Pardon the dust!
This page includes some jargon that hasn't been added to the site's glossary yet. I'll be around to fix this later, but sorry for the inconvenience in the meantime.

Resources for Parents

Getting Started

Gaming is a huge industry, and the members of the gaming community are heavily intertwined with computers, technology, and the internet. To an outsider, this can seem like an insurmountable mountain of information to wade through, but thankfully, the reality is that there's only a few things that everyone -- gamers and non-gamers alike -- should know or at least be vaguely familiar with. More detailed information can be left for later (or even ignored completely). You don't need to be a tech wiz to enjoy games, nor do you need to understand the long and sordid history between vi and EMACS to be a good parent of a gamer.

What do I need to play games on the computer?
Surprisingly very little is actually needed to enjoy video games on a home PC. The catch is that some games are harder to run than others, which is usually why extremely expensive computers with very large numbers in their details get recommended so often. Follow the link above to get a plain English explanation of everything you need to enjoy most modern games.
What are "in game purchases"?
Recently, many video games have begun to offer "in-game purchases", technically known as microtransactions, as a way for the developers to make some additional profit from a game. These can often provide the player with useful perks, but they have also be abused. Since we are talking about spending real money on things within a video game, it's important for parents to understand what these are, how they work, and when to say no.
Simple Rules to Keep Games Fun
Video games can be a lot of fun, but it's possible for them to become a problem. A little patience and some understanding can go a long way towards preventing issues, but since some things might not be obvious, I've put together some easy to follow rules to help keep everything running smoothly in a gaming household.

 



You don't need to know anything below this line in order to properly parent a gamer or enjoy video games. From this text onwards, it's all optional.

In other words...

~ Here be Dragons ~



Addressing Rumors

Is it true that video games cause violent behavior?
The short answer is... it's complicated. There are a lot of factors that contribute to every action a person takes, and while most of us aren't going to change who we are because we were exposed to a movie, TV show, or video game, it is possible for these things to influence people in certain ways. On the linked page, I'll break everything down as objectively as I can.
Should I be concerned about "video game addiction"?
Video game addiction is a relatively new topic, and it didn't take long before it became controversial to suggest it exists. I have reason to believe it does, but as the same time, I don't think parents should be too worried about it. Simply put, I think we need to ensure we don't label normal childhood behavior as some sort of disorder, and it looks to me that's the main reason this concept is controversial.

More Detailed Information About Video Games

All about software licenses
One of the weirder quirks about video games (and other software) is that you don't really own the product you buy. Since digital information can be copied indefinitely, you're actually purchasing a license to use the product. Most of the time, this is just a technicality, but it can have some unexpected surprises. For example, there are several ways that software can be free to use.
Explaining the ESRB's rating system
In the United States, the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (or ESRB for short) is the official ratings board for video games. They evaluate the content of a game, and assign it a rating, much like how movies and TV shows are rated. This page describes their rating system, and other information parents should know about it.
An incomplete list of video game genres
Like movies and music, video games come in a wide range of flavors. These "genres" are usually based around the game's mechanics, ie, the rules that govern how a player interacts with the game's world. Since new ways to play games are constantly being created, it's impossible to list them all, but in the interest of helping everyone understand more about gaming, I've compiled a list with names and examples.

Christianity and Gaming

Is it okay for Christians to play video games?
Video games can be a very controversial form of entertainment for Christian households. However, like any other form of entertainment, it's better to judge each work on its own rather than prohibit an entire hobby. Also, while the questions asked on the linked page are specifically about video games, they apply just as well to any activity.
In defense of childish things
There's a verse in 1st Corinthians that is often used to say that people should give up their old interests when they reach adulthood. But, is this really what St. Paul was saying when he wrote this verse? I don't think so, and on this page I'll explain my reasoning.

Technical Information

Keyboard shortcuts and how to use them
Long long ago, in an era long since past, computers were ruled by the command line and equipment like a mouse or trackpad were nowhere near as common as they are today. This led to the development of keyboard shortcuts; combinations of keystrokes that could be used to do common tasks. Over time, many of them became standardized, and a great many of them are still in use today. Read on to learn how they work and discover some new tricks!