Tag Archives: children

Video games, hell yeah

Tweet thread by Tiffany Pitts:

The whole thread; read it. (h/t Tom Mullen)

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WSJ: Banning Tablets Is Best for Children

Christopher Mims, The Wall Street Journal:

Friday, the American Academy of Pediatrics validated my experiment, recommending that children younger than 18 months get zero screen time, and those ages 2 to 5 be limited to one hour a day—half of its prior recommendation. The group recommended that the hour be “high quality programming” that parents watch with their children.

Later in the piece, Paul Bettner, co-creator of Words With Friends and founder of Playful Corp:

“I’ve seen from my own life and my children that there’s great social interaction, great hand-eye coordination stuff, lots of storytelling and getting involved in the narrative, a lot of learning and skill building when children play videogames alone or together,” says Mr. Bettner. He limits his children to two to three hours a day, and encourages them to play videogames rather than watch shows.

In my post Nintendo Switch and Parents, I wanted specify that while the Switch might be a boon to both parents and children, by no means should a device be used as a replacement for babysitting nor physical modes of play.

I think the title of this Mims’s piece is misleading. That said, I like Bettner’s philosophy.

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‘In loving memory of video games’ by Chris Plante, Polygon:

They’re my madeleines, you could say, transporting me back to the days my love of video games was personal and private, only shared with the neighbor kids and never ever disclosed at school, where it would have been taken for a weakness. The world has changed.

A beautiful piece by Plante.

Relinking to Why Game? by yours truly. More reminiscing can be found in Console Wars by Blake J. Harris.

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Game Less Than One Hour Per Day


Low levels (3 hours daily) of game engagement was linked to key indicators of psychosocial adjustment. Low engagement was associated with higher life satisfaction and prosocial behavior and lower externalizing and internalizing problems, whereas the opposite was found for high levels of play. No effects were observed for moderate play levels when compared with non-players.

It took me a second to wrap head around this. I wish the clearly defined moderate play. My interpretation:

– Less than 1 hour of play (low): Positive effects

– 0 (non-players) or 1-3 hours of play (moderate): No change

– More than 3 hours of play (high): Negative effects

Update: The BBC offers more clarity.

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League of Lessons: Why Gaming Matters

Great read on connecting from Wiseman.
Rosalind Wiseman, Anti-Defamation League:

Young people who game know our bias and the ignorance this bias comes from. It’s this reactivity about games that can make it much more difficult for us to develop strong relationships with young people. It’s also undeniable that gaming is an essential part of many students’ lives. We have an obligation to know about this incredibly diverse world so we can effectively help children and teens navigate it with informed, constructive guidance.

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More on Minecraft

John Gruber, Daring Fireball:

It’s almost impossible to overstate just how big a deal Minecraft is for my son and his friends.

The popularity and power of Minecraft continues to amaze me. Players tend to remain glued to the game/simulation for hours on end, not just playing but creating, experimenting, collaborating, sharing and learning.

Here’s a relink to Polygon’s piece on how the United Nations is utilizing Minecraft.

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Right and Wrong

Jessica Chobot on The Nerdist Podcast:

This is not a kids (necessarily) hobby anymore. When you’re selling game consoles at like 600 bucks a pop and games at 60 bucks a piece (or AAA titles because you’ve got your indies and they’re a little cheaper, but you get my point), that’s not just a child’s hobby.

Chris Hardwick replies:

And not only that, but I think the inherent value of , just like you said with your dad, is how you guys bonded. That’s how Chloe [Dyskra] and her dad bonded.


Totally. But you always hear the shit stories about, “Oh, kids are shooting up because they play too much Call of Duty.” Well, what about the father and daughter relationship that grew…


It all boils down to your responsibility as a parent. And video games can be amazing if you’re a responsible parent, if you’re engaged. If you’re not a responsible parent, video games are not the thing that fucked your kid up. Something was going to get that kid sooner or later; (joking) whether it was backward masking on record albums or Devil worship…


Elvis dancing in front of the television…

I will stick with this until the day that I die: There is no excuse for parents to complain about games giving their children bad ideas to go do awful things because there are parental controls on the consoles, there are parental controls built into your TVs now, there are warning labels on all of your games, you have to have a license to even purchase them.

Yes, if they really wanted to go out there and get it [they’ll] find it. But if they are trying that hard to get on something you’ve told them “no” to multiple times and you have no idea what the hell is going on, then that lies in your lap, nobody else’s.


I also feel like “things,” like games, “things” are inherently neutral. They don’t have any value except for the value people place on them. If someone has the right value system going into something, they’re not going to interpret that thing as, “this is what I should go do.” They need the right system in place in order to process those things.

My parents let me watch all kinds of stuff when I was a kid. The reason I became obsessed with stand-up was because my parents didn’t censor, I mean I couldn’t watch porn … but the idea that if you have good values going into something you’re probably going to take it in a better direction than if you didn’t.

But I’m talking out of the side of my face because I don’t have kids.


