Ask a Simple Question

Ask your child a simple question and then offer a simple truth about his online gaming experience.

“Have you played any video games with Bible stories or characters in them?” With this question, you may just broaden his mental vista to see that the games he plays do relate to real life. They relate either through foundational aspects supported by the Bible or they contain viewpoints antithetical to it. Games reflect a microcosm of life.  He will begin to see how games espouse, deny or denigrate God-honoring concepts and themes. You want him to be able to stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around his waist.


You may want to tweak that question depending on your child’s age and Bible experience, such as:

  • “Do you notice that some characters or players seem more inclined to sin or do bad things and that others are more inclined to try to do the right thing?” This can start a conversation about sin or temptation.
  • “Have you seen any characters like King David or Samson in your favorite video game?” This can initiate a dialogue about qualities of biblical leadership. Or about how God has a purpose and plan for our lives.
  • “Do some battles seem to have a purpose while some are just for destructive ends?” This question can lead to exploring the biblical ethics of war (there are many books on this topic).

The universe of Christian games is relatively thin. Many fail to appeal to a broad audience. Maybe the game’s goal is difficult to communicate or it lacks technical complexity. Instead, big money is spent on a multitude of games seemingly designed to distract or corrupt our kids.  However, that doesn’t mean a greater understanding of Christianity can’t be found within gaming—gaming itself contains a rich source of ideas to compare against biblical Christianity.


If your child does recognize that some games offer more Bible-appropriate values or characters than others, this is your chance to ask about them.

“How do you know the characters are behaving biblically?” If he responds that he notices when a character or player takes revenge, for example, he may believe the revenge is ‘justice’ and call it biblical.  This gives you a teaching moment. Because it is God who avenges His people; He reserves this right for Himself.

Learn about games from the perspective of those your child plays. At the same time, you will be learning about the scope of his Bible knowledge and his developing personal ethics.


There’s a good chance your child won’t recall Bible storylines or characters in the games he plays. As mentioned, the Christian world doesn’t create as many games as the secular world. That doesn’t mean your conversation ends.

Your answer then can be simply, “That’s probably not surprising, right? After all, the world is fallen. Many people don’t know God well. And people tend to make games about what they know.”

At this point, you can take the dialogue in various directions:

  • “Do any of the friends you play with believe in God and try to play nice because of that?”
  • “Which game seems to portray the world in the worst possible light?”
  • “Which games give you a chance to right the wrongs of other players?”
  • “Do you notice if the games make it more fun to do wrong or to do right?  Do they reward you for being bad or for being good?”

The ensuing conversation can be as simple or as complex as you are comfortable with. And as simple or complex as your child can manage.  You want to create an warm, open environment to hear his thoughts, learn about his online experiences, answer questions, share biblical truths, and point him in a better direction, if necessary.  Concepts you introduce can be developed over time—no immediate issue needs to be highlighted and resolved (unless you learn of a particularly harmful experience, such as bullying). Your goal is to listen, to learn, to share your biblical wisdom, and to gently train up your child in the way God would want him to go.


And remember, these conversations are possible even if you yourself have limited Bible knowledge. Take one step at a time; learn a little more each day.  Maybe this afternoon you hear with an open mind what your child has to say. Then tonight you do 20 minutes of research to gain relevant biblical understanding relating to his comments. Finally, you return to the conversation tomorrow with wisdom to share. Ultimately, you want to help him learn to demolish arguments that set themselves up against the knowledge of God.

“Have you played any video games with Bible stories or characters in them?” With this simple question, you will encourage your child to think about how and whether their games support or deny spiritual  truths. They can begin to understand what it means for something to be biblical. And whether biblical values are being espoused or mocked. Then, as you develop the conversation over time—during meals, in the car, after church—you will better lead them toward biblical truth.

Consider reading this next post.


Add a Biblical Insight: Turn a Child’s Anecdote into a Deeper Exchange to Encourage Biblical Thinking

Add a biblical insight to conversations with your child as they share their online experiences.

For today learn one thing that happened in your child’s online universe. Ask “So what happened today when you were online with your friends/at school?” or “What interesting/funny thing happened when you were playing Animal Crossing with your brother?”

If your talkative child shares an anecdote, ask some version of “What did you think about that?” to go deeper. To your reticent child, “Can you tell me a little more about that?” may encourage them to open up more.  If they know you will really listen to their answer, they are more likely to give you a real anecdote.

Thank them simply for sharing and then offer a relevant insight or explanation to encourage deeper processing of their experience.

Later that evening, how can you revisit that conversation to encourage biblical thinking?  Can you offer a biblically-related insight tomorrow?  If one does not come to mind, plan to spend 15 minutes of your free time—maybe when you’d normally check Facebook—to find one. Start by looking up a relevant word in the concordance at the back of your Bible or using an online search engine.

For example, perhaps your younger child saw his first fighting game on Roblox, or your Continue reading

A Little Byte: Curate

What do you see when you frame your family’s computer with your fingers and squint?  Seurat’s Sunday on La Grand Jatte? A chaotic Jackson Pollack?  A Steve Jobs original? A Disney collectible? Munch’s The Scream?

It’s likely no two parents will agree on what having technology in the picture looks like to a child’s social, educational, emotional and physical development.

For example, a reasonable amount of social time online for an only child may be different than for a child who has multiple siblings with which to interact. How do you need to frame and position your family’s use of technology so that it allows them to thrive? It’s easy to be the critic–much harder to be a curator.


Photo by seyed mostafa zamani via Compfight