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© 2019 by Joyce Fetteroll

All my son wants to do is play video games

I know my son needs time to deschool (sorta speak) but since we shifted all he wants to do is play video games. I'm really having to bite my tongue and just let it ride and see what happens.

 

What if you'd been book deprived for years (or some other activity that you really love) and suddenly found yourself with access to all the books you love and the freedom to read. What if your husband decided there were better things you could do with your time. Like you could become a gourmet cook. Or clean more. Or study something that he felt was worthwhile so you could make something of your life. What if at some point he decided there had been enough book reading and not enough other stuff that he thought was a better use of time and decided to limit how much time you could read. How would you feel about the atmosphere he was creating? Would it make you want to do other things? How would you feel about the books you couldn't read? How would you feel about him?

 

Though if you suddenly had the freedom to read, you probably would read for a long time. Weeks, months. But do you really think you'd spend the rest of your life reading? Isn't just knowing that you could read for the rest of your life enough to give you the freedom to do other things? (Though it would take those weeks or months for you to feel confident that this freedom wasn't going to go away.) You would eventually know that if you went off to something else that you could come back and the freedom would still be there so there would be no need to hoard it and do nothing but read because you would know you could read any time you want.

 

How would you want your husband to treat you with your new found freedom? Would you want him to delight in your happiness? Would you want him to ask questions about your favorite books so you had someone to share with? Or would you want him to hover, waiting for you to do something more important? Or would you want him to grump at you for not doing what he thought was a good use of time?

Here's something Deb Rossing wrote about what kids learn from video games:

 

Problem solving, reading, research, numeracy (number concepts, 'math'), computer literacy/using the Internet, literature (plotlines, characters, context, setting, mood), music (some video game music has actually been released on CD because the soundtracks are amazing), teamwork (many multiplayer games require working together to accomplish a task), patience and sticking to a task to reach a goal, strategy/planning, delayed gratification - if you go straight for that sack of gold that you can see straight ahead, you'll get killed BUT if you go around the other side and wait for the 'guard' to go past, you can grab it safely, art (the graphics and production values of video games are usually very high quality). Often video game playing will lead to interests (short or long term) in graphics, film production, art, creative writing (inventing storylines and characters), programming, special effects, music (sometimes DS will hear a new piece of music and say "that would be good for such-and-such type scene in thus-and-such type game"), languages, and other things. Some games either came from or spawned print forms that are related - manga, graphic novels, books, etc.

 

And, coming back to it, I realized that in the 'delayed gratification' area I forgot budgeting - delaying purchasing some items in the game in order to get something else, planning purchases, figuring income, sometimes actually 'working' for the coin of the realm in order to purchase something - whether working entails beating a gym leader or crafting a potion or creating a t-shirt or buying an item at auction and selling it at a profit, whatever; etc."

 

And check out Marc Parensky's site. He is the author of Digital Game-Based Learning and Don't Bother Me Mom -- I'm Learning.

 

Sandra Dodd has an extensive collection of articles and writings on video games, particularly Benefits of video games and Video Games: Applications to Other Pursuits and Video Games -- Seriously.

 

 

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