Just to play Devil’s advocate, I’ve only had one time where I’ve played a game that I walked out and the first thing I saw were targets. That would be Grand Theft Auto.

That’s when I was like, “Whoa. Now I can kind of see the angle of that argument.” But still, you have the morals in check because you were raised properly, and also the fact that I’m thirty-something-years-old and I can play a game like that and know the difference between right and wrong.

I’ve had similar feelings after long sessions with GTA. I’ve also had similarly profound feelings after watching movies, if not more so. A good adventure movie can make me want to adventure. A good motivational movie can pump me up. A good action movie can give me fantasies about speeding around traffic or doing impossibly dangerous stunts. Nevertheless, I don’t engage in dangerous or immoral behavior because I know the difference between right and wrong.

Is it possible that movies offer heightened emotive states due to their passive nature versus the participatory nature of video games? Does being able to participate in virtual acts of running, jumping, and shooting allow us to vent those fantasies rather than creating curiosity after simply watching?

On the note of parental controls, willingness to learn new technology is a huge factor in parenting. That said, tech developers also have a responsibility to provide clear and accessible controls for their audience. Not because older generations may struggle with implementation (heads up, many millennials are now parents), but because consumer UI should not be difficult to use.

Last bit: ET scared me. The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie is dark. Gremlins appeared to be a children’s movie but felt creepy and disturbing. I look at movies like Super 8, Transformers, and the new TMNT reboot and have to wonder if “children’s” movies are slowly harkening back to the darker tones established in the ’80s and early ’90s.

I spent a lot of my early childhood watching movies like Alien, Predator, Fire In The Sky, Conan the Barbarian, and Mad Max. I’d like to say that I turned out to be a pretty decent human being.

Alas, I too am talking out of the side of my face.

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A new definition of manhood

Colin Stokes, TEDx:

Another thing that’s really unique about “The Wizard of Oz” to me is that all of the most heroic and wise and even villainous characters are female.

Now I started to notice this when I actually showed “Star Wars” to my daughter, which was years later, and the situation was different. At that point I also had a son. He was only three at the time. He was not invited to the screening. He was too young for that. But he was the second child, and the level of supervision had plummeted. (Laughter) So he wandered in, and it imprinted on him like a mommy duck does to its duckling, and I don’t think he understands what’s going on, but he is sure soaking in it.

And I wonder what he’s soaking in. Is he picking up on the themes of courage and perseverance and loyalty? Is he picking up on the fact that Luke joins an army to overthrow the government? Is he picking up on the fact that there are only boys in the universe except for Aunt Beru, and of course this princess, who’s really cool, but who kind of waits around through most of the movie so that she can award the hero with a medal and a wink to thank him for saving the universe, which he does by the magic that he was born with?

Compare this to 1939 with “The Wizard of Oz.” How does Dorothy win her movie? By making friends with everybody and being a leader. That’s kind of the world I’d rather raise my kids in — Oz, right? — and not the world of dudes fighting, which is where we kind of have to be. Why is there so much Force — capital F, Force — in the movies we have for our kids, and so little yellow brick road?

Take 10 minutes to watch this great TEDx Talk by Colin Stokes. I’m not sure how it escaped me that all Pixar protagonists were male until Merida (Brave). Looking back on my childhood, I am able to recall watching The Wizard of Oz again and again. I don’t think the themes of leadership and friendship completely sunk in at that young age; however, the limited and choice amount of violence certainly made me fear conflict much more than any war story.

During last year’s E3 Expo, I couldn’t help but feel there was an increase in games featuring a female protagonist. Not resting on a hunch, I decided to investigate which new titles featured female protagonists versus the year prior. Looking IGN’s Games of E3 lsts for both 2012 and 2013, I found that the inclusion of female protagonists in games announced at E3 jumped from 2% in 2012 to 6% in 2013.

I’m looking forward to breaking down this year’s data and may be asking for a bit of help with a publicly shared database (via Numbers for iCloud). My early numbers show 18% male, 3% female, 10% multi, 4% n/a, and 65% unknown.

UPDATE: Updated numbers the night before E3 are as follows:

26% male, 4% female, 17% multi, 9% n/a, 44% unknown.

My data (based on IGN’s Games at E3 2014) is publicly available and I encourage readers to reach out on Twitter (@_stateofgaming) or email with any recommended changes. Some “unknown” data can be implied but, without proof, I’ll be waiting until official announcements have been made before I update the chart.

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Webster Goomez the stuffed Goomba

Susan Senator, writing for Cognoscenti, on “Webster Goomez” the stuffed Goomba:

A day or so later, Ben remarked that Webster was ‘kind of adorable.’

Adorable? Did I hear that right? Never had such a word come out of Ben before. I quickly recovered my cool and tried not to make too big a deal out of it, so as not to embarrass him. But inside, I cradled that word, longed to hear it again, hoping I hadn’t imagined it. But no, this was for real. A few days later, I heard Ben describing a different character as ‘cute.’

Cute 🙂

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