Group Play

Group Play
Big Brothers, Little Gamers

Chris LaVigne | 23 Sep 2008 12:02
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"I used to have an advantage when we'd play competitive games," Matt says, "but now [Patrick] beats me at almost all videogames."

Tyler, 28, of Maple Ridge, British Columbia is more blunt: "After two weeks of [Josh, my Little,] owning Guitar Hero, he was playing on expert, making me look like a tool."

Tyler's been a Big Brother for three years, watching Josh grow from a quiet, reserved seventh grader into a more confident 10th-grade student with good grades. Along with gaming on Tyler's couch, the two golf, swim, paintball, watch movies and "go for drives with the music way too loud." Like the other Big Brothers, Tyler makes sure gaming doesn't take over his Little's life. For a while, he had to cut out gaming altogether, he says, as it was all Josh wanted to do.

As well as monitoring the amount of gaming the kids do, Big Brothers like Tyler can provide knowledgeable supervision when a Little wants to play a game aimed above their age group. "[Josh] asked to borrow my Grand Theft Auto when he was in Grade 8," Tyler says. "I told him to ask his mom. We did talk about the extreme violence in that game, sexual content and such and how he felt about it. He explained that he doesn't think he is one of those kids that really gets affected by videogames, but could see how playing a lot of a game like that could perhaps elevate aggression in some of his peers."


Tyler says he's enjoyed his time as a Big Brother and, like all of the Bigs interviewed, would strongly recommend participating in the program. "It allows me to be a kid again," he says.

Matt agrees. "Being a Big Brother gives you a chance to enjoy a second childhood," he says. "This has been, without a doubt, the easiest, most fun volunteer opportunity I've ever had. If you've got the time, the commitment and a solid moral compass, I would definitely recommend becoming a Big Brother."

Joe says volunteering for Big Brothers has been a life-changing experience. "I not only found a friend for myself," he says, "but it was amazing to feel that I could have such a strong impact and connection with a child who was just looking for someone he could rely on and feel trusted around. I would recommend Big Brothers Big Sisters for the experience of sharing some time with a child who appreciates it, but also so that we again can be the kids we are deep down. This program not only can impact the Little's life, but also our own tremendously."

To volunteer as a mentor or find out more about mentoring programs, please visit

Chris LaVigne is a freelance journalist who once ran and has written about videogames for Maisonneuve, PopMatters and the Vancouver Courier.

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