News broke this week that a teen had overdosed on caffeine, drinking the gamer’s choice of Gatorade, along with coffee and Mountain Dew. In fact, we delved deeper and the autopsy revealed that the cause could not be pinpointed, and the only reason this was cited as a cause was because people knew what the deceased had eaten and drunk in the hours before their death.

It does beg the question though, is caffeine gaming dangerous? As parents, should we be worried about it? Personally, as a parent of a sixteen and thirteen year old, I’d confess, maybe, a little bit.

My eldest two children became immersed in gaming as soon as their grandma handed them their first DS. It was a habit I wanted to keep them away from despite enjoying a tickle on Grand Theft Auto and Ratchet and Clank myself. I imagined two zombies joining me only for meals, and the reality hasn’t been too far from the truth. There are rainy days when they’ll sit and play but, with a little effort, I can drag them away, then came the Mountain Dew.

Caffeine Gamin is a trend amongst teens, and it’s not new. The horrid, scaremongering headlines will blame it on modern society but I remember taking Pro Plus to stay up on the ZX 18, the Spectrum, the Sega, the PS1. It’s a teen thing. Personally, I’d much rather my teen get a kick out of caffeine than speed, and I’d much rather they be safe playing role play games with their friends rather than hanging out on street corners in today’s day and age.

It’s all about moderation. I’ve found, that if I show an interest, it becomes easier to communicate and easy to stay close to my teens, to talk their language. We’ll occasionally have gaming nights where I get to grips with a controller again and we team up on Fallout or solve puzzles on Skyrim. I’ll be the first to admit that I became quite addicted to Candy Crush back in the day and this is no different. I can’t blame my children (one with ALevels pending, the other with a fully fledged attitude downloaded) for wanting a little escape.

The one way I keep abreast of the news, and to ensure I stay up to date with the lingo is by following Caffeine Gaming. This is a gaming news site that brings all the gaming news together, from all over the world, across all platforms so most of the time, I actually know about new releases before my children do. It’s brilliant.

If your children love to role play, or play PVP, if they have an Xbox, a Playstation, a DS, and you’re looking for a way in, follow Caffeine Gaming and get down with the kids. You’ll soon find a conversation piece within minutes, and sometimes that’s all it takes to connect and to be part of our teenagers lives. I can’t promise a return of the hugs and kisses but I can promise a little respect.