Dr. Rachel Kowert is a psychologist and author who for the past 15 years has studied video games and those who play them, with a special focus on the uses and effects of online gaming. She holds a PhD in psychology from the University of York as well as an MA in counseling psychology from Santa Clara University. She’s written multiple books on the topic of gaming including A Parent’s Guide to Video Games, The Video Game Debate, and Video Games and Social Competence. She is also currently the research director for Take This, a non-profit organization that provides mental health resources and information to the gaming community.
What is the first video game that you remember playing?
“The first game I remember playing myself was Super Mario Bros. I remember being so proud when I made it to the end and was able to jump to the top of the flagpole!
Though, in terms of early memories, I very clearly remember laying in a sleeping bag on the floor of my brother’s room watching him play Final Fantasy 2. I remember loving the stories, the battles between good and evil, and the magic of it all. I think that is when my true love for video games (and role playing games) began.”
What are your favorite games of all time?
“Final Fantasy 6 is my favorite game of all time. The stories and the cast of characters are so multi-layered and diverse it is hard not to fall in love with each and every one of them.
I am also a huge fan of the games from the Legend of Zelda Franchise, Mario Kart, and more recently, Stardew Valley.”
Which hobbies or pastimes do you enjoy besides gaming?
“I like being out in nature – walking my dog, hiking with my children, or even just sitting outside in my garden. Though, on Friday nights you will probably find me in front of the TV with the latest Netflix series.”
Do you and your children play video games together?
“Yes! My daughter is four and she is very in to word and puzzle games. Crosswords, fill in the blank, and spelling games are big in our house.”
How do you make time for gaming with a busy family life and career?
“It is really hard and honestly I do not have that much time for gaming these days. With young children, time is precious …and by precious I mean I spend as much of my free time as I can catching up on sleep (My son is only 1, so the sleep deprivation is still strong in my house). I am grateful that I can spend a bit of time playing games with my daughter and look forward to that time increasing as she gets older. Until then, I largely keep up on new titles by watching streamers on YouTube or Twitch.”
What is your proudest moment as a parent?
“That is a really hard question! I’d have to say that my proudest parenting moments are when I see my children extend kindness to others.”
You can find out more information about Take Thisright here and Dr. Kowert’s books are available at Amazon.com