Video Games

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Carrie
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Video Games

Postby Carrie » 23 Sep 2013, 18:20

Hey guys.

I've been looking at the point of video games for a few months because playing video games is something that my child really likes to do. His specific focus is on Minecraft which is a game where one mines for materials and builds structures and items from what is unearthed. It's like playing Legos with a lot more potential for what can be built and created. I enjoy playing with him because I like building houses so it's an activity that we do together daily.

There are a couple of things that I'm looking at. One, my child is thinking about this game for most of his day. When he's doing activities that aren't related to this game, he's either thinking about when he will be able to play this game or integrating this game into his physical play by imaginary mining, building structures, and interacting with the characters that are in the games. He's also wanting to watch videos of others playing the game. Two, there looks to be two polar opposite stands on video games with parents: One group of parents is against it and the other parents that are not. The group of parents that are against the video games are also not liking TV and their only solution is to 'read more' or 'play more with toys' with their children. And the group of parents that are for video gaming with children haven't spoken much other than to say, 'hey, it's something we can do together' or 'families that game together, stay together!'.

So, what I'm looking here is for perspectives on video games - what are your experiences with video gaming? What are you seeing as consequences and outcomes of video gaming? And, also, some perspective on assisting my child to expand his interests outside of video games would be very cool.

Thanks!



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Anna
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Re: Video Games

Postby Anna » 23 Sep 2013, 20:50

Studies have shown that playing computer can assist children in developing some cool skills. However I would say that even as a child one can become addicted and therefore require intervention. So from my perspective, it's not so much about the computer game itself, but more that it's become an obsession. And then a consequence can be that he develops in a monotonous way, over-developing some skills while not developing others. However - when that's said, another approach entirely is to simply let him 'ride it out' - as long as it's not compromising other points/responsibilities.

What I've found with the kids I teach, is that they obviously prefer doing stuff that they've already created a belief about is 'fun'. Within this they're already limiting themselves into polarities of 'work' and 'fun'. So that could be a cool point to investigate as well.

Something you could do is to have a look at: what is it he's getting out of playing mine craft? Is there a specific interest (like building) that could be developed in other areas and thus expanded upon? Using math for example, building things in the garden, reading about architecture. So you could 'run with it' and expand on it, taking it seriously as an educational field of interest. So, construction, structure, how things are build. That's definitely something that can be expanded upon.



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Maite
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Re: Video Games

Postby Maite » 23 Sep 2013, 21:45

Hey Carrie,

Here is LJ's perspective:

"I have played computer games since I was 6. The game is not the problem - I suggest letting him play the game, but to not allow him to use the game as a distraction from his responsibilities. What I have found when I had an interest in a specific game that I would keep playing, was that:
- It is something that challenges me
- It gives me a result - I see that I accomplish things, there are results to my actions
- There is something in the game that I 'like' or that I can relate to.
- The game is a 'safe place' where I feel I don't have to 'deal' with other people."

So, suggest to let him play the game, though make sure that it doesn't distract him from his responsibilities, homework, chores, thing like that. And you can draw from the other points in terms of 'what it is about the game' that makes him so fond of it.
So - if it is challenge he likes, give him challenge in other things as well - through challenge having him become interested in the world around him, or other activities, maybe sports.
If he likes accomplishing things/seeing results - then as Anna suggested, build things with him, it doesn't have to be duplo and things like that, you can build useful things. There's many arts and crafts book that have some really cool ideas.
Also what Anna suggested, to see if there's a specific point in the game he likes or can relate to, like building, and expand on it in other activities.
If the game is a hiding place, where he's quite shy and uncomfortable with social interaction and therefore prefers playing a game - then that's another point you can work with in assisting him to develop comfortability in being around and interacting with other people.



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sylvia
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Re: Video Games

Postby sylvia » 24 Sep 2013, 14:16

My kids say about Mine Craft that it is so much fun because of all the different possibilities, it almost looks like it's infinite. So my son started to also watch Mine Craft videos to see others play and see even more possibilities. After the biggest challenge was gone with the normal Mine Craft my son shifted to Mod pack where he had to program in order to progress. So he says he learned a lot of skills from this video game. He played it together with his sister and with classmates while talking through Skype (looks like the Y-generation, lol).

This game kept him busy for over a year and now he's playing it less and less. As I see it with all the games/toys play, when I was a kid I played for several weeks with certain Barbies and then I moved on to drawing or whatever my interest was at that moment. So it's cool when a child is able to dedicate real time to investigate a toy/game, the trouble starts when they get addicted to it, as already is said within this topic.

What I do see is the digital games are more likely to get a kid hooked on or really addicted to than playing with dough, miniature cars, Barbies, dolls, Lego or Playmobil. So the already created fantasy worlds in the computer games are more likely to suck a kid into the mind and into lalala land, but also that depends on the child. I had quite a vivid fantasy so playing with my dolls was also like creating an artificial world.

