate parenting in this complex world we live in. The third resource is targeted towards Conservative Christians. I always like to know where I stand in the gamut of Christian perspectives, but I included it because the article made me think of how hard it is for me to raise my children with my faith and values in this crazy world. When my children were babies, I asked a fellow teacher with teenagers why she allowed any video games or television in her home at all if she hated them so much. She said video games were a huge part of the children’s culture and that is how the kids relate to each other. If her son was excluded from video games, he would be an outcast among his peers. That crash-course in reality has been the pain of my life ever since.  

It was easy when my kids were young. I chose their shows and movies and games. Now that they have more independence I find it necessary to talk with them about their choices. Negotiation is a huge part of interactions and sometimes I just have to put my foot down. Screen-time limits are the biggest struggle. We also wrestle with avoiding mature content and whether to allow chatting online with other games. There are some games and apps that peers have, but we forbid on principal. Sometimes my Mom-voice has to come out and I say, “I’m sorry if you don’t like it, but that’s my rule and I am not changing it. You have other choices available that you can enjoy.” 

Fair Play promotes a childhood free from consumer exploitation.

Common sense media has great advice on how to raise your child in a Post-Technological Revolutionary world.  

Ideas on how to raise children without technology exposure.

A summary of streaming services and television channels filtered for Christian content.