You are probably used to awkward moments, looks of disapproval or general amazement from others when they find out that you don’t allow your children access to everything that passes as “entertainment” these days.
Being a Christian means going against the flow. This includes our entertainment choices. Sure, everyone may be watching that show that has soft-core pornography with a bit of story, or playing that game that encourages you to blow people's heads off, or listening to music that says “do what you want”, but that does not mean we follow suit. Normalising crazy doesn’t make it any less crazy.
Tabletop gaming is not as big as these other industries, however, it is growing and I want to give my two cents as to why I think this is the case.
Disney really has become that evil corporation that is taking over the entertainment world. You must think of Disney as being a conglomerate of businesses and franchises including Marvel, Lucasfilm and the History Channel, just to name a few. And yes I’m salty after what they did to Star Wars I’m not going to lie, but despite my personal quandary, there are objective reasons to ditch Disney for an alternative.
Have you noticed that Disney and Pixar films have become increasingly ideological and political? These are not cute films about animals or princesses overcoming evil anymore, but are glorified “progressive” indoctrination flicks. Brave (2012), Frozen (2013), Zootopia (2016), Moana (2016) and Incredibles 2 (2018) to name a few all have negative depictions of manhood. Men in these films fall into three categories: wicked, weak or pitifully winsome. Women, on the other hand, are depicted as demi-goddesses who can do no ill and even when wicked have redeemable qualities.
Do you want to discourage your sons from taking initiative and to accept societal expectations of incompetency? Do you want your daughters to have unrealistic expectations of their capabilities and develop irrational resentment towards men? Then continue to watch Disney films.
YouTube Is Great… And Also Not So Great
YouTube is great, in fact, we are on YouTube and you should subscribe! #ShamlessPlug
But one of the major problems of YouTube for parents is the lack of an ability to filter content.
YouTube channels can appear family-friendly and with so much uploaded content, it is virtually impossible to ensure that your children will not be introduced to more sinister topics. YouTube comments are seldom filtered by creators and can also include external website links to other non-family friendly sites.
Let’s also acknowledge there is indeed a dark and weird side of YouTube with content that is, well let’s just say, not exactly modest. This type of content can be seen from just video thumbnails alone!
Also, YouTube has unashamedly promoted anti-Christian sentiments by promoting LBGTQ pride in their annual Rewind videos, #ProudToBe and #ProudToLove hashtags, and their recent State Of Pride documentary. Where are all the Christian promotionals, YouTube?
Do you want to be constantly paranoid of the content your children could be exposed to on YouTube? Well then ditch YouTube as your main source of entertainment.
I’m sure you have never had an argument with your child to turn off a video game, right? Video games can be extremely immersive and if you are having trouble with your child with regards to gaming addiction, read our advice here. Apart from being extremely addictive, what other disadvantages are there to video games?
Have you considered cost? Sure, there are a few “free to play” games with micro-purchases, but most new releases are within the €60 mark. This does not include the hardware requirements needed to play video games or any additional accessories like controllers, monitors and televisions. Then there is the cost of time. Most video games require an enormous amount of gameplay hours invested into them to get any sort of enjoyment return.
Another disadvantage of video games is their anti-social aspects. Online communities in video games are infamous for their vulgarity and even if one were to play with their friends, these interactions are not face-to-face and are at best side-to-side. How deeply can you connect with people over a Skype or Zoom call? There is a reason why we still meet face to face over a coffee with those we seek to develop real relationships with.
On Top Is Tabletop
Look, I have been the guy who binged watched TV shows, played video game LANs with friends until 5 am, and has frequented YouTube since 2006, so let me tell you that tabletop gaming is where it is at.
The advantages of tabletop games are many-fold:
- You are literally sitting around a table face to face with others. Most often real and meaningful conversations offshoot from playing a game together around a table.
- Tabletop games develop the imagination. There is less of an emphasis on graphics in tabletop games unlike film and video games. In tabletop games, the emphasis is on gameplay, community and experience.
- Tabletop games are cheap as chips when you work out the number of collective hours of gameplay you can get from them.
- In house rules! Make up your own rules or tweak a game if you don’t like it. Unless you are a hacker or have some video editing skills, this is impossible with film and video game media.
- Pass it on. You can let friends borrow games, trade them or sell them off. This is harder to do or even illegal with digital files.
So, can I encourage you to have a no-tech day and get the family around a table with some snacks and play some tabletop games? Give 5-Minute Dungeon a go (ages +8), it is super simple, fun and would be a good place to start. There are also some classics like Catan, Pandemic and Forbidden Desert you could play with teens. I’ve only heard positive things about Transforming Mars (ages +12), and Dungeon Saga (ages +13) is one you should check out too. But if you really want to have some fun, you need to play The Armoury Bible Game! But I’m obviously biased in that regard.
(Btw if you buy a game from one of our Amazon links they will pay us like $0.05 so thanks for keeping the food on our table!)