What gaming personality are your kids?
I recently read an article that sought to showcase the benefits of cyberspace gaming for kids. It definitely makes a great case for the benefits that gaming can offer our kids. Things like “enhanced logical thinking and problem solving skills…improved alertness, math skills, spelling and vision…develop communication skills.” And while I do not doubt the truth of these benefits, I question the mode of operation.
For instance, what happens when the lines between reality and fantasy start to blur? At what age are our kids able to tell the difference and separate themselves from that fantasy? Is there an age where this ever becomes easy? I don’t think so. In this new cyberspace world, there is no safe zone for kids or adults but especially for kids.
Common and frequent exposure to violence and aggression dulls our sensitivity to it. These games, while possibly educational and beneficial for things like reflexes, problem solving and deeper understanding of societal groups, may also influence other areas in our psyche like reasoning, justification, and a sense of moral abiguity. Forgivenes, understanding, compassion and a sense of eternal consequence are painfully absent from most games…even those considered “educational”. When we achieve knowledge without consequence, it is rarely wisdom. My question to parents would be this…what qualities are your kids developing while in their gaming fog and do you care enough to be forcefully involved in the process?
Before I go further, I must say that I am absolutely and totally against censorship of literature, games, music, art, etc. but I do believe that parents, have a responsibility to know their children well enough to understand the things that will help them and the things that will hurt them. Some kids have a very easy time separating fantasy from reality and can step outside the games without taking everything with them. But there are others that are not so grounded and must have help to overcome this potentially addicting medium.
There was a very insightful article written by John Timmer that cites a study published in Psychology, Crime and Law. It talks about how video games and literature, while not in and of themselves repsonsible for violent or aggressive behavior, do influence personalities with a predisposition to these aggressive tendencies. They can incite certain personalities to violent acts. Pay attention to the state of mind of your child when they sit down to enter their gaming world. Are they angry? Frustrated? Calm? The study found that angry gamers will often relax during gameplay while calm gamers were typically more agitated the longer they played. The study separated gamers into two groups…”stable personalities and those with emotional states thatare susceptible to being influenced by game play.” As parents, you must know to which group your child belongs and be vigilant.
Need more info?… Read a previous article on technology and your kids, understand the 7 Learning Styles or navigate through out site for ideas on fun family activities, parenting/teaching tips, and educational resources for small children. So much depends on the habits our kids develop at an early age. Make them good habits.
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