Video Games – Friend or Foe?

Since he was little, my son has cultivated a love affair with video games. I, on the other hand, have cultivated a relationship based on abhorrence.

I have used video games as reward, taken video games away as a consequence, you name it. My contention has always been video games are a waste of time and they burn up vital brain cells. I have been guilty of rolling my eyes when my son would tell me about an exciting level in a game or overcoming some pixelated villain.

Cut to last week, when we were trapped at home on a rainy day. My son had finished his planned activities for the day and had earned screen time.  The TV and game console are in the living room where I was nursing the baby. I reluctantly agreed he could play while I was there. The game he popped in is called Dragon Quest.

As he began playing, I found myself watching with increasing interest and wonder. In the game, I watched my son expertly break codes, utilize currency to purchase equipment upgrades to improve his chances in future battles as well as purchase ingredients to then use in an alchemy pot to make his own upgrades.  He accurately read a map and navigated to a location he derived from a difficult in game riddle. He recognized a pattern used by the in game opponent to strategize his way to defeat it. All throughout, he was reading silently as his character interacted in the game.

I found myself viewing this video game almost as a comprehensive skill assessment of all the subjects we have been working on throughout the year. He showed me in this game how thoroughly he had captured the information. Like my own personal standardized test!

So call me a convert. Now, when he asks to play, I am much more amicable. Added to my list of must have ‘school’ supplies is the new motion sensor game console in which your body is the controller so we can get some PE on these rainy days!

Educational online game sites he loves and I have a new appreciation for are:

-www.Poptropica.com

-www.coolmathgames.com

-www.wizard101.com

 

Article By Nuria Almeida

Picture By Ticky_

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