How Mom 2.0 Summit’s Family Game Night Was a Total Game Changer

How Mom 2.0 Summit’s Family Game Night Was a Total Game Changer

As a parent, the thought of my kids diving into the world of video games always stirred up a whirlwind of concerns for me. I’d stress about the potential for addiction, the risk of stumbling into inappropriate content, or the possibility of them engaging in conversations with strangers online. In an age where technology and AI are constantly evolving at lightning speed, it felt overwhelming and intimidating to navigate.

My perspective on gaming took a big shift when I recently had the incredible opportunity to join the Entertainment Software Association (ESA, aka the people behind basically all gaming!) at their Mom 2.0 Summit Family Game Night. My fellow colleagues and I kicked off the night with the best foods and snacks for gaming -think wings, flavored popcorn, delicious drinks, and great conversation. We then heard from Aubrey Quinn, the SVP of Communications and Public Affairs and ESRB (Entertainment Software Ratings Board) on breaking the fear of gaming. Aubrey’s talk and hearing from members of the ESA gave me a fresh perspective and helped to reshape my understanding of gaming and its place in our lives.

One of my favorite discoveries from the night was the introduction to the Xbox Family Settings App that empowers parents to manage their child’s gaming experience with ease. By using this app, I can create a profile for my son and customize his gaming experience to align with our family values and what I feel is appropriate for his age – things like omitting any weapons, and setting limits on screen time can all be done with a click of a button from my phone. This app gave me a sense of control and reassurance that I didn’t know I could have before.

And aside from control, hearing from the ESA also opened my eyes to other aspects of gaming I had previously overlooked. When approached mindfully, gaming can be fun and safe – and parents can – and should – join in! As kids get older, gaming is bound to be a part of their life and yours -figuring out how to embrace it early on will take the edge off and be a great way to connect. If you’re wondering where to get started with this – I highly recommend you begin with Just Dance. IT’S THE BEST. Not just a fun way to connect with kids but also quickly becoming my workout of choice. I basically couldn’t breathe after “Can’t Stop the Feeling” and honestly, I wasn’t mad about sweating from a video game!

So- takeaways, and why I’m here sharing it with you – gaming ain’t all that bad and actually has SO many benefits. The ESA released reports that show that video games can help with things like mental health (88% of players say video games relieve stress, and 52% said they helped them get through difficult times), cognitive skills, social skills (88% of players say video games bring different types of people together, and 83% say games introduce people to new friends and relationships), life skills – such as problem-solving, decision making and coping strategies, and learning. Video games can make it easier to learn educational content and develop cognitive skills such as concentration, creativity, memory, and languages!

I left this evening feeling rejuvenated and honestly, had so much fun playing Just Dance and learning to play piano on Rocksmith – I couldn’t wait to bring my new skills and perspective home to my kids. Especially because the ESA was generous enough to gift us with a new XBOX! Not sure who was more excited, the kids or my husband.