Live Science: “Teens and Video Games: How Much Is Too Much?”

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An interesting article regarding that age old complaint: “You play too many video games!” On the surface, this is just another article saying the same old stuff every other does. Makes kids violent, lazy, hurts response time, blah here, bleh there. But it does bring up some interesting points that contradict the usual moaning.

It also shows the extreme, the news making “Boy Dies From Too Many Gosh Darn Video Games!” stories lead into an otherwise interesting article. But then it quickly turns it around with, “But psychologists who study video games and kids say parents needn’t worry about the amount of time spent gaming, unless screen time starts to affect school, health or social life.” FINALLY! Now forgive me for taking one line out of an entire article and basing my world around it. But this is something that’s not oft said, and it should be. Lots. And with emphasis. Video games aren’t the problem. Lack of restraint, poor supervision, misaligned priorities, etc.

Oh Baldur’s Gate, you sneaky little minx…

Another highlight is something else oft forgotten: games can teach. And not just educational games like you get in school (Oregon Trail comes to mind because we had to play it, but is kind of a weak example. You know. Cause it’s AWESOME.), but many if not the majority of games. For example, let’s take my favorite game/s of all time, Baldur’s Gate and its related sequel/expansions. I was 9 when it first came out, and spent hours sitting next to my dad while he played. I took in everything. I was in love. I didn’t fully understand what was going on, especially until much later. But because of that, I tried to learn anything I could. I learned words like ‘corporeal’ and ‘Doppelgänger’ and began to think about things like the cosmos and cosmology. At 9 years old. And this carried into school. I was the only kid in history that knew the difference between a mace and a flail. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m trying to brag. I’m just trying to reaffirm the idea that video games can not only teach, but promote learning. Also, I had parents that encouraged me to learn and made sure I knew what was real and what wasn’t.

So, after that rather long and narcisistic rant, check out the article. I found it to be a good read, even if it rehashes some of the usual tripe about video games: www.livescience.com

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