So it's probably best to see the computer games as toys and it's up to the parent for young kids to decide whether it's appropriate to play with according to your principles and therefore keep an open communication about the game/toy/play to see if it's assisting your child in it's development whether it's either relaxing or learning. Joining your kid in the game, as you did, can be cool to experience yourself what the real fun is about within this game and where it can turn into this grey area of getting hooked on it. With older kids you need to make agreements about still doing their homework and chores when they invest a lot of time, just as LJ said.

My son also likes to play GTA, which in my perspective has too much violence, while my son sees it as something that happens in the game. So what I do here is having a conversation from time to time about the things that are normal in GTA and should not be normal in the real world, just to check if he still has his common sense, which is in essence my guilt for letting him play such games while fearing I'm a bad mom.



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Carrie
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Re: Video Games

Postby Carrie » 24 Sep 2013, 15:25

So from my perspective, it's not so much about the computer game itself, but more that it's become an obsession. And then a consequence can be that he develops in a monotonous way, over-developing some skills while not developing others.
Yes, this has been a concern of mine because to me it looks like an obsession. When I look at his patterns, I see that this is something he does with most activities that he becomes interested in where he becomes focused on this one thing. What I have missed here is that I am reacting with worry and when I react with worry, I don't see the whole picture which is that he does have other games and learning interests and it's actually me that's obsessing over him playing video games. For instance, he likes Plants Vs. Zombies, reading, watching kids doing science projects and then applying them at home, and watching in-depth videos about the human body.
However - when that's said, another approach entirely is to simply let him 'ride it out' - as long as it's not compromising other points/responsibilities.
Cool that you point this out because he is keeping up with his homeschool work and he rarely if ever resists when it's time to get this done. And he assists me with other things: taking care of the kitten, getting me ingredients when I'm cooking, and picking up when I ask. He does not complain when I ask for his assistance - he simply stops what he's doing on the computer and comes out.
So - if it is challenge he likes, give him challenge in other things as well - through challenge having him become interested in the world around him, or other activities, maybe sports.
He does have an interest in sports and I would like to get him playing. I'm finding that for his age (5 going on 6) that there is very little he can do with sports. In the spring, he played T-Ball and so far, that is all that I'm seeing is available for his age group. I will investigate further.
If he likes accomplishing things/seeing results - then as Anna suggested, build things with him, it doesn't have to be duplo and things like that, you can build useful things. There's many arts and crafts book that have some really cool ideas.
Yeah - I like the possibilities here. Thanks! I will integrate some arts and crafts into his homeschooling curriculum. I have been so focused on the academics and getting him to read, write, and do math that I completely left out the funnest part!
If the game is a hiding place, where he's quite shy and uncomfortable with social interaction and therefore prefers playing a game.
This is sometimes the case but not all times. It is as you said, "It gives me a result - I see that I accomplish things, there are results to my actions". I have seen him doing this - even at the playground where he makes challenges for himself to see how quickly he can 'make friends'. He says to me, "Hey mom - let's see how fast I can get these kids to play with me!" And then he runs off, does his thing, and gives me periodic updates, "Did you see how I did that??"
So it's probably best to see the computer games as toys and it's up to the parent for young kids to decide whether it's appropriate to play with according to your principles and therefore keep an open communication about the game/toy/play to see if it's assisting your child in it's development whether it's either relaxing or learning.
Yes! I have been seeing toys as physical things that can be played with physically only. Seeing video games as toys simplifies what they are and assists with not making them 'the enemy' or something that is going to 'mess up my kids mind'. Another cool point here is that with my child using video games as toys, I do not have the toy mess that most parents do and I have less toys to find homes for or throw away when he's done with them.

Thanks guys! Awesome perspectives and support here and some cool direction to work with.



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Anna
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Re: Video Games

Postby Anna » 24 Sep 2013, 16:07

he is keeping up with his homeschool work and he rarely if ever resists when it's time to get this done. And he assists me with other things: taking care of the kitten, getting me ingredients when I'm cooking, and picking up when I ask. He does not complain when I ask for his assistance - he simply stops what he's doing on the computer and comes out.
Awesome Carrie!

Somerthing I do as a teacher with the kids who are learning how to read and write is to for example make ABC books with them, where they make their own book (folded paper) and then we look through magazines for the letters, like having one page only with A's -- and then also look for things that starts with an A. The we cut it out and glue it into the book This exercise is fun and the kids learn different ways to approach language.

Another fun thing to do, is to create big huge letters in papmache or using wood or to create a laminated memory game where the matching pieces are words (or letters) matched with a picture corresponding to the word or letter.

Then another fun thing is to let the kids write on the computer using the keys, though allow them to write in their own 'language' i.e gibberish and then create stories where they can draw pictures to. This assists them in getting comfortable using the keyboard.

All of these exercises are academic yet fun :-)



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KellyPosey
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Re: Video Games

Postby KellyPosey » 24 Sep 2013, 19:07

I played video games regularly and frequently from about the age of 10 to the age of 16-17. It wasn't quite to level or degree of obsession that we're seeing can now form these days with games like minecraft. I had a thing for RPG's (Role Playing Games). For me they (apparently) allowed me to do things that I couldn't or wouldn't do in reality, which when you look at it in essence, was not about being able to slay crazy monsters which don't exist, but from the perspective of RPG type games, was about things like, forming and being part of and working together as a group to do things, as with RPG's you would usually be a group of several characters travelling around together and going into battles together where you had to cooperate and understand each other's strengths and weaknesses and abilities to see how best to work together in situations. So that was also a quite educational problem solving and group dynamic aspect.

