February 28, 2012
Like most parents, I was drawn to the idea that you had to get off the couch to play many of the games for the console. However, a new study reported that the benefits of active video gaming might not boost physical activity in kids. I dont find this particularly shocking, as theres only so much you can do physically in front of the TV in the family room. I do disagree with the idea that active gaming isnt helpful. If fathers and mothers played the active games with their children, it could become a bonding family routine.
My daughter is about as physically active as an 11-year old should be. She loves to play active games with me and we always have a great time. For me, the dual benefit is that we both get to move around a bit and raise our heart rate, and further, we get to bond a for a bit. With some of the sports simulations, Im actually playing games that mimic activity my child wouldnt normally do. Perhaps were not getting the same benefit compared to an outdoor activity, but playing games with your family can be engaging.
Even with the active games, getting outdoors is especially vital for families of young children. Your child may not be the next big star athlete but you can still introduce them to games that will inspire movement and activity. Playing catch, kickball, and even talking brisk hikes in your neighborhoods or trails are some fun ways you can get your kids off the couch a bit more. If your child isnt that great at sports, you can still go outside and toss around a Frisbee or basketball.
Active video games are also evolving with the times, with some even featuring physical training. There are even studies that show active games can boost activity in kids. The bottom line is we shouldnt think poorly of active video gaming, but fathers and families should certainly hit the power button at times and get active in other fun ways with their children as well.
Are you a video gaming dad? Do you play games with your child and family? Tell us more in the comments below or tweet to us at @thefatherfactor. You can also visit and "like" our Facebook page by clicking here.