Video Games are NOT the enemy

Updated: Nov 3, 2020

I don’t need to “get a life” I have lots of lives… Im a gamer

I am not a gamer, but I do love games. I love to play… sports, music, with my daughter.

That is probably why I love coaching so much, especially the younger ones. It gives me the chance to continue to be playful, even as an adult.

I love reading articles, books and research about "the power of play". Did you know that MIT has a department called “The Game Lab”? Director's Michael Rosen’s “book of play” is a great resource to learn more about it.

During one of my researches I came across an article about video games, and the subsequent debate regarding kids spending too much time with their consoles and not enough time on playing sports… but, hear me out.

What is it of video games that attracts kids so much?

  1. There is always a next level: I am not an expert, but seems to me that most of the games always offer a higher challenge, another alternative to continue playing. This is both addictive, and engaging… kids want to continue to challenge themselves. Let's think: Are kids being challenged in their other activities? (School, sports, home)

  2. There are no real instructions: Again, no expert in the matter, but the times I got to play Fifa with my nephew, I started pressing buttons in order to figure out what to do (dribble, pass, tricks, accelerate, etc etc). When I asked him for directions, he gave me some vague instructions, and also told me he “figured it out” on his own, or used the “practice mode” So… even though there are commands, seems kids for the most part figure out their own way of becoming experts in the game. Let's think: Are kids provided with opportunities to explore, try, learn from mistakes in their other activities? (School, sports, home).

  3. THERE ARE NO PARENTS TELLING KIDS HOW TO PLAY!!! Listen… if you stood behind your child and yelled instructions on how to better fly, catch the bad guy, score, run, or whatever is it the game is about, trust me… your child wouldn’t play as much. Let's think: Are kids being empowered to make their own decisions in their other activities? (School, sports, home)

In conclusion, I believe kids enjoy video games because they are challenging, they allow for some discovery, and they give them an opportunity to play on their own without anyone telling them what/how to do. I don't think that after playing video games a child will get in the car with their parent/s and immediately engage in a conversation about "why didn't you press the X button faster?", "How come you lost that life?", "Next time you should go around the wall, not over!!"... you get what I mean. My question now is, what can we learn from the "video game experience" and apply it to teaching/parenting/coaching? Making it challenging, engaging, self discovery, etc.

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