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What is the Church’s stance on playing video games?





Dear Jayman,

Thank you for your question.  Before I answer it, let me refer you to a previously answered question regarding this subject:

Do I need to avoid all games that are rated “T”?

Video games are a hobby, like going to the movies, roller skating, camping or hiking. There is nothing inherently wrong with partaking in a hobby, even if it is one that some people don’t understand. Because video games are fairly new (they’ve only been around for about 40 years) and because some of them have questionable content, there are those among us who think playing them should be forbidden. That’s very extreme and frankly, it shows a bit of ignorance on their part.

One thing hobbies do is bring people together. A father can take his son fishing on a Saturday morning and it strengthens their relationship and family bonds . A mother can take her daughter bowling and it will do the same thing. Some families like bowling or fishing, but some like to play video games. Many of us have great memories of playing our favorite games as a family. Sadly, some people who say that video games should be avoided fail to comprehend that every family has different likes and dislikes, and just because those interests are different than their own, doesn’t mean that they are immoral.

Now, common sense is still needed. It should be obvious that some video games are inappropriate, and I hesitate to name them here because I don’t want to give them more attention than what they already have. Like all forms of media, there are moral and good choices, and there are questionable ones. Making sweeping generalizations about if to play video games or not are like making sweeping generalizations to avoid all movies just because some are rated R.

Once again Jayman, it’s not the hobby itself that is morally right or wrong, it’s how you partake in the hobby. Do video games consume your life? Is that all you can think about it? Then it’s no longer a hobby but an addiction, and the Church would clearly disapprove. Do you game only a few times a week as a way to relieve stress and spend time together as a family? Than the Church would have no problem with it.






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