There's actually a lot of dimensions to playing video games. One of which being how we rather do things in virtual video game worlds because we have judged actual reality and don't see it is fun to do things in reality, and much prefer to do things in the more controlled/defined game setting, where you can do things while avoiding consequence (apparently) to your actual life. For instance, you cand die in a game but you're still fine here. You can go into virtual situations the likes of which you would never do in reality because it would be too risky and too scary. So in this regard it really shows us how we see actual reality, how we judge it and how we seperate ourself from living/being/acting in it. And within this, for me it was also an escape from reality, much like reading a book, where for the time you are reading/playing you are not 'here', so you get a 'break' from reality, because we find it more enjoyable for some reason/reasons than actual reality.

Eventually when I started playing World of Warcraft in my later teens, is when I finally started to get tired of putting all this time and effort into something that was having no effect on my actual life whatsoever. I was putting so much time and effort into building up 'virtual skills' which was really drudgery and I realized I may as well being doing things in real life, so that I could develop skills in real life that I could then actually use. Why am I spending hours repeating the same task so that I can learn to make 'dragonhide armor' when I could be perhaps sewing in real life so that I could then make real clothes that I could actually wear, for one example. And no matter how high-level and prestigeous I was in the game, I was still the same 'loser' in real life. And I realized the more time I put into developing myself in a virtual reality, the more diminished I become in actual reality.

Playing video games though actually provided me with a super valuable experience that I refer to to this day and has assisted and supported me greatly in applying myself in real life, because I've taken what I enjoyed in playing RPG's so much, and looked at how can I apply and live that in real life, what are the reasons I don't think I can or don't want to live those things that I lived in the game world for some reason. But you can learn these things about yourself from asking these questions about anything that one has participated in to a level of addiction and escaping reality, for example relationships or drugs.

Video games, when we sort out our relationships to them and stop using them as an escape but just for what they are, are cool tools for developing things like hand and eye coordination, problem solving skills/troubleshooting. It's quite a fun way to challege ourselves, and there is a very useful application for training that games/virtual scenarios can provide, as you can practice certain things before doing them in actual physical reality, so that you can be a bit better prepared for trying it real time, like for example there are training programs like flight simulators or driving simulators. The use of first person shooter games as training for fighting in the military is an example of how games are used for training. They utilize that because it is effective. Though of course unfortunate that we train each other to kill each other and someday that would end.

So I suppose in cases where there is addiction, you could take an approach of sharing the common sense of what the consequences are when we neglect our actual life and reality and put ourselves completely into virtual realities. And a parent would have to determine then if the addiction continues despite everything to then take measures to stop the addiction if they cannot stop themself. So, as was shared by LJ, to not allow game playing to interfere with practical responsibilities, so to establish that responsibilities are taken care of first, and then after that you can play.

As has also been suggested, to find things to do with the child is great as well, to assist them in increasing their options and abilities of what they can do, like bake some bread/learn to make food for example, making other activities approachable/accessible as well, so they have other options to explore and know that they have someone to assist them with real world stuff which can be more consequential than virtual stuff.



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Anna
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Re: Video Games

Postby Anna » 24 Sep 2013, 19:18

I realized I may as well being doing things in real life, so that I could develop skills in real life that I could then actually use. Why am I spending hours repeating the same task so that I can learn to make 'dragonhide armor' when I could be perhaps sewing in real life so that I could then make real clothes that I could actually wear, for one example. And no matter how high-level and prestigeous I was in the game, I was still the same 'loser' in real life. And I realized the more time I put into developing myself in a virtual reality, the more diminished I become in actual reality.
Awesome perspective Kelly!



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tormod
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Re: Video Games

Postby tormod » 24 Sep 2013, 19:49

That is inspiering Kelly! I would suggest to upen up maybe a perspective on how to solve problems related to video games today - the challanges that are related to forinstance voilance or just mannersm/behaviourism amongst players of today. It makes me realize that i have skills or i have experiences that are special to me, that i should wirte out.

Cheers !



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CerisePoolman
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Re: Video Games

Postby CerisePoolman » 24 Sep 2013, 21:32

Video games in themselves are not "the issue" - it's when people do not understand how the physical works, what is required to live effectively in this world and they get "lost" in the game and it becomes their entire reality. Obviously it would be nice if people made more constructive games that assist in developing skills as opposed to games about killing and being the hero, but that is not likely to happen soon. I have found with all games is that they are entertaining for a while, until they aren't anymore, which is when I stop playing for a month or 2 or 6, until another entertaining game comes along.

When I was a kid I did have certain games that had my full attention for days, or even weeks on end. As I "matured", I developed a better balance for myself in my life between rest/entertainment and managing responsibilities.




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