This might seem really obvious, and while I have some sad things to say at the bottom of the post, I want to try to be positive up here.
This is an article written by a teacher in Canada. The teacher teaches young kids. The teacher got the bright idea to ask kids about the games that they play.
Here’s the positive news: kids like to play Angry Birds. They like to play Angry Birds so much that it polled the highest among ninety or so kids. The author doesn’t give us any particular numbers about anything in the article, but I bet that the Angry Birds ratio was standard across girls and boys.
And that is good. I think Angry Birds is a pretty good game. It’s simple and it encourages problem solving, and more importantly, it teaches the player that you have to fail (sometimes eternally, I’m terrible at the game) to succeed in the end. You have to try things over and over. Eventually, you will get it right. I like fostering problem solving in kids through games. I think that’s a great power that video games have–forget big claims. I don’t think video games are going to save the world anymore than Monopoly will make me a millionaire, but I do think that simple lessons learned over and over in a subliminal way can be good.
But you can also learn horrible lessons, and that’s what the article is properly about. I think that it is bad for kids to play Call of Duty in any of its iterations. The game promotes a jingoistic ideology and justifies murder and torture constantly. It also takes a masculine, extremist, war-porn point of view.
So we need to take the author’s final words to heart:
“I don’t doubt your abilities to raise your child,” I begin. “But you and I both are part of the problem. For you, being more engaged in what your son consumes will help you bond with him even more in the time you have together. And for teachers? We need to become better equipped to talk about new technology and the role it plays in shaping our children. Teachers and parents are in this together.”