The decision to bring a gaming console to college should belong to your son or daughter, not you. They’re now young adults embarking on their own the choice to play games in the dorms isn’t one for the parental level. But if you do have reservations, relax. An Xbox or Playstation is more than just a time-waster. It’s actually the opposite.
Freshman year is full of uncertainty and new challenges for students, and all that can lead to an unhealthy amount of stress. College students deal with stress numerous ways and some of their solutions, like drugs and alcohol, could lead them down a path that doesn’t end with a graduation gown and cap. A study at Texas A&M found that people who play video games, especially first-person shooters like EA Battlefield 4, handle stress and avoid depression more than people who don’t.
Your son or daughter probably played video games alone (or online) during high school, but that definitely will not be the case in the dorms. Students crave social connection and multiplayer games like Madden are sure to bring groups together on the couch. There’s no promise they won’t make a drinking game of it, but at least they’ll be making new friends.
Keeping in Touch
Believe it or not, an Xbox One is a great tool to help (or force, depending how they see it) your kid to keep in touch while they’re away. Every console comes with an attachable device called a Kinect which acts as a motion sensor for controller-less gaming, but also has a high-definition camera with access to Skype. So you can go above and beyond a phone call to speak face-to-face with your son or daughter while attempting to hold back your critiques on their dorm room.
Concerned about a console consuming your son or daughter’s time? Don’t be. The beauty of games is that they can be played in short intervals between studying. A quick gaming session between classes is much more ideal than an all-day activity that could temp students to skip class the rest of the day and force the inevitable failing grades on themselves.
Avoid the Freshman Fifteen
Not all video games are played from the couch. Motion sensors like the Kinect, Playstation Move and the Nintendo Wii have generated a whole crop of video games that will make you sweat. The guys can play Madden 2014 without the controller and the women can play games like Dance Central to shake off the weight during their first year.
Still concerned about the distraction? Take a moment to really step back and think about the spectrum of temptations and time-wasters students encounter throughout college. There will always be a small minority of students who abuse video games at school but your son or daughter will probably not be one of them. If they were someone to be trusted during high school, then they’ll definitely stay trustworthy throughout higher education. So take a deep breath and even buy them a video game as a send-away gift. They’ll love you for it.